German Venison Roast Recipe

Sauerbraten is a classic German sweet-and-sour roast that’s perfect for this time of year. The autumnal spices, red wine marinade, and brown sugar just taste like the holidays.

The acidic marinade of vinegar and wine works well with any tough cut, whether it be venison or feral hog. Hell, you could even use it with duck or goose legs—just shorten the cooking time a little.

The sauce utilizes the acidity of wine and vinegar for marinating and tenderizing, but is corrected at the end with the addition of gingersnap cookies. This not only sweetens the sauce but also thickens it. For sides, I like glazed carrots or anything starchy, like mashed potatoes, egg noodles, spaetzle, or traditional German dumplings.

Serving size


Time to make

4-6 hours


4 lbs. bone-in roasts or 3 lbs. boneless roasts
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 bottle red wine
8 juniper berries
5 cloves
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp. salt
1 onion, halved
1 tbsp. ground black pepper
¼ cup lard or vegetable oil
¼ cup brown sugar
5 oz. gingersnap cookies, crumbled

Also works with

Any venison, bear, wild hog, waterfowl, turkey legs

Special equipment

Fine strainer, Dutch oven, whisk


  1. Three days before making the sauerbraten, bring the vinegar, red wine, juniper, cloves, bay leaves, salt, pepper, onion, and two cups of water to a boil in a pot. Stir to dissolve the salt, then remove from the heat and cool. Submerge the meat in the cold marinade and refrigerate for three days.
  2. After three days, remove the roast from the marinade and dry well, reserving the marinade for later. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over high heat, heat the lard or oil and brown the roasts on all sides. Once the meat is browned, pour the marinade through a fine strainer into the pot. Bring to a simmer, cover, and place in the oven. Braise the roast for 3 to 5 hours or until it’s very tender.  
  3. Once it’s cooked, gently remove the roasts with a large slotted spoon to a serving platter and place the pot back on the burner over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and reduce the sauce down to about three or four cups. Add the brown sugar and gingersnaps and whisk for a couple of minutes until very smooth.  Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper then spoon the sauce over the sauerbraten and serve.