Tuesday, February 19, 2008

PAIRINGS: BBQ & Beer pt 3

BBQ and Beer

This is the third in our series of articles on BBQ and Beer pairings. Today we will be concentrating on what goes well with a classic white sauce. Again, we are indebted to our beer experts Timothy Bisson and Michael Payne for their acumen and willingness to lend a hand.

Alabama White Sauce

1 cup mayonaise
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Mix ingredients together and refrigerate for at
least 8 hours before using.

Michael Payne:

Styles - Lambic, Flanders Red.

This is a real challenge to match as it is a unusual and idiosyncratic style of BBQ sauce. Since this sauce is so different from most, I recommend going with an unusual beer as well. Both Lambics and Flemish Red beers have the acidity to stand up to a sauce with all the vinegar that we find in the Alabama white sauce.

Lambics are a very old Belgian style of beer. They are produces by a handful of dedicated artisanal brewers near Brussels. They have a strong acidity can easily match the vinegar in the sauce as well as earthy, peppery notes to match the pepper, spice and citrus.

Flemish Red beers are a similar but distinctly different style of Belgian beer. These beers have a similar acidity to lambics as well as the earthy funkiness, but they also have a subtle, malty sweetness that can help refresh the palate when dealing with something acidic like the Alabama Red sauce.

Suggested Commercial Examples:

Lambic - Lindemans Cuvee Rene, Cantillon Gueuze (avoid sweetened lambics such as LIndemans fruit lambics as they tend to be cloyingly sweet and artificial tasting).

Flemish Red - Rodenbach Grand Cru, Duchesse De Bourgogne.

Timothy Bisson

This was a tough one. The white sauce is thin in consistency but brings a lot of pepper and acidity balanced by some sweetness and tang in the mayonnaise. The brisket is full of robust flavor and mouthfeel. Hmmm. Well a beer that fits this bill is Guinness Draught Stout. The beers’ and sauces’ slight sourness and light mouthfeel gave them some common ground to meet and sniff each other out. The peppery flavor in the sauce liked what it saw in the roastiness of the Stout and the party started. As the Guinness warms its full flavor comes out. This is key. The roastiness nestles into the brisket adding complexity to the tender but textured meat. The Guinness cleans the palate while enjoying commonality with the sauce. The meat tangoed with the Stout and the sauce allowing each to lead but not getting pushed over at all.

Alternate brew: If you can’t find Guinness, crawl from under the rock you live and ask anyone who breathes fresh air where to find it.

Pork Ribs
Ahh, this Alabama White sauce is a noodle scratcher. But, I’ve got two brews that will add complexity and balance to it. The white sauce is acidic from the vinegar with some sweetness and creaminess from the mayo and finishes with layers of black and cayenne pepper. The ribs bring some fat and a lovely meaty texture.

The Dupont Moinette Brune is a Strong Dark Belgian Ale made by a brewery famous for Saison Dupont. And it’s great with the Pork Ribs and White sauce. The beer is slightly sour with mild cherry flavors, chocolate and caramel balanced by hop bitterness. It’s a beer that will go well with lots of dark or BBQ’d meats. The beer’s sourness finds harmony with the sauce and the malt flavors blend well with the meat. This beer is hard to find in some places and might not be up everyone’s alley,

But, Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter is widely available and if you like craft beer it should be up your alley. For both the Pork and Beef Ribs this is a fun excellent pairing. Its sweetness matches the sauce. The acidity of the sauce is cleaned out by the full mouth feel and body in the porter. Also, the roast character adds another layer of flavor to the ribs. Taddy Porter’s molasses qualities enhance the meat’s flavors. It’s a great beer for any BBQ dish.

Beef Ribs
The beef ribs and the sauce bring quite different flavors to the table. The ribs are bold with earthy qualities. The sauce is peppery and acidic with some creaminess for balance. As stated in the Pork Ribs review above, Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter smooth, roasty full character dovetails splendidly with Beef Ribs.

But for the more adventurous type, try a Flemish Red Ale, particularly Verhaeghe’s Vichtenaar. I know. It’s a mouth full and I don’t even know how to say it. But Flemish Red’s are sour and so is the sauce. Sour in a good way. The sourness in the beer and sauce match which allows the Flemish Red’s cherry and wood flavors to dive into the tender but rich beef flavors. The sauce adds some peppery spice and a slight creaminess that pulls everything together. This is a great pairing where the food and beer find a commonplace in the acidity and use that to beautifully express themselves. Give it a try!

Chicken Breasts
The chicken breasts with the White Sauce is great. The sauce seems less sour and the black and cayenne pepper comes out more fully in the chicken. Two beers did well with the chicken. First, Belhaven’s Scottish Ale has a mild dark malt character which links up with the char of the bird. There is a slight tart ting in the finish of the Scottish Ale that finds harmony with the sauce’s cider vinegar. This nitrogenated silky quaffable is like a side of creamy mashed potatoes next to your favorite steak. It’s there to complement the meat and add something creamy to help wash it down. It happily blends right in.

Second, try Verhaeghe’s Vichtenaar Flemish Red Ale. Its strong acidity finds a home with the vinegar in the sauce. With the chicken, there is a wonderful sweet and sour combinations going on. The dark fruit and malt sweetness of the beer dive into the lactic and acetic acids of the beer and sauce. The peppers also are tamed and blended with the cherry flavors from the beer. It’s a complex offering that enlivens and delights the tastebuds. Again, this beer is not readily available and is for the adventurous.

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