I don't know about you, but I LOVE sauerkraut! Not only do I love sauerkraut, I love that smokey, salty, tangy thing you get when you eat barbeque. So, this is my smoked sauerkraut recipe. Just in time for spring and summer BBQ's! Pair it with sausage or hot dogs, or in my case I like to eat it with a nice bit of brisket! Mmmmm...
You can purchase smoked salt from various sources. (I buy mine direct from a woman in Brooklyn who grows the salt and smokes it herself. )
- 2 heads of cabbage (I love Dutchman Cabbage!)
- 1 yellow onion
- Sea salt & smoked salt
First you are going to chop or shred (if you have a food processor) all of your cabbage. I like to cut my cabbages in half, and then make a big V where the core is so that I can cut it out. Then I usually cut each half of cabbage in half again and then slice it into thin strips. Try to keep your strips around the same size, then I like to pick through it and get out any really fibrous bits, and then make sure the layers of cabbage are pulling apart. This is important so that when we go to add our salt, we are sure to get salt on all parts of the shredded cabbage.
I then chop my onion so the slices are a similar size to my cabbage. I add it all together into a large bowl.
Next, I add about 1/2 tsp of the smoked salt (it's very strong!) and 1 tbs of regular sea salt.
Mix it all into the cabbage and onion mixture. I like to really dig into the bottom of the bowl and get it mixed well. I also crunch and massage the cabbage as I mix things. You will start to see the vegetables sweat and this is a good sign because you are allowing the naturally occurring brine to develop. Give it a taste test and see if you like the taste. If it tastes like a salty potato chip then you are good on the salt factor.
Take a quart jar or larger jar if you have it and put a couple handfuls of the cabbage into the jar. Take your hand and make a fist and press the cabbage down into the jar. Add some more cabbage and press it down. You are going to repeat this process until you are about two inches from the top of the jar. You should see the brine start to rise up. We want enough brine to cover the entirety of the cabbage. No cabbage should be exposed to air. I like to find a jar that fits inside the quart jar and fill that with water and a lid and use it as a weight to keep the cabbage submerged below the brine. Then I cover the jar with a thin towel, old t-shirt, or anything to keep critters / bugs out. With some tape I put the date on the jar and then we wait. Alternative options to the towel method would be to ferment with a lid on the jar or to use a airlock. All these methods are fine and I don't believe one is better than the other.
You're going to want to wait 2-6 weeks for your sauerkraut to be ready to eat. Check on it every few days, give it a taste, when you like it then you can eat it. I like my krauts around 4-6 weeks and then I generally put them in the fridge. You can ferment them longer if you like. Fermentation is not an exact science. And that's why we love it!