The flavors of beer can be introduced into grilled dishes at several different stages: marinades are used before grilling, mops are daubed on during cooking to add flavor, and sauces accompany the cooked dish at the table.
Beer-based marinades add flavor and moisture to all kinds of grilled foods, but more time spent marinating isn’t necessarily better. Some tender cuts of meat become mushy as the acid in the marinade breaks down texture. But a brine, with its salt, adds moisture to tougher cuts.
Mops are typically thinner in texture and contain more vinegar and spices than conventional barbeque sauces used to baste food as it cooks.
Beer-based sauces served with the cooked dish can accent the flavors of the grilled food. An important note about sauces: if a marinade is to double as a sauce at the table, it must be cooked for 15 minutes after any contact with raw shellfish, poultry or meat.
Brine and Beer-inade
From Chef Blyden, 21st Amendment Brewery Cafe, San Francisco.
2 cups favorite amber ale
4 ounces soy sauce
4 ounces chili paste (sambal)
4 ounces jerk seasoning
1/4 cup sugar
3 bay leaves
4 to 8 whole allspice corns
Juice of 1 lemon
Mix all ingredients together and use as a marinade or brining solution before grilling. Chef Blyden likes this on chicken and pork chops, but I like it best with brisket.
Jolly Beer Onions
Chef Scott McGlinchey prepares these onions just as his friend, Chef Al Jolly, did.
6 cups sliced yellow onions
1/2 stick butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup coarse ground spicy mustard
2 tablespoons brown mustard seeds
12 ounces amber ale
Optional: 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
Mix all ingredients in a large pot placed over medium heat. Cook and stir until golden brown. The onions will reduce as the sauce thickens. Serve over grilled bratwurst. Yields about 4 cups.
Porter Pork Paint
Yield: about 3 cups
1/2 cup butter
1 cup diced sweet onion
1/4 cup malt vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup barley malt extract
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons mild or hot paprika
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1 to 2 teaspoons white pepper
12 ounces porter
Mix all ingredients in a medium (2 quart) nonreactive saucepan and simmer 20 minutes. Puree with hand-held stick blender, or let cool and puree in a standard blender. Excellent on pork ribs.
Mocha Stout Mop
Yield: about 2 cups
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup diced onion
3 tablespoons corn oil
2 teaspoons black pepper
3 tablespoons chili powder (choose your own heat level)
2 tablespoons barley malt extract
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup espresso
12 ounces stout
Sauté onions and garlic in corn oil in medium nonreactive saucepan over low heat until caramelized, golden and soft. Add spices, extract and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer 4 minutes, stirring often. Add all remaining ingredients and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Good on steaks or beef ribs.
Ruby Ale BBQ Sauce
Yield: about 2 1/2 cups
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sweet onion, peeled and minced
2 to 3 large Anaheim chilies, seeded and chopped
1 to 2 medium red jalapeno chilies, seeded and chopped
3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup grapefruit juice with pulp (freshly squeezed is best)
10 ounces amber or red ale
Sauté onion and chilies in oil in medium nonreactive saucepan placed over medium-low heat. When soft and translucent, add all remaining ingredients, stir well and simmer 20 minutes. Puree with a hand-held stick blender or let cool, and puree in a standard blender. Taste and adjust seasonings. Works well with chicken.
Lambic Mango Sauce
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
1/3 cup malt or cider vinegar
1⁄2 cup pineapple juice
1 1⁄2 cups mango, peeled, seeded and chopped
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
Chili peppers such as jalapeño or arbol (to your taste; recipe tested with 5 jalapeños minced and seeded)
12 ounces raspberry ale
Decant ale and whisk it to let carbonation evaporate. While ale settles, puree all remaining ingredients in a blender. Place in a 2-quart nonreactive saucepan and simmer 20 minutes. Add ale and simmer 10 minutes more. Let cool for use as a marinade or basting sauce. Good on chicken or fish, or shellfish such as scallops on skewers with peppers.