Pork & Sauerkraut: A New Year’s Day Tradition

Looking for a dish to bring to a potluck today? Most are familiar with Hoppin’ John, but Pork and Sauerkraut is another New Year’s Day dish that’s said to bring good fortune for the New Year. It’s a tradition in Chef Brian’s family—his grandparents would serve it every New Year’s Day in their Pennsylvania Dutch country home. And now, we’re sharing it with you!

pork and sauerkraut

We found this little history lesson at Food Timeline:

Pork & Sauerkraut

This is a German custom. Pennsylania Dutch, of German descent, also serve these foods.
“Throughout history, the lowly cabbage has played side dish to the pig on New Year’s Day, not because it bears a special significance, but because it’s a tasty complement to pork. “It’s a traditional combination,” said William Weaver, an internationally known food historian who lives in Chester County. Any Pennsylvania German worth his or her salt knows pork is served on New Year’s Day because it brings good luck. With their snouts, pigs root forward, signifying progress, lore dictates, whereas chickens and turkeys scratch backward.”
—“Eat ‘sour cabbage’ for a sweet year; Having sauerkraut on New Year’s Day brings luck, some say,” Kathleen Parrish, Morning Call [Allentown:PA], January 1, 2004 (p. A1)

And here’s an easy slow cooker recipe to follow:


1 (4 pound) pork loin roast

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

2 cups sauerkraut with liquid

salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cut pork loin, if necessary, to fit in the slow cooker. Season with caraway seeds, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauerkraut over the roast.
  2. Cook on High for 1 hour, then cook on Low for 5 to 6 hours. Internal temperature of the roast should be at least 145 degrees F (63 degrees C).

What’s your traditional New Year’s recipe?