I did a very similar recipe to this a couple months ago that instead of using pork it used chicken thighs. However, I will reiterate again pork and sauerkraut belong together. I like to think that chicken thighs were just the evil mistress who swayed sauerkraut away for one night in a desperate attempt to create passion in thigh’s lonely life. However, having seen the light sauerkraut has returned to her true love the wonderful and ever caring pig.
I used country style ribs for this however, country style ribs is just a fancy name for sliced shoulder roast (picnic ham and Boston Butt). If you want to dive a little deeper into this the Boston Butt cut is the top part of the shoulder and the picnic is the bottom of the shoulder. So if you can’t find country style ribs feel free to grab a couple pounds of shoulder and brown away.
The nice thing about using a shoulder roast is that it makes perfect pulled pork so a couple hours in the braising liquid will render out the fat, muscle fibers, sinewy gunk, etc leaving behind great flavored sauce and easily shredded pork.
For this recipe you will need:
- 3 lb of pork shoulder or country style ribs
- 1/4 lb of bacon
- 1/2 lb of smoked pork neck bones (optional but will add a nice smokey flavor to the meat for next to nothing)
- 1/4 lb of bacon cut up
- 1 onion diced
- 1 green pepper diced
- 2 carrots diced
- 3 cloves of garlic diced
- 1 bottle of pale ale
- 1 28 ounce jar of sauerkraut
- bouquet garni consisting of 4 stems of parsley, 4 sprigs of thyme, 1 bay leaf, 10 peppercorns crushed, and 10 juniper berries crushed. If you need a refresher of what a bouquet is take a piece of cheesecloth, add ingredients, close up, and tie off with string.
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Oil (keeping with pork fat is god’s gift to humanity I used lard)
Over medium-high heat cook the bacon till crispy and the fat has rendered out. Remove from the pan leaving that beautiful grease behind and set aside.
Salt, pepper, and dust the Boston butt or country style ribs with flour. Shake off the excess and place in your Dutch oven. Cook the pork till browned all over and if the pan starts to dry out add another squirt of oil or a knob of lard. If you are using ribs work in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan which leads to steamed meat instead of golden brown meat.
Once the pork is browned all over remove and set aside. Add in the onions, pepper, and carrot with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook till softened (about 5 minutes).
Add in the garlic and cook for another minute. Add in the beer, sauerkraut, bouquet garni, neck bones, and pork shoulder back to the Dutch oven. Bring this mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let it go for 2 hours (I like to stir the mixture around every 30 minutes or so).
Shred the pork and discard the bouquet and bones. Serve and enjoy using the diced browned bacon as a garnish.