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German Sauerbraten

Our family loves it when Mom prepares this wonderful old-world dish. The tender beef has a bold blend of mouthwatering seasonings. It smells so good in the oven and tastes even better—Cathy Eland, Highttown, New Jersey
  • Total Time
    Prep: 10 min. + marinating Cook: 3 hrs.
  • Makes
    14 servings


  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 beef top round roast (4 pounds)
  • 2-1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 medium onions, sliced, divided
  • 2 tablespoons mixed pickling spices, divided
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns, divided
  • 8 whole cloves, divided
  • 2 bay leaves, divided
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 14 to 16 gingersnaps, crushed


  • In a small bowl, combine salt and ginger; rub over roast. Place in a deep glass bowl. In a large bowl, combine the water, vinegar and sugar. Pour half of marinade into a large saucepan; add half of the onions, pickling spices, peppercorns, cloves and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Pour over roast; turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 days, turning twice a day.
  • To the remaining marinade, add the remaining onions, pickling spices, peppercorns, cloves and bay leaves. Cover and refrigerate.
  • Drain and discard marinade from roast; pat roast dry. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, brown roast in oil on all sides. Pour 1 cup of reserved marinade with all of the onions and seasonings over roast (cover and refrigerate remaining marinade). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 3 hours or until meat is tender.
  • Strain cooking juices, discarding onions and seasonings. Add enough reserved marinade to the cooking juices to measure 3 cups. Pour into a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Add gingersnaps; reduce heat and simmer until gravy is thickened. Slice roast and serve with gravy.

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  • chefponch
    Dec 19, 2013

    Grew up eating this with grandma. Separate chili flake from pickling spice. Use apple cider vinegar. no cloves, no bay leaves, brown sugar not white, She preferred eye round. But any roast will do. Brown meat oll around then put all ingredients into a large bowl ad meat and marinate 2 - 3 days. Put in oven till meat is moist 3-4 hours, strain juices into a pot and bring to boil while adding ginger snaps and continue to slow cook till ginger snaps are dissolved, the oil is for browning the roast. Oh and grandma always said 2 to 1 with water and vinegar or it come out strong. She made a red cabbage with this also, YUMMY, slice cabbage and cook with granny smith apples and small amount of onions, add brown sugar to sweeten and apple cider vinegar for tartness cook down till well cooked, dont add too much of anything till the cabbage has cooked so you can add what you think your missing. And her potato balls YUM. They are tricky to make and still working on that, when i get it just right I will post it. Enjoy peeps hope you'll enjoy Christmas cooking for family and friends. It does have an aqquired taste not all people like that many spices all together. But I grew up with it and I'm 52.

  • emmcro
    Aug 12, 2013

    No comment left

  • mariaserena
    Nov 18, 2012

    No comment left

  • clehman2401
    May 17, 2012

    No comment left

  • crossties1
    Nov 23, 2011

    Didn't think about mentioning before- you have to like the spices to enjoy this dish. It is distinctly not American. More of a sweet, deep flavor. If you don't enjoy cloves, bay leaves, etc, this would not be the dish for you. My husband, a very picky eater, loved this dish.

  • creamofthecook
    May 5, 2011

    Followed this recipe exactly. The meat was very tender. The gravy interesting especially when making it. It thickened up as soon as I stirred in the cookies. Served it with buttered egg noodles. I imagine it tasted just like it was supposed to. I did not like it at all. No one went for seconds in my house. Won't be making this again.

  • katlaydee3
    Sep 7, 2010

    Loved this recipe. I actually made the whole menu and everything was excellent. My only change was that the store did not have top round roast so I got sirloin tip instead.

  • crossties1
    Dec 12, 2009

    so worth the time. I have loved this every time, and it is a requested dish. Very filling. Don't skip the gingersnaps... they completely make the gravy!

  • lindaann888
    Oct 24, 2009

    This is the best sauerbraten recipe ever. I marinated it longer than 3 days and it was great.

  • strongkat
    Apr 20, 2006

    No comment left