Ribs & Sauerkraut (for Slow Cooker or Dutch Oven)

for Slow Cooker or a Campfire Dutch Oven

Ribs and sauerkraut cooked in either the slow cooker or in a "real" Dutch oven over coals or an open fire. The meat is moist and fall-off-the-bone tender, the sauerkraut amber-colored and apple-sweet. A real treat for fall!

Real Food, Fresh & Flexible. Hearty But Healthy. Great Campfire Meal. Easy Slow Cooker One-Pot Dinner. Fix It & Forget It Dinner.
Ribs & Sauerkraut ♥ KitchenParade.com, cooked in a slow cooker or in a 'real' Dutch oven (pictured) over coals or an open fire. One Pot Dinner. Fix It & Forget It Dinner.

Cast Iron: A Thoughtful, Practical Wedding Gift

On My Mind ♥ KitchenParade.com, thinking about cast iron skillets

When my parents returned from a short honeymoon at the family cottage in Manitoba’s Whiteshell, waiting on the stove in their new home was an inky-black cast iron skillet, a surprise from my grandmother.

So practical, that gift. My mother loved the story as much as the skillet which is still in use at my dad’s house more than fifty years later.

But is cast iron sexy enough for today? For the last few years, colorful LeCreuset-style enamel-covered cast iron has become the go-to wedding gift, still practical but ever-so sexy-red.

We’re still adding to our own collection of plain cast iron.

  • Four skillets of different sizes, including a six-inch mini skillet perfect for one egg or a mini batch of Simple Cast Iron Southern Corn Bread
  • A griddle that's great for Baked Bacon or baking a slew of burgers or meatballs
  • A grill pan for steaks and chops
  • Mini cast iron servers for individual servings, appetizers, etc.

Most recently, we added a “real” cast iron Dutch oven. It has feet for resting on coals or an open fire plus a footed lid – flip the lid over to reveal a flat cooking surface! Again, it's so practical, at least for campers and outdoor cooks!

You can see how we keep so many cast iron pots and pans ever at the ready in Ten Things I Love About Our New Kitchen. Believe it or not, our favorite source for really good cast iron is the gift shop at Cracker Barrel restaurants!

RESOURCES Le Creuset enameled cast iron (what's your favorite color?!) cast iron mini skillet cast iron griddle cast iron mini servers (we have all three shapes, round, oval and rectangle!) enormous cast iron Dutch oven My Disclosure Promise

Caring for Your Cast Iron

Clean cast iron with warm water and a soft scrub: never with soap, never with metal. If it hangs from a pot rack, cast iron can air dry, otherwise, dry well before storing. If a pot has a lid, dry the pot well and put a paper towel inside to absorb moisture, another on the lip before putting the lid on. To build the “black patina” of a well-seasoned pan, rub the pan’s interior with vegetable oil after every use at first, less often as the pan becomes seasoned.

I swear, the very best way to season a cast iron skillet? Make fried chicken!

What Makes This Recipe Special

Ribs & Sauerkraut ♥ KitchenParade.com, cooked in a slow cooker or in a 'real' Dutch oven (pictured) over coals or an open fire. One Pot Dinner. Fix It & Forget It Dinner.

  • Slow cooker or a real Dutch oven, both work beautifully
  • A great meal to come home to, fills the kitchen with all the good aromas
  • Hearty but healthy, a full meal in one pot
  • Ready to get started? Here's your recipe!

Cooking in the Great Outdoors

Ribs & Sauerkraut ♥ KitchenParade.com, cooked in a slow cooker or in a 'real' Dutch oven (pictured) over coals or an open fire. One Pot Dinner. Fix It & Forget It Dinner.

So begins my pursuit for a handful of go-to recipes for cooking outdoors, healthy and hearty both. First up, moist and falling-off-the-bone meaty ribs with apple-studded sauerkraut. It couldn’t be simpler – and it just might make cast iron sexy again. What a meal.

Here's how we make it happen. Our "camping" trips are actually day trips so we have the luxury of doing lots of prep at home, making it easier onsite where the facilities, lol, are less than convenient.

  • PACK UP [upper left] If it works for you, brown the ribs at home. (It's also easy to brown the ribs on site.) Prep the Cooking Liquid – except, LOL, the liquids themselves – throw in the apple too. Consider using shelf-stable, easy-to-carry liquids. We like to use a bottle of beer!
  • JUST ASSEMBLE [upper right] While the coals heat, fill the Dutch oven, the meat, the sauerkraut, the Cooking Liquid, including whatever you chose for the actual liquids.
  • ADD SOME CARROTS?! [lower left] This was a recent last-minute inspiration but the carrots cooked perfectly. Now follow the recipe's instructions for cooking with charcoal, heat from both above and below creates an oven of sorts, just be sure to refresh the coals every so often.
  • ENJOY! [lower right] After the cooking time is finished, lift the lid and check for doneness. Then dig in! So good. #WhataMeal!


Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 4 - 8 hours for slow cooker, 60 - 90 minutes for Dutch oven
Serves 7 (assumes 14 ribs and 5 cups sauerkraut)
  • 2-1/2 pounds meaty pork ribs
  • 2 pounds sauerkraut, preferably from a jar or a bag
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1 cup white wine or apple cider
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Generous grind black pepper
  • 1 apple, skin on, cut in thin slices, optional but nice

Cut between the ribs to separate into individual ribs. If you like, drain and discard the sauerkraut liquid (we don't). If you like, rinse and drain the sauerkraut (we don't). Mix the Cooking Liquid in a small bowl.

FOR SLOW COOKER Brown the ribs on both sides, in batches if necessary. Arrange the ribs in the bottom of a five-quart or larger slow cooker. Top with the sauerkraut, chopped apple and Cooking Liquid. Cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. About 15 minutes before serving, arrange apple slices on top, let warm through.

FOR DUTCH OVEN Light 26 coals. As soon as lit, arrange 10 coals in a ring the width of the Dutch oven, place the Dutch oven on top of the coals to heat. When the pot is hot, brown the ribs on both sides, in batches if necessary.

Arrange the ribs evenly in the bottom of the Dutch oven. Top with the sauerkraut, chopped apple and Cooking Liquid.

Cover and place 16 coals around the perimeter of the lid. Let cook for 60 – 90 minutes (lately this has been running 90 – 120 minutes, especially cooking outside in colder weather), adding fresh coals as the original coals burn out, turning the pot a quarter turn every 15 minutes. Don't lift the lid, this will release the heat and lengthen the cooking time. Watch for signs that the pot is doing its work: for us, that's a little steam that slips out between the pot and the lid.

About 15 minutes before serving, arrange apple slices on top of the Ribs & Sauerkraut, let warm through.

SERVE Serve with Campfire Cornbread or cooked rice, the better to sop up the sauerkraut juices.

ALANNA’s TIPS We some times buy meaty boneless ribs from Sam's Club: perfect. Still, the bones in ribs do add to the flavor goodness so, well, your call. For less pungent sauerkraut, rinse under running water and then drain. If you love sauerkraut as much as I do, however, skip the rinsing. Sauerkraut on the top or the bottom? I’ve done it both ways. It serves easier when the sauerkraut’s on the bottom but both work. It would be easy to make this an even meatier dish for XXL appetites. Just brown some sausage, some pork tenderloin, even some ham and stir into the sauerkraut. You’ll want to increase the Cooking Liquid too. Substitute beer for the chicken stock and white wine, especially when cooking outdoors.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving (2 ribs & ¾ cup sauerkraut): 184 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 47mg Cholesterol; 1116mg Sodium; 17g Carb; 6g Fiber; 10g Sugar; 15g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 3 & PointsPlus 4 & SmartPoints 6 & Freestyle 3 & myWW green 3 & blue 3 & purple 3
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child and Dutch Oven Cajun and Creole by Bill Ryan. DISCLOSURE A complimentary copy of Dutch Oven Cajun and Creole was provided by the publisher Gibbs-Smith. As always, the opinions are my own, that's my promise. My Disclosure Promise

Seasonal Cooking: This Same Week, Across the Years

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This Week, Elsewhere

Smoked Trout Pancakes from Balaban's Wine Cellar & Tapas Bar
~ more St. Louis Restaurant Recipes ~
My Column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Pennsylvania Dutch Green Beans with Bacon
~ more Recent Recipes ~
A Veggie Venture, my food blog about vegetables

What Is It About Pork That's So Perfect for Fall?

(hover with a mouse for a description; otherwise click a photo to view the recipe)

Milk-Braised Pork Roast Wine-Braised Pork Roast Pork Chops & Rice Oven Dinner
~ My Best & Favorite One-Pot Supper Recipes ~
~ more pork recipes ~

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ pork recipes ~
~ sauerkraut recipes ~
~ apple recipes ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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2012, 2014, 2019 & 2020

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Love this but want to braise in the dutch oven and then COOK in the oven not on coals. can you tell me at what temp and how long. And I really need quick quick lol

  2. Hey ~ So I hope this comes in time?! I cook stuff like this in the oven all the time, I’d go for low temperature, say 200F or 210F or maybe as high as 225F, no more. Timing? I’d guess a minimum of 4 hours, as many as 8. This is a most forgiving way of cooking so it’s hard to cook it for “too long”. Let me know how it goes! PS And I’ll try the oven version myself soon!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna