Tuesday, February 5, 2008

RECIPE: Beer & BBQ Pairings

BBQ & Beer Pairings

The recipes are from about.com. Look for an upcoming interview with about.com’s resident BBQ expert, Derrick Riches.

Mustard Sauce

1 cup jarred mustard
1 tablespoon (roughly) fresh chopped garlic
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon powdered oregano
1/4 teaspoon powdered thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Combine dry ingredients in a saucepan. Add enough
vinegar to make a mixable paste. Mix well. Place
over high heat and add remaining ingredients.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and
simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Michael Payne

Styles - Saison

I like to think of Saison as the swiss army knife of beer. It is a rustic, Belgian farmhouse ale with spicy, peppery flavors and refreshing hop bitterness. Many brewers add various spices to the beer as well to increase the complexity. This style can pair well with virtually any food, but it has a special affinity for spicy acidic foods like this mustard sauce.

The mustard, herbs, and cayenne are easily matched by the complex, herb and spice characteristics of this beer style. While saisons are not sour beers, they do have a characteristic, refreshing tartness that matches the vinegar in the sauce and easily allows the beer to cut through the fat in whatever type of meat you put this sauce on.

Suggested Commercial Examples - Saison Dupont (classic hoppy saison), Fantome (excellent, creatively spiced saison)

Timothy Bisson

Pork Ribs

The Westmalle Dubbel and the pork ribs were great together. The sweetness in each met on common ground. The Dubbel added dark fruit (cherry and plum) flavors which melded nicely with the smoky, mustard flavor from the sauce. The fat and meat absorbed the sauce and beer very well to create happiness in my mouth.

Westmalle is a wonderful but pricy Dubbel. So on the East Coast you could get Allagash Dubbel and on the West Coast try North Coast’s Brother Thelonius.

I also tried Full Sail Amber with this but the ribs overpowered the malt and hops and only left a residual alcohol flavor behind.

Beef Short Ribs
Deschutes Black Butte Porter and the Beef Ribs were wonderful. Black Butte has some roasted malt, chocolate and smoky flavors. The mild smokiness came out for this pair and frolicked with the molasses, mustard and spices in the sauce. The robust beef flavors complemented the hop bitterness and other malt flavors exquisitely. A very tasty pairing indeed. If Black Butte is not available in your area, Sierra Nevada Porter or Stone’s Smoked Porter would pair well too.

I also tried Stone’s 11th Anniversary with the Beef Ribs. This beer is 8.7% ABV and full of hop aroma and bitterness. The hop bitterness and alcohol bowled over the tasty beef and BBQ sauce. Great brew but too big for the ribs.

Chicken Breast

The Grilled Chicken breast with the mustard sauce was great. The char on the meat flowed seamlessly into the sauce’s sweetness as did the Full Sail Amber. The caramel flavor from the malt wrapped itself tightly around the char of the chicken and the molasses in the sauce. The hop bitterness and the piny, citrusy hop flavor added complexity to the meal without detracting from the great BBQ flavor. Any hoppy American Amber will work with this sauce and chicken.

I’d also recommend American Brown Ale for this delicious dish. Bell’s Best Brown or Avery’s Ellie Brown would be at home comfortably. These Browns have some roasted and chocolate malt flavors that’ll gladly hold hands with the char and molasses while the hops dance pleasantly with the mustard.

I also tried the Ommegang Hennepin Saison with this. It was too citrusy of a saison to go well. It’s a great beer but an earthy saison would be needed for the smoke and dark sweetness the chicken brings.

The Rogue Dead Guy Ale did nicely with the brisket smothered in the mustard sauce. The Dead Guy Ale is a Maibock style with some peach flavors in the finish. The sweetness in the Dead Guy matched the honey and molasses sweetness left in the brisket. The peach finish added some good complexity to the tender and mustardy brisket. I think a more traditional Maibock like Einbecker Ur Mai Bock or a Traditional Bock like Aass Bock would do well with this dish too. It just needs to have a mildly sweet finish and not be overly hopped.

I also tried Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale and Ommegang’s Hennepin with this. The Celebration, an American IPA, was way too bitter and did not blend with or complement the flavors of the brisket. The Hennepin, a saison, was good with the brisket but it was great with the grilled zucchini that was served to accompany the brisket. The zucchini helped clean the palate between brisket bites and the Hennepin added some zest.

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