11 Ways To Cook With Beer
The party’s over, and after surveying the damage – cigarette burns in the carpet, empties floating in the pool, broken glass shimmering in the dawn’s early light and, what’s that?, there’s a guy you don’t even know sleeping on your couch! – you notice that your guests have been stunt-drinking, leaving half drunk beer everywhere.
Now is there anything more unforgivable than wasting beer? And do not be tempted to save those poor casualties, instead pour the stuff straight down the drain. There’s no saving it. Now, all those other beers, the still full brews in the now lukewarm water in the cooler-box, those you can still use, even if you’ve sworn to never drink again.
How so? You’re going to make like The Taproom’s new chef, Roxanne, and cook with beer!
Hair Of The Dog Breakfast
Here’s a way to get back on the wagon without actually drinking anything – beer infused waffles and pancakes! These are your best bet and a heady mix of sweet and savoury flavours. Simply beat butter, buttermilk, and stout until warm. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and your preferred spices — maybe cinnamon, cardamom, or nutmeg. Separately, beat eggs and whisk with vanilla. Slowly whisk the beer mixture into the egg mixture, then combine the dry ingredients with the liquid until only slightly lumpy. Pour a thin layer onto a buttered waffle iron to make waffles or onto a griddle to make pancakes.
Beer Can Chicken
First, dry-rub your chicken simply with salt and pepper or the spices of your choice. Then, spill out (or drink) half the contents of a beer can, and place the can inside the chicken cavity — so that your chicken is sitting right on top of it — and grill it with the lid closed. The beer makes for extra-juicy chicken, and the rub makes for a flavorful skin.
Season your meat — chicken, short ribs, brisket, whatever’s good — with salt, pepper, and the spices of your choosing — and brown it in a large pan. Once it’s browned on all sides, take it out, pour out some of the fat, and toss in some onion and garlic until they lightly caramelize. Stir in herbs — maybe thyme, sage, or rosemary — and beer (preferably a brown ale) to make the sauce. Return the meat to the pan, coat with the sauce, and bring the sauce to a simmer. If you’re making chicken, let the chicken simmer on the stovetop until it cooks through. If you’re making short ribs, throw the pan in the oven for a couple hours until the meat is pull-apart tender. The beer will ensure that the meat stays moist inside and out.
Find a white, flaky fish to lightly coat in flour, then bathe it in a batter of light beer, flour, and salt, and fry it in oil until it’s golden brown. The carbonation in the beer will add body and lightness to the batter.
The easiest way to prepare mussels is to steam them. In a large saucepan, soften some aromatics, like onions, garlic, leeks, and fennel. Add any vegetables, potatoes, or meats, and cook them almost all the way through. Add herbs. Pour in your beer — an IPA works well here — let it gurgle for a little while, then add your mussels, and cover the pot. You can tell that they’ve finished cooking when they’ve opened up. Dunk some crusty bread into the oceany beer broth and feast.
Brining your meat with beer hydrates it, keeping it moist inside and out; it also infuses it with sweet, malty, hoppy flavors, and gives it a butter-soft texture. Leaner meats, like poultry breasts and pork chops, are commonly brined because they lack the fat that provides other types of meat with flavor and moisture. Use equal parts water and beer (try a brown ale here), a generous amount of salt, and the aromatics of your choice — smashed garlic, peppercorns, thyme, bay leaves, and citrus are all good choices. Leave your meat in the brine for about one hour per pound, then take it out, pat it dry, and let it dry uncovered in the fridge for a few hours, if you have the time. After that, you can just roast it in the oven. The brine does all the heavy lifting for you.
Create a sweet, malty loaf of bread in just a few easy steps. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Pour in your beer, let the dry ingredients absorb the beer, pour the mixture into a pan, drizzle butter over it, and bake. Customize your loaf by adding whatever flavors you like to the dry ingredients — perhaps garlic, Parmesan, and rosemary or malt syrup, olive oil, honey, and rosemary.
You can mix beer into almost any cake batter, but we think it goes best with chocolate. Make a heady chocolate cake using the darkest beer at your disposal. Alternatively, you can mix beer into a batter with cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and dry mustard to make a gingerbread bundt cake.
Beer can help you release all the brown bits from whatever meat you were searing in your pan — be it beef, chicken, lamb, or pork. Add the herbs of your choice to the pan and deglaze with beer. From there, you can add stock, if you’d like, and reduce the liquid by half to create a deep, complex sauce for your protein.
Soup or Stew
You can add beer to virtually any stock — beef, veal, vegetable, chicken — to add a little boozy kick. Add a dark ale and caramelized onions to beef — or vegetable — stock to make French onion soup. For a meaty stew, layer your vegetables in a large pot, nest your meat — we suggest lamb — on top of them, add your herbs, and pour chicken stock and a beer over everything. Cover and cook it for a few hours, letting the beer do its flavor-infusing, meat-softening magic.
Think you can get back into drinking, but a bit hesitant to jump right in again? A shandy isn’t something we’d ever order in front of our mates, but they can be refreshing. It’s easy, one part beer to one part lemonade in a tall glass full of ice. And then if you like a Bloody Mary, you’ll love a Michelada, which is great with a light beer, Tabasco sauce, Tomato juic and a squeeze of lime. Sweet tooth? Turn your beer into a desert and make a beer float, perfect when using a darker stout type beer and vanilla ice cream.