The Turkey’s Spare Rib & Sauerkraut Recipe

Before I finalize my review of the recent Freeh Report rebuttal and associated issues, which will be put to bed on Monday, February 11, I would like to pass on a recipe that is cheap, easy, traditional, and has won rave reviews by the critical gourmets in my personal inner circle. I am inspired to present this recipe in response to a request by my one and only YL, Artificially Sweetened.

Spare Ribs & Sauerkraut
Serving Suggestion

Although there are hundreds of spare rib and sauerkraut recipes, this one is so easy and tasty that you’ll want to make it often. All you need are a few food ingredients (aside from the obvious ones) and a crock pot, or slow-cooker, if you prefer.


First, a legal disclaimer. Being Jewish, what the hell do I know about pork? If you’re a landsman and you make this decidedly un-Kosher recipe, recipe maker (hereinafter referred to as sinful cooker) will hold this turkey harmless from all damages arising out of lightning bolts, both directed and incidental, force majeure, and/or excommunication from Judaism (hereinafter referred to as the Tribe). Turkey will be further held harmless from damages resulting from incidental trichinosis, E. coli, Bubonic plague, leprosy, or any other infections associated with ingestion of that treyf  “other white meat” they try to scare us about when we’re kids.


Now, directly to the recipe. Get yourself a rack of St. Louis spare ribs (don’t use baby back ribs). I don’t know what they call St. Louis spare ribs in St. Louis. (You know, like in the east, what we call a “western omelet” is called a “Denver omelet” in the west, but I digress.) Other ingredients you’ll need are a Granny Smith apple (other breeds get too mushy when they’re cooked for any length of time), a yellow onion, a pound of sauerkraut, and a teaspoon of caraway seeds.

First, wash the spare ribs and pat dry. Cut them into pieces that will fit into your crock pot broadside, as they’ll be layered with the other ingredients. Now season the spare ribs with salt and pepper and brown them on all sides in a heavy pan. While you’re doing this, wash and drain the sauerkraut. That’ll make it less acidic. Cut the onion in half and slice it. Using an apple slicer/corer (or just a paring knife, if you don’t have one of these handy devices, core and cut the apple into 6 or 8 wedges. (This is not a critical measurement.)

Once all the ribs are browned, you’re ready for final assembly. First lay a bed of the drained sauerkraut on the bottom of the crock pot. Add a couple of the apple wedges and some of the sliced onion, enough to create a nice cushion for the next layer, which will be enough ribs to cover the kraut, apple, and onion layer. Then cover this layer of ribs with the next layer of kraut, apple, and onion, and continue layering like this until you’ve exhausted all ingredients and filled the crock pot. Then add a teaspoon of caraway seeds and a cup of water. Turn the crock pot on “LOW” and let it cook for eight hours, plus or minus. This will feed four Jewish sinners or even regular people.

As an alternative to the cup of water, you can try dry white wine or even ale. Experimentation is desirable.

None of the measurements are critical, so feel free to increase or decrease quantities to feed your army. Also, if you don’t have a slow cooker, I believe it will work fine in a Dutch oven over very low heat.

Serve with mashed potatoes, as in the picture. For an extra special dose of mashed potatoes, add finely chopped caramelized onions, sautéed finely chopped garlic, and cream to your mashed potatoes. But don’t add balsamic vinegar like I did once, or you’ll be serving unappetizingly brown mashed potatoes.

I’m hoping that I’m not violating any laws (other than kashrut) by propagating this recipe. I wouldn’t put it past this current Federal administration to require anyone passing on a recipe to include four pages of nutritional information, serving sizes, etc., like they want to require us to do background checks on our relatives when we give them guns. Schmucks! (End of political rant.)

If you’re Jewish, a Faraday shield might be helpful, but otherwise, enjoy!


  1. Joe says

    I was brought up on the great Polish tradition of pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day. Supposedly you needed to eat fermented cabbage on this day or you would itch all during the new year. While I detested this meal growing up, I’ve learned to like it over time.

    You’re recipe takes a lot of the work out of what we do, but my wife does a pork roast (shoulder or loin depending what our local butcher recommends) that’s to die for. She coats it with olive oil and believe it or not poultry seasoning which puts this incredible crust on the roast and locks all the juices in and makes it cuttable with a fork.

    We get our sauerkraut from the same local butcher who ferments his own. It’s a little bit on the milder side, but the flavor still comes through (don’t know what he uses for spices, but it works). Takes it right out of the barrel and you can either buy a quart or pint mason jar of the stuff. No USDA labels, but don’t know what could survive in a jar of home fermented kraut.

    Don’t know what the apples do, but I remember one year having dinner at my Uncles and he used some orange rind in his kraut-since then, I want it straight up. Top it off with mashed potatoes and gravy from the pan drippings, some homemade roles and it’s sure to get your ears wigglin’.

    So I hope you’re happy now that someone commented on your pork and kraut recipe.

  2. Artificially Sweetened says

    I made this and it was so good! Any slow cooker recipe with 5 ingredients or less that comes out this good must be sinful. I don’t know why we didn’t eat it growing up, being so nearly Polish as I was.


Leave a Reply