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Sauerbraten help - please! Party this Saturday

A friend is having an Octoberfest party and asked if I knew how to make Sauerbraten. Long story short - I am now cooking 30 pounds of it!!!!! I know I have to cook it in my oven but my question is @ what temp and how long?

I have 5 six pound bottom rounds. I been searching for info but only get Dutch Oven and Slow Cooker recipes. The only help I found was on this Board relating to Pot Roast. That recipe called for 3 1/2 hours of cooking time for a 3 lb roast @ 300 degrees. So.......... my 6 pound roasts will take about 7 hours @ 300 degrees, right?

Any help or perhaps a better way of cooking this would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. My experience with Sauerbraten is that that a four pound roast requires about 3 hours to cook, but that's approximate. Sometimes it takes a bit longer. The relative cooking time for roasts of various sizes/weights is not linear. If a 3 pound roast cooks completely in 3 1/2 hours at 300 degrees it does not necessarily follow that a 6 pound roast will take twice as long. You'll need to use internal temperatures to determine when the meat is fully cooked.
    My suggestion would be to prepare the meat a day ahead of time to a minimum safe consumption internal temperature then refrigerate it until just before the party, then reheat it (basting with the sauce) to serve.

    1 Reply
    1. re: todao

      Thanks for your reply todao. I will ctake your advice and cook it the day before and use a meat thermometer.

    2. I make saurbraten every once in a while. There are lots of recipes on the web, including one that uses beer instead of wine, but I'm sure of this recipe:

      Five six pound bottom rounds, right? Okay. Using a very large zip lock bag for EACH bottom round, put this mixture in EACH bag:
      1.5 cups (cold) beef stock or broth
      1.5 cups red wine vinegar
      1.5 cup red wine (don't use anything you wouldn't drink)
      2 or 3 tablespoons of brown sugar OR 2 Tbs sugar and 1 tsp molasses
      2 large thinly sliced carrots
      1 medium thinly sliced onion
      3 stalks thinly sliced celery including the leaves
      2 cloves sliced or crushed garlic
      2 or 3 bay leaves broken
      about a tablespoon of crushed black pepper corns or 2 tablespoons uncrushed
      6 whole cloves (do not use ground cloves)
      3 whole allspice berries of 1/4 tsp ground
      a tablespoon or so of juniper berries gently crushed

      Close each bag and slosh the ingredients well to mix and dissolve the sugar. Now pierce the roast liberally with a cooking fork or the blade of a thin knife to promote flavor absorption. Unzip bags and place a roast in each one. Press as much air as possible out of the bags and zip tightly closed again. Place all bags of roasts in the refrigerator for 72 hours (3 days) turning about twice a day to ensure that all of the surfaces of the meat have equal exposure to the marinade. I would place the bags in roasting pans or another type of appropriate container just to make sure a leaking bag doesn't flood the refrigerator!

      After three days, remove the meat from each bag (rezip the bag and reserve the liquid!) and pat dry with paper towels. Brown meat on all sides in a skillet using either beef fat or peanut oil to brown it in. Do not use olive oil. Place browned meat in a dutch oven with cover and pour marinade all around it. Cover and cook for four hours with slow heat. You can cook it on top of the stove at a slow simmer, or in a 325 degree oven, or even in a crock pot if you happen to have six of them.

      When meat is done (tender) remove to a serving platter and tent with aluminum foil to keep it warm. At this point, if you have a pan or stock pot large enough, you can place all of the cooking liquid in the same pan. Remove all bay leaves and as many whole spices as you can fish out. If you can't get them all, don't worry. They'll puree just fine. Then, hopefully you have an immersion blender, but if you don't, you can puree it in batches in a standard blender or food processor. A blender will give a smoother finish. Return to pot and bring to a simmer. Thicken with crushed or powdered ginger snaps. For a single recipe, I use about a half cup of gingersnaps I've turned to a powder in the blender. You MAY need as much as three cups. BUT...! The gingersnaps are traditional and are a great but sometimes unpredictable thickener. So don't just dump 1/2 cup per roast into the broth, but add about a half cup at a time and stir to see how thick it gets. A traditional saurbraten gravy is fairly this and quite flavorful. It's also, by tradition, a deep mahogany color so I often have to use some Kitchen Bouquet to get the color right. <sigh> Some people add raisins at this point and simmer a bit longer. I don't use them, but suit yourself.

      Slice the beef across the grain and serve with gravy ladled over the slices. I also offer sour cream with it which is a bit non-traditional. Traditional side dishes are sweet and sour red cabbage, and a starch. I love spaetzle with mine, but potato dumplings or any sort of potatoes are German favorites.

      Did you know what a Herculean task you were undertaking when you accepted this challenge? Good luck with it and whether it's awarded to you or not, the appropriate prize for you would be a round trip ticket and top hotel accommodations for the REAL Oktoberfest in Germany! Unfortunately, it was in September... '-)

      17 Replies
      1. re: Caroline1

        How do you think this would come out with a roast of Venison?

        1. re: Rippin200

          I don't see any reason why it wouldn't It's pretty much a traditional recipe, and I believe the original saurbrated "way back when" was made with venison and other wild game. Let us know how it works out!

          1. re: Caroline1

            The best stroganoff I ever tasted was made with venison and wild mushrooms. Happened upon a pub owner who had just made some up for himself before opening.

            I make my sauerbraten with beer (and beef bottom round), wonder if that's the recipe you saw? Never was pleased with sauerbraten until I just subbed dark beer for the wine (a friend's Irish mother made it that way, that was all he knew to tell me.)

            1. re: coll

              It wasn't my intention to ignore you, but the first time I tried to respond the whole thing went away when my browser suddenly flipped me back to the previous page. I don't know whether it's my browser or Chowhound, but it only happens on this site, and then not all the time, so who knows?

              Anyway... As much as beer is loved in Germany, the old fashioned traditional saurbratens were (as far as I know) made with red wine vinegar and red wine and were not marinated in the refrigerator but in a crock, often set in the bottom of a cabinet or a dark corner. I don't think beer would have enough "preservative power" to handle a non-refrigerated three day marinade process. But then, I've never tested it.

              Beer DOES give an interesting flavor to beef when used for cooking. I make a fairly traditional "Swedish Sailor's Stew" in which raw potato slices, sauteed onions, sauteed beef (small chunks) and parsley are layered until a medium Dutch oven is full, then the saute pan is deglazed with beer, the beer poured over the layers, then cooked at a low temp for a couple of hours, either on top of the stove or in the oven. I don't make it that often any more, much as I love it, simply because I have such a terrible time finding beers that don't turn bitter in the cooking process. And I don't know if it's just me, but I find imported German and Mexican beers don't taste the same as they do in their home countries. What kind/type of beer do you use in your saurbraten?

              I don't see any reason for not using beer in saurbraten in this day and age since it's in the fridge for three days instead of sitting in a corner of the kitchen sans refrigeration.

              1. re: Caroline1

                Wow my computer keeps doing that too, I assumed mine was just on its last legs (I think it may be anyway). Another subject for Site Talk! I've just given up and gone elsewhere several times myself.

                I cook most of my braises with either beer or ginger beer, depending on my mood. I've been using Modelo Negro lately due to the price, but for Sauerbraten, I always use Guinness, in honor of my friend's Irish mother who gave me the idea.

                1. re: coll

                  hmmmm... Guinness is a stout. I haven't tried stout. I'll give it a try and see if I can get a nice mellow Swedish sailor's stew like I used to. Love the stuff! Thanks!

                2. re: Caroline1

                  Beer is in so many recipes but can't use here as I'm highly allergic

                  1. re: iL Divo

                    I don't know if I'm really allergic to beer or not, but I do know that if I drink it I have to sip it every two or three minutes FOREVER because as soon as I stop sipping, within a half hour I have a headache from hell that lasts for days. But that doesn't happen when I eat things cooked in beer. And it doesn't happen with champagne. Both of my husbands used to accuse me of being "high maintenance." '-)

                    You guys enjoy the sauerbraten! But f you won't be home until Sunday, it won't be ready to cook until Wednesday! '-)

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      Oh shoot I forgot about the 72 hours and want it to be authentically your recipe plus I'm sure that marinating time is a must. Can't do it then cause I go to work at midnight Tuesday and won't be back home for 4 days. After that I'll have no worries cause I'll be on vacation YEAH!
                      That would be an incredible dinner to make at kids house on Halloween before we tromps around the neighborhood with the little ones. Do you use a noodle or mashed potatoes or neither with your dinner as a side? If you posted that sorry I didn't see it.
                      Allergy to beer put me in the hospital 2 days in a row after a sip'n'swallow.
                      Dr. Said you know what happens the 3rd time dontcha? I said no, he said you die.
                      So it's been15 years. I don't drink but when I did only certain wines had an effect but
                      nothing else other than a fat tongue occured.

                      1. re: iL Divo

                        Allergies are a BUMMER....!!! I have 4,516,312 allergies to deal with. blech!

                        I like both noodles and potatoes, or kartoffel, or whatever you want to call them in lots of forms with saurbraten, from potato dumplings to roasted, mashed, smashed, boiled, new parslied, whatever. And I also love spaetzle with it! GOOD spaetzle, which is hard to find unless you make it yourself from scratch. So probably easiest for a Halloween pre-ToT evening would be some really good wide thick store bought egg noddles with butter and parsley. You can't have saurbraten and watch your weight at the same time. Well... I can. I can watch it go up! GOOD stuff! Have fun. You'll walk off the calories trick or treating.

                        1. re: Caroline1

                          Am I the only one that serves with potato pancakes? It's like pot roast to me, I don't serve it over anything.

                          1. re: coll

                            Potatoe pancakes are good. My pot roast takes 2 to 4 hours. My saurbraten takes 3 days and 4 hours. I suppose the three days does give a lot of lead time to grate potatoes... '-)

                            1. re: Caroline1

                              I discovered grating the potatoes with the attachment on the food processor to be a real time saver.

                              Well thanks to all of you, I am changing my mind and making sauerbraten on Halloween. I have a 6.5 lb bottom round in the freezer which seemed too big for just us (I was saving for company). My husband will only eat one time, and complains about the vinegar smell all day too. He does enjoy it that one meal. But with all the fans here, I remembered that several of my neighbors always hinted to me of their jealousy when I mention I'm making it, so I think leftovers won't really pose a long term problem. Trick or treat, have some sauerbraten and potato pancakes!

                          2. re: Caroline1

                            I make my own spaetzle using my potato ricer because I can't do the "off the board little bits method" at all. It's just a basic loose noodle dough that when they're done get tossed to sieved ice water. When time to assemble the meal they get warmed with butter. So good.

                            Finishing always a good meal with a cup of great soothing tea....my choice is Numi Chamomille.

                            1. re: iL Divo

                              hmmmm... I've never used a board (as in "cutting") for my spaetzle. I put the dough (almost too runny to be called a dough) on the back of a wedding cake layer pan (good solid unwarped) and scrape it off of it into the simmering water with a long thin-bladed spatula of the kind used for icing cakes, but not with the off-set handle. Don't remember where I learned to make spaetzle that way. Maybe from my best friend's German mother or grandmother when we were kids?

                              I don't know what things are like in your area, but in these parts (DFW metroplex) I NEVER order spaetzle in restaurants. I have, but that's why I don't do it any more. They use waaaaay too much flour in them and they are like eating gravel! I think it was Birds Eye Frozen Foods that made a green beans with spaetzle frozen vegetable dish that had pretty decent spaetzle in it (in my opinion), but it was discontinued some years ago. Happens with EVERYTHING I like! <sigh>

            2. re: Caroline1

              Thank you all for your recipes and advice.
              Caroline1 - No, I didn't realize what an undertaking this was going to be. I think your suggestion about a trip to Germany is great. Maybe my friend will read your post. Thanks again.

              1. re: Caroline1

                Caroline I'm a married woman but after reading this post I've just fallin in love with you and your recipe. Won't be home till Sunday so will make for Monday supper. My husband will fall for me all over again. What a tremendous looking saurbraten. My favorite way when making is always gingersnaps and a side of sourcrean also, thanks for posting

              2. This recipe is always a request...enjoy!
                Sauerbraten
                5 lb. bottom rump roast (I like the one with the point on the end)

                2 ½ cups dry red wine
                1 ½ cups of red wine vinegar
                1 cup of water
                4 onions sliced
                2 TBSP of salt
                ½ cup of sugar
                1 TBPS of mustard seeds
                10-15 cloves
                3 bay leaves
                ½ cup or more of crushed ginger snaps

                Take a large covered Tupperware bowl. Add to it all the above ingredients except the ginger snaps. Put the sliced onions on top of the roast and cover in refrigerator for 3-4 days. Turn it every day.

                On fourth day, remove from marinade and strain. Keep the onions.

                Pat dry roast and brown on all sides.

                Place in roasting pan with the strained marinade and onions. To this add 3 knorr beef cubes, 1 packet of brown gravy mix mixed into another cup of wine.

                Put into a 275 oven covered for three-four hours. Half way through the cooking time, take it out and turn the roast over and place back in oven till done.

                I usually let the roast rest while I thicken the gravy with the crushed ginger snaps. Slice the roast thick and put back in gravy in the oven for ½ hour. Or you can just loosely cover the roast while you thicken the gravy.

                Serve with red cabbage and mashed potatoes.

                1 Reply
                1. re: sheideroth

                  sheideroth, this looks wonderful--I suddenly have a lot of elk to use--but Tupperware? Wouldn't it be better to use glass or stainless steel? Won't this destroy your plasticware?

                2. Wonderful red cabbage...
                  Bob’s Famous Red Cabbage

                  INGREDIENTS
                  • 1 large head red cabbage
                  • 1 lb bacon cut into small pieces and fried.
                  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
                  • 1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
                  • 4 tbsp of yellow mustard
                  • 1 cup of white vinegar
                  • 1 can low-sodium chicken broth
                  • 1 tsp. of tumeric
                  INSTRUCTIONS
                  1. Slice cabbage in half lengthwise. Use a sharp knife to cut a V-shaped notch around the white core and discard it. Slice both pieces in half again so you have 4 quarters, then thinly slice each piece crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick strips. Set aside. make sure you get the white part out of the cabbage.
                  2. cook bacon and use half the grease to the pot in which you place cabbage.
                  3. Add onion to pot and stir to coat in bacon fat. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
                  4. Add cabbage, stir to coat it in bacon fat and cook until cabbage begins to wilt, about 4 minutes. Stir in brown sugar and mustard.
                  5. Deglaze the pan by adding cider vinegar and scraping the pan with a spatula to incorporate the browned bits into the sauce. Add chicken broth and season with a few pinches of salt and more freshly ground pepper. Bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and cover the pan tightly. Simmer cabbage, stirring occasionally, until it is soft and soupy and bacon is tender, about 45 minutes. If cabbage begins to look dry, add more chicken broth or water.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: sheideroth

                    Thanks for this and the Sauerbraten recipe!

                    1. re: sheideroth

                      I just had some Sauerbraten and Red Cabbage at Hopkins Inn today, and was wondering how difficult it would be to make it at home. Presto! You provided the answer. Thanks!

                      1. re: DonShirer

                        So easy, and better than anything you'll get at any restaurant, I promise you!

                        My red cabbage, I add some red wine and currant jam, to jazz it up.

                      2. re: sheideroth

                        Love the looks of this. Wish anyone could get the recipe for the North Woods Inn version but they are tight lipped folks, stinkers ;)))

                        1. re: sheideroth

                          I will include this with the saurbraten when I make it. I could have just this as a main dish. I love hot red cabbage

                        2. Whenever I make a pot roast I always remember this advice from Cooks Illustrated:
                          "We cooked more than 100 pounds of beef to find the answer to tender, moist, flavorful pot roast. What's the secret? Cook it until it is done—and then keep on cooking."
                          They say 3 1/2 to 4 hours for a 3 1/2 lb. roast.
                          Todao's suggestion *shines* with good sense and practicality, don't you think?