Saturday, September 27, 2008

Recipes and Tips for Cooking with Beer

After everyone from last night's poker game went home, I found myself left with a few half full (or half empty depending on how you look at it) beer cans and bottles. Having been raised by depression era parents and grandparents who never throw anything away, I tried to think of a way to put the brew to practical use (it's ingrained in me).

I had, conveniently, been looking for an excuse to smoke some ribs anyway. And so the somewhat flat beer found new life soaking wood chips for the long, slow cooking process.

The incident got me to thinking about the great beer and food I had years ago while researching a story for FabulousTravel.com on New Brunswick, one of Canada's maritime provinces. One of the benefits of being a food and travel writer is that you can often persuade restaurants to part with recipes for dishes you really like. And such was the case with the generous folks at Tapp's Brewpub and Steakhouse in downtown Saint John (pictured above).

The restaurant offers a respectable variety of microbrews along with hearty pub fare -- sandwiches and snacks (unfortunately, not much for vegetarians), with a few surprises thrown in for good measure. While steakhouse is in the place's name, the soups were a standout, along with one of the best chocolate pies I have ever tasted.

Much of the fare, like the Tapp's recipes published here, have beer as one of the ingredients. Even the aforementioned chocolate pie. Yes, you read that right. Chocolate pie made with beer. A hearty dark stout to be exact. The bitterness of the stout, mixes wonderfully with the richness of the chocolate. Give it a try, you won't be sorry!

Recipes from Tapp's Brewpub, Saint John, New Brunswick

Have Extra Beer -- Don't throw it out!
If you have an opened unfinished can or bottle of beer, don't thrown it out. Try one of these uses instead:

  • Use beer to soak wood chips before smoking meats, fish or veggies.
  • Beer can make a tasty addition to barbecue sauce.
  • Add extra beer to the liquid when cooking dried beans.
  • Use as a marinade ingredient for chicken or meats, mix beer with citrus juice, garlic, chile peppers, spices, and oil.
  • Use it when making bread, like at the recipe below for Cheri's Beer Cheese Bread.
  • Use in making a beer batter for fish, onions rings, or other vegetables (recipe link below).
If you have other suggestions for using small amounts of beer, please post them to the comments.

More Great Recipes Using Beer
  • Beer Can Chicken -- The whole chicken looks funny perched on its beer can throne, but the final product is a delicious, moist bird that's always a hit at cookouts.
  • Cheri's Beer Cheese Bread (pictured above) -- This tangy sesame encrusted loaf will disappear like magic as soon as you serve it, and the smell coming from your oven will draw everyone to the table.
  • Three Ingredient Beer Bread -- This recipe is one of the easiest you'll ever find. It uses packaged biscuit mix and is perfect with soups and salads, and even makes great toast for sandwiches.
  • Ultra-Hot Beer Wings -- This recipe is not for wimps! It is ultra-hot. Since beer is traditionally used to help put out culinary fires, we've incorporated it right into this recipe. It's still hot. Better have some cold brews at hand as well.
  • Ribs 'N Beer -- Fabulous barbecue -- ribs are marinated in beer then cooked long over low heat.
  • Steamed Clams with Beer and Bacon -- If you are simmering this dish on a beach, people will come from miles around just to discover what smells so good.
  • Clams Steamed in Ale -- Here's a fast and easy recipe from Williams-Sonoma.
  • Beer Batter for Fried Fish -- A great recipe when making British style Fish and Chips.
  • Dave Lieberman's Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes -- These cupcakes are light in texture, but heavy in the chocolate department.

3 comments:

Mrs. Tara said...

Cheri
For someone who doesn't drink (or even purchase for recipes) is there some things you can sub for wines? Just wondering.

Cheri Sicard said...

Yes, although these recipes are with beer, so I want to be sure we're not talking about the same thing.

You can often substitute a little chicken, meat, fish or vegetable stock for the wine in a recipe, depending on the type of dish you are making.

You can also think about using various juices. For instance, for red wine try substituting grape juice or even cranberry juice. Instead of white wine use white grape juice, apple juice, or even pineapple juice. Which juice you choose will depend on how the flavor will blend with the other ingredients you are cooking with.

Andy said...

Beer also has wonderful tenderizing properties, making it an excellent choice for a marinade for tougher cuts of meat. Baked goods using beer have a more moist texture and a longer shelf life.
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