With a distinctly sour flavor and fermented, almost bubbly texture on the tongue, sauerkraut often accompanies other German dishes in the United States. Combining the salty tanginess of sauerkraut with the simple taste of pork chops results in a tender and delicious slow-cooked meal that can be prepared a full day before serving.
Choose fresh pork that is freshly pink in the package or frozen chops that have no freezer burn on them. Use both before their best-before date. For added flavor, use smoked pork chops instead of plain fresh ones. Alternatively, you can use pork loin or tenderloin in the slow cooker, either bone in or out.
Choose traditional sauerkraut, as it has better flavor than commercially generated preserved cabbage, which is simply canned in vinegar and does not undergo the fermentation process. Rinse the sauerkraut thoroughly, removing traces of the brine from the outside of the cabbage pieces. Drain it thoroughly as well, pressing out the excess liquid.
Cooking Time and Temperature
Coat the inside of the cooking pot with vegetable oil to keep the chops and sauerkraut from sticking. Add the chops and sauerkraut, as well as any additional ingredients. Turn the slow cooker to the low temperature setting and cover with the lid. Cook for 9 to 24 hours, or as desired. A 24-hours cooking time will result in more tender cuts of meat, similar to pulled-pork in texture.
Using sauerkraut adds a large amount of flavor to the dish, but a few extra spices and ingredients will only add to the overall taste. Sprinkle 2 to 3 herbs or spices, such as black pepper or thyme, when adding it to the dish. Carrots, garlic, onions, and potatoes all go well with the chops and add extra richness while rounding out the dish. Brown the chops in oiled skillet before cooking in the slow cooker for added flavor.