The real deal: Sour Beef dinner at Zion Church of the City of Baltimore[classic article]

Zion Church of the City of Baltimore has been hosting its award-winning sour beef dinner for nearly 100 years. This historic church — dating back to 1755 — was the personal place of worship of the late Governor William Donald Schaefer.

Sour beef is the name that was given to the dish known in Germany as “sauerbraten”. Back in Europe — and in some homes here — the vinegared beef is more the pot-roast type cut, rather than the sliced beef that it is at the church. It stews in a beef gravy. This is traditional home cooking, rather than restaurant or gourmet fare. Also, the meat portions are generous . . . a vast difference from the meat-stretching dish for working class homes.

The whole dinner is made by the church’s ladies aid society, the fraulein. Indeed, many of the servers had thick German accents.

Side dishes included green beans and the traditional chopped, cooked red cabbage. Oh, and let us not forget the dumplings! The hearty dumplings had a little crouton as a stuffing. Those, plus some German beers, will really fill you up.

There was a dark and also, light Pilsner German beer for sale. I got some pitchers.

For dessert, there were squares of coffee cake that I understand are pretty much standard in German-American homes here in Baltimore.

Entertainment included oopah band players and Alpine horn players. There were lots of vintage trinkets and baked goods for sale in the lobby.

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