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I’ve loved sauerkraut from the first time I ever tried it with some kielbasa many, many years ago. Like most foods I loved as a child, I’ve tried to improve on them by adding live fire and smoke. I also love to experiment by making things from scratch that are normally purchased prepackaged. Like my homemade enchilada sauce for example, try that and I promise you’ll never buy another can of store-bought sauce again.
But I digress, back to the topic of sauerkraut. I’ve made this from scratch as well and what I found is that even the best homemade sauerkraut is only marginally better than the stuff you can buy in the store.
I try to keep things simple and the return on investment of time and effort required to ferment my own cabbage just isn’t worth it, to me. It’s certainly fun to make from scratch so if you have the time and inclination I say go for it. But comparing homemade sauerkraut to what we’ll do here with the store-bought stuff will quickly have you understanding why I just “soup up” the kraut in a bag.
Anyway, my reasoning for buying sauerkraut from a bag isn’t what you came here for. You came here to learn how to cook store-bought sauerkraut. What you’ll find below is the perfect way to cook sauerkraut. I’m not sure I would call it a sauerkraut recipe because we’re not actually making traditional German sauerkraut here, but we are making store-bought sauerkraut even better!
What is Sauerkraut Used On?
Sauerkraut can certainly be used as a side dish for just about any meat you’re serving for a main course. It goes especially well with pulled pork if you have some left over. It’s also a staple on a Reuben sandwich and believe it or not, it goes well on pizza.
Wait, what? A Filet Mignon Polish Sausage?
Yes, well … kind of. These are actually sausages links made from filet mignon. Pinch yourself hot dog fans, you’re not dreaming. These things are incredible and the spiciness they offer pairs perfectly with the sweetness and sourness of our sauerkraut.
Remember earlier when I mentioned making childhood favorites even better with fire and smoke? Well, that’s exactly what we are going to do here.
Is Sauerkraut Really Sour?
Yes, it really is sour. Not from being pickled like you might think because sauerkraut isn’t pickled at all. It’s fermented and the lactic acid produced from the cabbage and salt is what gives sauerkraut the sour flavor.
Many people love this strong sour note, others, not so much. By following my technique I feel like you get the best of both worlds. A slight sourness, but with a smoky sweetness that goes perfectly with the cabbage.
How to Cook Store-Bought Sauerkraut
Serves: 8 | Prep Time: 10 min | Cooking Time: 1 hour
2 lbs bag sauerkraut
3 tbsp reserved bacon fat
1 medium vidalia onion (diced)
1 cup apple sauce
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
8 Filet Mignon Polish Sausages
How to Cook Store-Bought Sauerkraut Step-by-Step
Step 1: Light your grill or smoker and set up for indirect heat. Set temperature to 300 degrees F.
Step 2: While the grill is preheating, melt reserved bacon fat in a large sauté pan over medium heat until melted. Add diced onion to the bacon drippings. Stirring occasionally, cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Step 3: Add apple sauce, brown sugar, caraway seeds, black pepper and combine thoroughly and turn off the heat.
Step 4: Drain about 1/2 of the sauerkraut liquid off the sauerkraut and add the drained sauerkraut to the onions. Stir until fully incorporated.
Step 5: Spread sauerkraut out evenly on a medium-sized baking sheet. The idea is to form just a thin layer in order to ensure maximum exposure to your smoke or charcoal.
Step 6: Place baking sheet in grill or smoker for 1 hour and allow the wood chunks, pellets, or charcoal to go to work. I prefer the flavor of a mild pecan smoke with sauerkraut, but use what you prefer. Add Polish sausages to indirect heat for the last 10 minutes of cooking time just to warm them up.
Step 7: Remove sauerkraut from grill or smoker. You’ll notice that all the water has evaporated and the edges of your sauerkraut are slightly crunchy. Place your Filet Mignon Polish Sausages over direct high heat, cooking each side for about 90 seconds. You’ll see these links come alive over the fire and the color and smell are just incredible. You can also toast your buns here too if you like, I prefer a little char on the bread personally.
Step 8: Place your grilled Polish sausages on a bun with a generous portion of our smoked sauerkraut, top with some optional mustard, and add a tomato slice or two if you’re up for it.
How to Cook Store-Bought Sauerkraut
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Don't have time to make your own sauerkraut, follow these tips to make store-bought sauerkraut the star ingredient of your next meal.
- 2 lbs bag sauerkraut
- 3 tbsp reserved bacon fat
- 1 medium Vidalia onion diced
- 1 cup apple sauce
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 8 Filet Mignon Polish Sausages
- 8 buns
Light your grill or smoker and set up for indirect heat. Set temperature to 300 degrees F.
While grill is preheating, melt reserved bacon fat in a large sauté pan over medium heat until melted. Add diced onion to the bacon drippings. Stirring occasionally, cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add apple sauce, brown sugar, caraway seeds, black pepper, and combine thoroughly. Turn off heat.
Drain about 1/2 of the sauerkraut liquid off the sauerkraut and add the drained sauerkraut to the onions.
Spread sauerkraut out evenly on a medium sized baking sheet. The idea is to form just a thin layer in order to ensure maximum exposure to your smoke or charcoal.
Place baking sheet in grill or smoker for 1 hour and allow the wood chunks, pellets, or charcoal to go to work.
Remove sauerkraut from grill or smoker. You’ll notice that all the water has evaporated and the edges of your sauerkraut are slightly crunchy. Place your filet mignon hot links over direct high heat, cooking each side for about 90 seconds.
Place your grilled Filet Mignon Polish Sausages on a bun with a generous portion of our smoked sauerkraut, top with some optional mustard and add a tomato slice or two if you're up for it.