SQWIB'S Killian's Kraut (not too winded)

Discussion in 'Side Items' started by sqwib, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    Fixed pics 2014/12/15

    Sorry this took so long, I know a few guys were asking about this.

    Some of you guys had a sneak peek at this when I posted my New Years Eve Smoke and the Cub Scout Christmas party Jack Daniels Pulled Pork

    I will be starting another batch soon but may make kimchi. 김치, you guessed it "Killian's Kimchi".




    Killian's Kraut

    November 6th, 2011


    I love sauerkraut not the canned stuff but the bagged kraut, my favorite sauerkraut to date would have to be the Kissling's Sauerkraut in the bag, the canned stuff sometimes taste "tinny", like a metal taste and bitter if you know what I mean.

    After doing a bit of reading I have come to the conclusion that most folks agree that there's nothing like homemade sauerkraut.

    I am a bit skeptical for the simple fact that it seems too easy, but since its so easy to make, why not give it a shot.

    This is "Wild Fermented" which means, You don't need to use a starter culture, there are plenty of lactic acid bacteria floating around in the air, however I am sure the beer aids in fermentation.

    This is so easy to make that it's a shame not to try it at least once.

    This is my first attempt at Sauerkraut

    • Ceramic crock, Glass Jar or food-grade plastic bucket, 2-3 gallon capacity or greater, I got a 3 gallon Anchor Hocking Crock for $9.00 from Wal Mart
    • Plate that fits inside crock or bucket
    • One-gallon Zip Loc bag filled with water
    • V-Slicer, or slice by hand
    • fist or beadle
    Ingredients (for 3 gallon crock):
    • 5 heads cabbage, guessing this is around 15lbs.
    • 5 tablespoons sea salt (3 tablespoons of salt per/ 5 pounds of cabbage)
    • 1 cup of foam from Killian's beer - this will brown the kraut a bit
    • Remove the outer leaves of the head so you are working with a clean head.
    • Quarter cabbage and remove hearts (OPTIONAL)
    • you can throw the hearts in the juice to ferment them as well.

    • Using a V-slicer on the #2 setting (1/8th), slice the quarters.
    • Add the sliced cabbage to the crock 1 head at a time.
    • Salt the top with 1 tablespoon of salt.

    • Punch down cabbage after each shredded head is added.
    • Continue adding each head, Salting and punching down.
    • All 5 heads are shredded.

    • All 5 heads are shredded, salted and punched down.
    • Place a plate inside to hold the cabbage below the brine, I used a plastic plate so it can bend to fit inside the mouth of the jar, fill a 1 gallon Ziploc bag with water as a weight, place inside, cover and let the magic begin.
    After 24 hours there should be enough liquid to cover the cabbage, the salt pulls water out of the cabbage (through osmosis), creating the brine.
    If there is not enough liquid to completely cover the cabbage, try punching down once more and if that doesn't work, dissolve a teaspoon of sea salt in a cup of water and pour over top of the cabbage.

    The picture below is after 2 days, the first day I panicked and added a cup of salted water and a cup of foamy beer, I did not need the extra liquid as you can see.

    Next time I will just add a few cups of the Killian's Foam a few days into the fermentation, I'm pretty sure the beer speeds up the fermentation but will also aid in mold growth.
    I'll try too better explain what I mean by Killian's foam... most folks that have a refrigerated beer dispenser will know what I mean by saying the first pour is too foamy too drink. I will usually pour the first glass or two into a container and freeze, then later I will use the beer for cooking.


    • Check the kraut every few days . The volume reduces somewhat as the fermentation proceeds.
    Sometimes mold appears on the surface Don’t worry about this. It’s just a surface phenomenon, a result of contact with the air. The Sauerkraut itself is under the anaerobic protection of the brine, just remove as much as possible.

    After a week taste the kraut. Generally it starts to be tangy after several days.
    The taste will get stronger over time, Sauerkraut can keep improving for months in cooler conditions. The warmer the conditions, the quicker the life cycle process. However it can eventually become soft and the flavor will be unsatisfactory.

    Be warned that your family will know you took the lid off.
    If you open it up, remove the bag and plate and rinse, then place back in the jar, this helped me keep the smell down.

    After 5 weeks I done a taste test, very good
    • 6 weeks decided to make some Kielbasa using the sauerkraut.

    • Ready to add some Kraut to the crock.
    • Tastes awesome raw.
    • Lets have a closer look!


    • Time to smoke some Kielbasa.

    • DAMN don't they look good!
    • Alrighty now, lets slice these boys up and toss them in with the Sauerkraut.

    This got a two thumbs up from Mom and Dad as well as the wife.

    • OK it's 8 weeks in and I Decided to smoke some kielbasa to bring in the New Year, at this rate I won't have any Sauerkraut to can!


    • Added a cup of Killian's.
    • Looks like I am running low.
    • Wow, that looks awesome, doesn't it?
    • Added a little Mrs. Dash's
    • Now we'll let that slow cook several hours.

    The guests really enjoyed this and I got a few compliments on the Sauerkraut.
    I guess most of the other folks didn't give it much thought just figuring it was plain 'ol kraut and not realizing this Kraut had one extra ingredient "Love".


    Long term storage using the hot packed water bath method.

    Due to it's high acid content, Sauerkraut can be canned using the hot packed water bath method.

    Canning FAQ's

    • Wash your jars, lids and bands with hot soapy water.
    • Sterilize your work area and all of your canning equipment including, Jars, Lids and Bands. Technically, Jars do not need to be sterilized before canning if they will be filled with food and processed in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes or more.
    • I add a tablespoon bleach to the sterilization pot.
    • Set everything on the counter.
    • Follow the proper guidelines for canning.

    • Get the hot bath setup.
    • Setup the jars on a try and rack, Give a little thought here, you will be working with hot items.

    • Once the hot bath is on and the jars are ready for packing, place the sauerkraut in a pot and set on high heat, once the liquid starts to boil, stir continuously for a minute or so, this will stop the fermentation process.
    • Reduce the heat as low as possible and place a lid on the pot.
    • Cook on low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    • Ready to pack, at this point you can add your favorite beer and some spices, I didn't add anything to this batch except of course for a little Killian's in the beginning.

    • Next batch I will add some Killian's and I will simmer it with bay leaves then remove the leaves before processing.
    • This should have been packed in two containers instead of three, this would have allowed for the correct amount of head space and proper canning. I wasn't too worried about the head space because I just tossed them in the refrigerator, they'll probably be gone in two weeks. I just wanted to point out that in order to be shelf stable, you need to follow the proper canning directions. These should be packed and covered completely in the brine for proper canning.

    • Fill clean canning jars with hot sauerkraut and add juice leaving 1/2" head space.

    • Remove bubbles from jars with a sanitized knife.
    • Wipe the rims to insure a proper seal.

    • Make sure the rim of the jars are dry and clean before placing the lids on the jar.The jars and bands can be reused, but the lids should not be reused.

    • Now the Bands. Apply lids and rings and tighten to hand tight.
    • Make sure the hot bath has started to boil.

    • Place jars in the hot bath. If done correctly, these should sink to the bottom, however, there is too much head space.
    • I had to improvise a bit.


    • Process pints for 15 minutes, and quarts for 30 minutes.
    • Processed for 30 minutes and cooling.


    Vegetables: Grated carrots, garlic, turnips, onions, beets
    Fruits: slice apples
    Spices: celery seeds, dill seeds, juniper berries, caraway seeds, cloves
    Liquid: Beer, Wine

    Storage: Should keep in the refrigerator for several months.
    Canning should be shelf stable at least 1 year.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2014
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Yet another great post SQWIB!

    I love kraut & this is something I MUST try!

    Thank-you for taking the time to do the step by step!
  3. SQWIB ...you nailed it again!!!! Your posts are always a must read. Thanks for sharing this step by step...you make it look easy.[​IMG]     

  4. Looks good!

    I  recommend filling the zip lock bag with 6% brine so if it happens to leak some your batch of sauerkraut won't be ruined....been there, done that!!!...it's cheap insurance!

    The method I use now doesn't require the bag, doesn't have any air space so there's no area for kahm yeast or mold to grow.

    Love sauerkraut, been making it for as long as I can remember...German roots on one side of the family.

    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
  5. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Man y-all are making me hungry for kraut and sausage. I too agree the bagged stuff is better then canned. I am still on the fence on whether to try making kraut, I still remember the messed up batch my dad made and that horrid smell.
  6. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Its so easy it would be a shame not to try it.
    Thank you my friend.

    Great Idea, will do next batch.

    Are you using an airlock?

    It can smell funkier than it tastes, the family would always know when I was checking the kraut, however, left undisturbed you will not notice the smell.

    As mentioned above, Its so easy it would be a shame not to try it.
  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Totally Awesome...It sucks that I'm the only one that eats Sauerkraut in my immediate family...JJ
  8. big twig

    big twig Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks for sharing this process. [​IMG] I can't wait to try this, just gotta put the shopping list together and find room in my kitchen for the storage. A family friend that owns an Italian deli makes his with red pepper flakes (gives a great kick to reubens) and I have been doing that with the canned & bagged sauerkraut but I can't wait to make my own from scratch.
  9. bob the noob

    bob the noob Smoke Blower

    I would caution a couple things: 1) make a brine with distilled water and non-iodized salt to use in the bag.  Tap water has various things to kill microbes and that's not what you want to do.  2) don't seal it tight, the fermenting cabbage will release gasses that may be enough to rupture the container you're using.

    I will agree that homemade kraut is the best.. I picked up a fermenting crock by Harsch which is very cool.. has weight stones to keep things submerged in the brine and a lip that you fill with water when you put the lid on. The lip lets gas escape but no funky stuff into the crock.  That way there's almost no "skimming" involved.
  10. ac45acp

    ac45acp Smoke Blower

    i love kraut. that stuff looks really good.
  11. "Great Idea, will do next batch.

    Are you using an airlock?"

    No air lock, the lid with the weight on top acts as an air lock.


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