Beer battered onion rings from your local pub are one thing, but beer-infused meats on the grill are a whole different kettle of fish! We’re not sparking a new revolution; the technique of cooking with beer is as old as drinking it. In fact, Ancient Egyptian Sumerians believed that cooking with beer was a way to bring ‘healthy food’ to the masses (which is a perfect excuse if anyone needs convincing!) and today we continue to infuse our recipes as a way to enhance every-day food.
Flavouring and tenderising your meat with beer is an easy way to impress guests, but the challenge lies within selecting the right type of beer to enhance and not overpower your dishes.
Black lagers with a smoky finish, like Budweiser Budvar, Kostritzer and Guiness Black Lager, will go perfectly with a classic BBQ beef burger. You don’t want to add too much liquid into the burger mix as it could prevent the meat from binding, so we would recommend serving the burgers with a Black lager BBQ sauce as an alternative. Beer is much less acidic than the vinegar and citrus juices often used in BBQ sauce, which enhances the taste. Make some simple beef burgers using mince, eggs to bind and sculpt them evenly using a burger press, then make your own Black Lager BBQ sauce with the following recipe:
2 tablespoons of chopped garlic
3 small sweet peppers
2 medium onions (chopped)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 cup of black lager
1 cup of chopped and peeled tomatoes
Pinch of salt and pepper
Sautee the garlic, peppers and onions with the olive oil until soft, then pour into a blender with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and then cool in the refrigerator, ready to slather on your BBQ beef burgers.
Plain pork sausages are a British BBQ classic and enjoyed by all the family, but once you’ve been quite thorough to ensure they are cooked through, they are often left lacking flavour! A simple solution is to simmer your sausages in beer before barbecuing, and a light, fruity beer like Goose Island 312 or Cobra will be ideal.
To simmer, pierce each sausage several times with a cocktail stick then place them in a pan. Cover the sausages with 3 parts beer and 1 part water and simmer on a low boil for 3-4 minutes, then drain and prepare to move the sausages over to the grill!
Fish and seafood on the BBQ are one of the healthiest choices available and when flavoured correctly, taste delicious! Wheat ales like Hoegaarden and Erdinger Weissbier tend to work best with fish and seafood as they don’t overpower the meat. Whether smoking or grilling on the BBQ, a beer brine beforehand will enhance the flavour ready for barbecuing.
You can make your own beer brine using the recipe below:
4 cups of wheat ale
1 tablespoon of salt
1 tablespoon of sugar
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Place all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and stir until the sugar and salt have completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and refridgerate until cool. Once cooled down, let the fish or seafood sit in the brine overnight and then remove and pat off excess moisture with paper towels before barbecuing.
Steaks are a BBQ favourite and often need little other than salt in the way of seasoning, however, a beer infused marinade can subtly enhance the flavour of your steak, and even help to tenderise tougher cuts of meat that are popularly used for kebabs. Malt-driven dark ales like Tetleys Huntsmans or toffee-malt flavours like that of Hobgoblin work well with steak, as the stronger flavour is able to match up to that of the beef. The best way to infuse this flavour is by marinating the meat prior to barbecuing, and by injecting marinade, you can ensure the steaks are juicy all the way through!
You can make a simple beer marinade using the following recipe:
½ cup dark ale
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
Pinch of salt and pepper.
Mix all ingredients together and use to cover your steaks or kebabs. Piercing the surface of the meat will help the marinade to infuse more quickly. Use our marinating guide to see recommended marinating times, as they will vary between 30 minutes and 16 hours.
You will be able to find a perfect pairing of beer to all your BBQ dishes, so if you’re not cooking with any of the above, see the points below for further guidance on the types of brew to make your BBQ stand out!