Two major disclaimers right off the bat:
#1: I have never been a fan of kielbasa.
#2: I am even less of a fan of sauerkraut.
Yet, I am hopelessly in love with this recipe. It doesn’t make logical sense. And yet, the stars somehow aligned. Could it be that beer and brown sugar make all the difference? Given the magical powers of both, it’s certainly possible. Back on the 4th of July, my Chief Culinary Consultant and I went to his friend’s house for a cookout. He mentioned there was kielbasa and sauerkraut (which I typically pass right over), and as a footnote said that they were cooked in beer and brown sugar. My ears shot up faster than a dog who hears a bread bag being rustled (or a peanut butter jar open, or a banana being peeled. Okay, my dog is weird!). I had to try it, even though I still kind of thought I wouldn’t really be crazy about it. Forget being crazy about it, or even liking it, I loved it. Afterward, I was sorry that I had filled up on so many side dishes because I was dying for another sandwich but was too full.
Over the last few months we reminisced about how great those kielbasa sandwiches were and how we needed to get the recipe from his friend. Finally last weekend we scored the recipe, and within hours had it simmering away in the crock-pot. This recipe honestly couldn’t be any easier to make – less than 10 minutes to get everything into your slow cooker, and then let it do the work. As with most things like this, the longer you let it cook the better it will taste. The kielbasa becomes so tender that it melts in your mouth, and the sauerkraut takes on a sweet flavor – delicious! If you’re a kielbasa and/or sauerkraut-averse person, take it from one of your brethren – you NEED to give this a shot!
This is perfect for football game days, and even for late Oktoberfest celebrations. Enjoy!
One year ago: Garlic Knots
Two years ago: Lemon Burst Cookies
Three years ago: Lavash Crackers
Four years ago: Hearty Beef Stew
Beer and Brown Sugar Kielbasa & Sauerkraut
Yield: About 10 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Bake Time: 4 to 8 hours
12 ounces beer (can or bottle)
1 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
3 pounds polish kielbasa
1 bag sauerkraut, drained
1. Combine the beer and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, until the sugar melts and the mixture is slightly thickened; set aside.
2. Cut the kielbasa into links and place in a slow cooker. Cover with the drained sauerkraut. Pour the beer and brown sugar mixture over top. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours, or on low for 8 to 10 hours. (We ended up doing a combination – high for 3 hours and then low for another 3 or so. Definitely the longer it cooks the better it tastes!)
3. Serve on its own or on your favorite sandwich roll.
Tags: Beer, Kielbasa, Main Dishes, Sauerkraut, Slow Cooker