My Love Affair: Grilling And Beer

 My Love Affair: Grilling And Beer

I love to grill, and I love beer.  Thankfully, the two go hand in hand.  Literally.

I don’t know if it’s a Pavlovian response, or just in my genes, but when I’m getting ready to fire up the grill, the kettle lid isn’t the only thing I'm cracking open.  As the grillographer for Weber Nation, I already have a fairly strange ritual when it comes to grilling.  Sure, I have to get the food ready, but I also have to think about my camera and lighting.  Add in the “beer of the evening,” and my checklist doubles.  The beer needs its time in front of the lens too.  There’s a reason my wife, Zoë, refers to dinners as “a production."

There are two ways I look at beer.  What goes great with dinner and what goes great in dinner.  Not only is beer a great accompaniment to a great meal, it is great in a meal.  Cooking with beer does not simply mean beer can chicken.   

While beer can chicken is great, I love to use beer as an ingredient.  Often, when beer is not an ingredient, but another liquid is, I will look to replace it with beer.  

Yes, as I mentioned, this is love!

One of the easiest ways I add beer to dinner is when I "grill" chili.  

The style of beer goes a long way to lending its flavor to the finished dish.  Sure, a bottle of fizzy yellow lager fills the “beer” category, but it does nothing to the final meal.  Big ales, like stouts, or even lightly hopped and malty lagers, like marzens, give the dish an extra punch.  The difference is often profound.

I suppose part of my love of beer goes to the love of the craft.  As a homebrewer for well over a decade, I have an understanding, and respect, for the mission brewers all over the world undergo to make great beer.  Of course, when I get together with my “backyard brewing society,” we do not always make great beer.  

Nonetheless, we have a great time making it.  It is the pursuit that makes it fun.  Much like grilling, it’s not the destination, but the spirit of the journey.

I suppose in simplest terms, grilling and beer collide because we are making something out of “nothing.”  Malted barley plus water, hops, yeast, and time equals beer.  A pork shoulder plus low heat, smoke, and time equals bbq.  The two are simpatico.

My beer at the grill is often my “finish line” after a long day.  A great beer is complex and interesting, the same, as I hope, for my grilled dinners.

Cheers!

What are your thoughts? (3)

12.31.14

Mark J

Home Brewers & Beer Grillers Unite!
Thanks for the information & inspiration. I have been brewing, grilling, cooking & baking with beer for years. For some reason I thought I was crazy or alone out there.
Beer is a wonderful ingredient, as versatile as different while wines, I enjoy choosing a beer flavor & stoutness to match the meal,, whether adding to the recipe or the chef, it's more fun than grilling alone!

12.31.14

Mike Lang

Hi Mark!

Thanks so much, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Your rally cry is right on!

You are certainly far from alone and your points are spot on. I could not agree with you more, especially when it comes to adding beer "to the chef!"

Cheers, my friend!

Mike

12.27.14

Ryan L

Although I am not a brewer, I do consider myself a connoisseur. I use beer to keep my meat moist, add flavor to a pot of grilled chili, to increase the humidity levels of a long smoking effort, and to keep my whistle wet. Great article.

12.27.14

Mike Lang

Hi Ryan - Thanks so much for your comments, I really appreciate it! It shoulds like we are completely in step. Beer can add so much and yes, wetting the whistle is one of the best! Cheers!

Mike

12.16.14

Dwain P

Great article! I am also a home brewer. My favorite thing it to smoke something while I am brewing so it is ready to eat after the brew day is done. Using my homebrew as an ingredient is also special when grilling.

12.16.14

Mike Lang

Hi Dwain! Thanks so much! I like your plan! Nothing is more rewarding after a Brew Day than having something off of the grill or smoker. Of course with all of that beer, I've learned to serve food at the beginning and end of the day. The quality of my batch usually insists on it! ;) Cheers...and grill on!

Mike

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