This is NOT a traditional Baltimore Sour Beef recipe nor a traditional German recipe for Sour Beef. They do not call for red wine vinegar. Do yourself a favor and find a different recipe on the web. Pickling spices are key not the spices listed in this recipe. McCormick's makes a great pickling spice (Cinnamon, Allspice, Mustard Seed, Coriander, Bay Leaves, Ginger, Chilies, Cloves, Black Pepper, Mace, Cardamom). If you are lucky enough to live in Baltimore you could "cheat" and buy a bottle of Mrs. Minnick's Sour Beef mix.
I grew up in Baltimore. My grandmother made sauerbraten often for large Sunday family dinners. It was outstanding/excellent and one of the best food memories of my childhood. This recipe is as close to horrible as one can get. We tried to eat it and could not. I am heartbroken. I hoped that this would be a memory trip back to Baltimore from North Carolina. Instead we have frozen the remains of the meal until trash day. <br/><br/>The meal from my childhood was cooked in a pressure cooker. I cooked this in a very expensive slow-cooker and I followed the recipe 100%. The results were dismal. The meat was dry as wall board and the gravy was soooooo sour from quality vinegar that it nearly made us gag. <br/><br/>Too bad.
A lot of people have their own twist to traditional recipes. That's the fun of experimenting. I tried this version and it was very good, though not necessarily suiting the pallet of some others. Some versions are more or less sour depending on individual preferences. This one is more on the sour side. I used a 3 lb chuck roast and followed the recipe exactly, then tweaked the flavor a little. The meat was absolutely fall-apart tender and flavorful. I added more brown sugar at the end to balance the sour side otherwise just fine.