Eat Your Pork & Sauerkraut: Good Luck for the New Year

Are you making pork and sauerkraut on New Years Day?  Of course we are. Born and raised in southwestern PA and married to a Pennsylvania Dutch Country boy, the tradition of eating pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day is commonplace in our area. In addition, my husband and I both have some German ancestry so this practice has been ingrained into us from early childhood.

Pork & Sauerkraut

Why pork and sauerkraut? Well, I’m told that back in the day having a pig meant a family was good to go for the winter. And since cabbage is a fall crop it was often canned or pickled to use in the winter. The process takes about 6-8 weeks making it ready just about the time the new year is upon us.

Other folklore speaks to the way pigs forage for food in a forward motion, never looking back, and that cabbage was slang for money at one time. By this time in the 21st century it is simply something we just do. After all it tastes delicious and well, and the promise of good luck is always appealing.

Wishing you a happy and health new year with lots of good luck.


Pork and Sauerkraut


  • 2 lbs sauerkraut
  • 2 lbs pork shoulder or butt
  • 1 lb kielbasa
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 t caraway seeds


  1. Brown the roast in some olive oil in a large pot.
  2. Add the sauerkraut brine and all.
  3. Add the kielbasa
  4. Sprinkle brown sugar and caraway seeds.
  5. Add some water to just cover.
  6. Bring to a boil.
  7. Turn on low, cover, and simmer for 3-4 hours or until the pork is easily pulled apart with a fork.
  8. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Pork & Sauerkraut - good luck -

About Patti Estep

Patti is the creator of Hearth and Vine, a home and garden blog filled with projects to inspire your creative side. She loves crafting, gardening, decorating and entertaining at her home in Pennsylvania. When she is not working on a project at home or searching for treasures at nurseries and thrift stores with her girlfriends, you’ll probably find her with family and friends, at a restaurant, or home party enjoying new and different food adventures.

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  1. Sandra L. says:

    This brings back fond memories of going to my grandmother’s house. I always stayed with her from Christmas Day night until New Years Day night and this was traditional also. My father’s side of the family was born in Germany and as well as her parents. My mother never she was British so it wasn’t something that she ate growing up. I haven’t had it for years and now you have me wanting to cook but so much work for one person. Sounds like you’ve had a wonderful dinner.

    • Hi Sandra,

      My mother was half German so I’ve been eating pork and sauerkraut every New Years for as long as I can remember. I’d almost be afraid not to eat it at this point. My husband is part German too and he loves it, so I even make a smaller version with just kohlbassi and sauerkraut throughout the year. There’s nothing like Grandma’s cooking, huh?
      Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend,

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