Pastrami Reuben with Homemade Sauerkraut

You’ve made the pastrami, now it’s time for the ultimate pastrami sandwich! The Pastrami Reuben. The only thing that makes a homemade Pastrami Reuben better is homemade sauerkraut. With a little patience, you’ll find yourself enjoying one of the greatest sandwiches you’ve ever tasted!

Pastrami Reuben with Homemade Sauerkraut Recipe


For the Sauerkraut:

  • 3 lb green cabbage, trimmed, cored, and shredded, outer leaves reserved
  • 1 oz kosher salt
  • 2 tsp juniper berries

For the Russian Dressing:


To make the sauerkraut, place the shredded cabbage in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the kosher salt and juniper berries over the cabbage. Mix well, squeezing the cabbage and kneading for a few minutes to begin breaking it down and allowing its liquid to be released. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Repeat the kneading every 30 minutes until you have nearly enough standing liquid in the bottom of the bowl to cover the cabbage when the cabbage is compressed in a 2 quart mason jar. This will take up to 3-4 hours. Transfer the shredded cabbage to the mason jar with its accumulated brine and pack down. Lay the reserved cabbage leaves out flat, on top of the shredded cabbage and press to pack it down. You want the brine (liquid) to rise 1/2”-1” above the cabbage. If you need more brine, mix a 2% salt solution (1 cup water + 1 heaping teaspoon of kosher salt), and add enough to cover. You can weigh the cabbage down with a small mason jar, if needed.

Place the lid on the mason jar. Store in a cool (65ºF-70ºF), dark place. At about 4 days in, take the lid off to release the air pressure built up in the jar. Immediately close the lid and put back in the cool dark storage area. Repeat this process every 3-5 days. Be sure to push the cabbage back down to keep submerged, as needed. It’s important that the cabbage stays submerged, so add more 2% salt solution, if the brine level gets too low.

After about 2 weeks, begin to taste the cabbage to monitor its progress. The sauerkraut is ready to serve when the flavor sours to your liking, which can take anywhere from 3-5 weeks.

If at any point the sauerkraut becomes discolored, slimy, or offensive smelling, toss it out and start over. The finished sauerkraut can be stored in the refrigerator in the sealed mason jar for up to 6 months.

To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Preheat your Kamado Joe Classic II to 400ºF-450ºF, set up for direct grilling, with a Half Moon Cast Iron Reversible Griddle in place.

Build the sandwiches. Spread the bottom slice of bread with the Russian Dressing. Pile on the sliced pastrami. Lay a couple of slices on the pastrami. Top with the other slice of bread.

Melt a couple of tablespoons of butter on the griddle. Cook the sandwiches until browned, then flip. Add more butter, as needed. Continue cooking until the cheese is melted and bread is toasted.


  1. Jerry
    April 3, 2018

    On the kraut. Don’t you don’t have to Pasteurize or boil the jars at all?

  2. Brian
    April 11, 2018

    Started my sauerkraut about 5 days ago. I’m seeing the liquid rise a little bit each day. It’s close to the top at this point. Is it okay to remove some before it gets too high and the pressure gets too crazy? I’m releasing pressure maybe every 2 days and once it releases you can see some bubbles come up but the liquid also rises. Any suggestions? Everything still going right?


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