Ham Hocks & Beer-Braised Sauerkraut


8 to 10


30-40 min


3 hr



  • 2 lbs ‏Fresh or jarred sauerkraut
  • 4 tbls ‏Unsalted butter, or duck, chicken or goose fat
  • 1/4 lbs ‏Apple cured bacon cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 3 medium ‏Yellow onion, peeled and sliced
  • 4 ‏Sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 ‏Bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp ‏Black peppercorns
  • 8 ‏Juniper berries, lightly crushed
  • 1 ‏Garlic head, split in 1/2 crosswise
  • 2 ‏Ham hocks, scored
  • 2 cups ‏Chicken stock
  • 2 cups ‏Dark or amber beer,(recommended: Abita Amber)
  • 1 lbs ‏Andouille, or garlic sausage, kielbasa, or knockwurst, cut into 3" lengths
  • 1 lbs ‏Bratwurst or veal sausage, cut into 3" lengths
  • 4 or more ‏Thin boneless smoked pork chops (can add more)
  • For serving ‏Mustard, Creole, whole grain or dijon

This is special….when you want to get rid of the vortex serve this dish. Ham hocks was one of my father’s favorite recipes. This is guaranteed to make a carnivore a vegetarian, or maybe even vegan, and will certainly clear the house. As the aroma of the ham hocks fill the air, other engagements take priority and your guest will begin to leave. Patty and I then order a pizza from Salernos. I served this to my family once, many years ago. It has never been on the table since. Still one of my favorites. This particular recipe is from Emeril Lagasse. He has titled this recipe “Emeril’s Never Enough Pork Beer-Braised Sauerkraut.”


  1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Place the sauerkraut in a colander and rinse briefly to remove some of the salt from the brine-don’t rinse it too much, or you will lose a lot of the flavor. (Alternatively, if the sauerkraut is not excessively salty, use as is.)
  3. Press to release most of the excess liquid and set aside.
  4. In a large non-reactive skillet, melt 3 tbls of butter over medium-low heat and add bacon.
  5. Cook until most of the fat is rendered, about 4 minutes.
  6. Add the onions and continue to cook until they are soft but not browned 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Transfer the bacon-onion mixture to a nonreactive roasting pan or large oven proof Dutch oven. Add the drained sauerkraut and toss to combine.
  8. Using a small piece of cheesecloth, make a bouquet garni with the thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, juniper berries and garlic, and place in the baking dish.
  9. Add the ham hocks, chicken stock, and beer. Stir to combine.
  10. Cover the casserole and bake, undisturbed, until ham hocks are mostly tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
  11. Meanwhile, melt the remaining tbls of butter in a large skillet over high heat and brown the sausages on both sides. Set aside.
  12. Brown the pork chops and set aside.
  13. When the hocks are mostly tender, remove the casserole from the oven. Place the sausages on top of the sauerkraut.
  14. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the sausages are tender and heated through.
  15. Add the pork chops and press them into the sauerkraut.
  16. Cover and return to the oven and cook until the pork chops are heated through and tender, about 30 minutes longer.
  17. Remove the casserole from the oven and discard the bouquet garni.
  18. Serve immediately, with each person receiving some of the sausage, part of a hock, part of a pork chop and some of the sauerkraut.
  19. Pass the mustard at the table.

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