Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Beer And Food, or Beer In Food?

Almost all restaurants that promote craft beer are doing more events with pairing food and beer.  Each beer is being carefully selected and then paired with a specific dish to highlight not only the beer, but the food as well. Beer can do wonderful things to the taste of food. Not only as a beverage, but as an ingredient as well.

More and more my wife and I are cooking main courses, side dishes, and even desserts with beer. Each different style of beer can be used for a different reason. Have a nice ale or lager laying around? Add some to your next marinade for BBQ pork ribs. Don't know what to do with a stout you have had for some time? Put some in the batter for your next batch of brownies. The beer will add another level of complexity, change the mouth fell, and even make a great conversation starter for when people come by for dinner. 

There are 3 recipes in particular that we have tried that have been a success so far. Cast Iron Skillet Stout Braised Short Ribs, Stout Ginger Bread, and then a simple Brown Ale BBQ sauce you can use on anything you're grilling. Try them out sometime whenever you feel adventurous in the kitchen or grill and let me know what beer used, and how it turned out.

Use my suggestions or sub in your favorite breweries beer that fits the style, 

Cast Iron Skillet Stout Braised Short Ribs with Founders Breakfast Stout;

1 lb. short ribs. I use beef but try it with pork too.
salt and pepper to season
2-3 tbsp. flour. I use whole wheat since it adds a little more body
olive oil for pan
1 tbps. butter
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 12oz bottle Founders Breakfast Stout
1/2 cup beef stock

1. season ribs with salt and pepper then dredge in flour shaking any excess off then heat oil and butter in skillet.
2. using med-high heat, brown the ribs on each side then set aside. add the onion and garlic to the pan for 5-7 minutes or until clear.
3. pour in beer, bring to boil and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. 
4. place ribs in skillet and add beef stock
5. cover, and simmer on low heat for aobut 2 hours or until ribs reach cook internal tempature. 150 med-rare, 160 medium, 175 well. (all temps F)

2 onion diced
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. celery salt
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 cup catsup
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (use loosely packed if you prefer sauce not as sweet)
1 12oz bottle Smuttynose Old Dog Brown Ale

1. add all ingredients but beer into a large bowl
2. slowly add small portions of beer and stir together to reach your desired thickness. 
3. if you didn't add all the beer, drink the rest of bottle and get cooking!

and lastly the big one, 
Classic Ginger Bread Cake with Guinness Stout

3/4 cup Guinness Stout
1/2 tsp. backing soda
2/3 cup mild molasses
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1+1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. baking powder 
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp. fresh ginger(use a microplane zester to grate the ginger. trust me, it's worth it)

1. preheat oven to 350(F), grease and flour pan. 
2. bring stout to boil in a medium sauce pan over med-high heat stirring occasionally. 
3. remove from heat after boiled and stir in baking soda. when foaming subsides, stir in molasses, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until dissolved. set aside.
4. whisk flour, ground ginger, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pepper together in a large bowl. set aside. 
5. transfer stout mixture to a large bowl and whisk in eggs, oil, and grated fresh ginger until combined. 
6. whisk wet mixture together with flour mixture in thirds stirring each vigorously until completely smooth after each addition. 
7. transfer batter to prepared pan and gently tap pan against counter 3 or 4 times to dislodge any air bubbles.
8. bake until top of cake is just firm to the touch and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. about 35 to 45 mins. 
9. cool cake on wire in pan about 1+1/2 hours. serve warm or at warm temperature.  

Try them out and let me know what you think.



  1. These recipes look great (gingerbread + beer = perfection). I wish I had seen this before we got our growler this weekend since we had so much left over. But I'm sure it's only a matter of time before we're stocked up again...

  2. @michelle, beer + food = happiness. indeed, leftover beer from a growler or unfinished 750ml is a perfect thing to experiment with.