Are You Cooking With Beer?
It’s Summer and you’re out cooking on the grill, probably drinking beer, if not, you’re doing it wrong. So, technically, you’re cooking, with beer, but are you, cooking with beer? Some folks might think it’s too difficult, some might think it’s not worth it. Chances are, if you’re reading this, it’s gonna be worth it to you. Beer is very forgiving to cook with, if the food doesn’t end up being very good, just drink more beer and everything will taste better. All kidding aside, beer can be used for so many recipes, it’s easy to do, and if you like to drink it, you’ll like cooking with it.
I like to try new things with beer all the time, like beer salad dressing, just use some raspberry lambic in place of vinegar in a vinaigrette, you can use a lil’ lime or lemon juice for some zip. How about some beer cheese? I’ve had Mike’s beer cheese at Stone, and some festivals, and some from O’briens in San Diego, and it was great, so why not make my own? Experiment with this one too, the beer and cheese picks should be whatever you like. I recommend a good cheese, stay away from the generics on this one. How about queso fundido? It’s a cheese dip with beer in it, obviously. If you have access to good queso casero, homemade Mexican cheese, it makes a world of difference, also some good Manchego. I would recommend XX amber, just my personal choice.
How about beer marinade? Tons of different ways to do this, I like some soy sauce, shallots, olive oil, fresh ginger, garlic, salt and pepper. Don’t forget the St. Louis style spare ribs with Double Barrel BBQ sauce. A list for grilling wouldn’t be complete without beer can or beer butt chicken. While this isn’t chili weather, beer is a great ingredient for chili, just substitute some of the liquid with beer. Spaghetti sauce with beer? If you can use wine in a recipe you can use beer. You can saute vegetables in beer too. There’s also the ubiquitous Guinness stew. Don’t forget the fish, not beer battered fish, but that works too, grilled fish, marinade it in beer and grill it. I don’t eat a lot of deep fried food, but, my friend Shannon makes some killer onion rings with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, similar to the ones Stone used to make, but a bit lighter.
After all that fun, we need something to finish it all off, dessert. Some Young’s Double Chocolate Stout floats, milkshakes, or sundae’s sound good. Then there’s the Guinness stout cake, and brownies. Beer battered apple fritters sound good for breakfast too. How about beer poached pears or apples? Beer muffins, baking mix, beer, and sugar. Some lambic ice cream, think of all the flavors. Of course there are many more savory recipes than sweet ones, it is beer after all. It just takes some experimenting, a bit of time in the kitchen, or back yard, and some cold ones while you’re at it.
As far as the beer choices go, use what you like, when a recipe calls for a “cheap beer”, I like to try a craft beer of the same style, substitute Full Sail SessionLager, or whatever you like. This is just the tip of the ice berg, there are many recipes available. If you have a favorite recipe or idea, share it with us by commenting below. Cooking with beer is very rewarding, it gives you another much needed excuse to drink.
One of my personal favorites, beer and brats, cook the bratwurst in a beer bath with onions and garlic, some pepper and garlic salt, then grill the brats to give them a nice snap. Here is how I do it for the best results.
BIG MIKE”S BEER & BRATS
- 10 to 12 uncooked bratwurst, preferably fresh from your local butcher, Johnsonville Brats work fine.
- 1 large onion, white, brown, red, whatever floats your boat.
- 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, more or less depending on your preference.
- 2 or 3 cans or bottles of Ale or Lager, once again up to your personal preferences.
- Pepper and garlic salt to taste.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, Fahrenheit.
- Roughly chop onions and garlic, place in 9″x 13″x 2″ deep baking dish, I use Pyrex.
- Place brats on top, add beer, add salt and pepper to taste.
- Bake at 350 for 20 to 30 minutes, uncovered, flipping once during cooking.
- Grill on medium high to high heat, propane or charcoal, your choice, till nicely colored.