About Sauerkraut, Fermented Cabbage

The English name for fermented cabbage is borrowed from German where it means literally “sour herb” or “sour cabbage”. It is believed that the earliest records of people eating fermented cabbage come from ancient China, where it is known as Suan Cai (or Suan Tsai). Many sources claim Suan Cai was consumed by those who built the Great Wall 2,000 years ago. About 1,000 years later, fermented cabbage was brought to Europe and became a staple food in Eastern-European and German cuisines. In every language, the name means the same — sour cabbage. Follow this LINK to read more and for the recipe.

Hot-Smoked Cabbage

Think about it. Do you like sour cabbage served with smoked sausages or pork or poultry? Everything we enjoy eating WITH smoked foods will also taste outstanding when smoke-roasted. This rule works for me every time. Though I experimented with adding smokey flavors to some unconventional foods, sauerkraut didn’t come to my mind until my friend mentioned a restaurant serving it smoked. (Follow the link below to read more.)

“Your “hole in a wall” with ambient and fantastic local cuisine. You need to book very much in advance but it is worth it. The staff speaks excellent German and English. Ask for süeri rüewe from October to March: Restaurant La Coccinelle | 22 rue Sainte Madeleine 67000 Strasbourg”

After making it at home time after time, now fermented cabbage with its distinct tang looks like an obvious candidate for roast-smoking. With Cameron’s stovetop smoker, it takes 20 minutes to add nice hickory smoke flavor to fermented cabbage and another 5 to saute it with onions and heavy cream. It is as quick as impressive with the complexity of well-balanced flavors.

So easy, it felt like I reinvented the wheel. How many stovetop smoker owners came to the same idea? If any, they didn’t share it online. Adding smokiness to the sauerkraut has been haunting a few culinary minds, but solutions varied from fermenting the cabbage with smoked salt to smoking raw cabbage before the fermentation.

Smoked Sauerkraut

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: European, French, German
Keyword: cabbage, Cameron's stovetop smoker, fermented, French, German, recipe, smoked
Servings: 4 portions


  • 4 cups sauerkraut
  • 1.5 tbsp hickory chips Cameron's
  • 4 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tbsp onion diced
  • 2 tsp clarified butter or avocado oil
  • 1 tsp black pepper freshly ground, adjust to taste


  • Prepare the stovetop smoker: place 1 1/2 tbsp of hickory wood chips in the center of the bottom, a drip tray covered with aluminum foil on top, and a stainless steel container with evenly spread sauerkraut on the tray.
    Sauerkraut and Cameron's stovetop smoker
  • Close the lid and place the smoker over high heat for 15 minutes.
  • Turn the heat off. Do not open the lid! Let the smoke cool and set for about 5-8 minutes before opening. Stir the sauerkraut to evenly distribute the smokey flavor. You can prepare smoked sauerkraut in advance and refrigerate in a closed container. Reheat before serving in a sealed container.
    Smoked Sauerkraut | Cameron's stovetop smoker
  • Smoked sauerkraut is delicious as is, cold or reheated. It becomes even better when sauteed with onions and cream. Preheat clarified butter or avocado oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add diced onions and saute until lightly caramelized. Add cabbage and cream and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until no liquid left on the bottom of the pan. Serve hot or room temperature.
Sauerkraut and Cameron's stovetop smoker