Cooking With Beer
Three Recipes to Add to Your FirePit Cookbook That Share One Common Ingredient: Beer.
When we’re grilling, we usually have a pair of tongs in one hand and a beer in the other. From there, it doesn’t take us very long before we start thinking up ways to combine the two.
Beer is a great ingredient to cook with, especially for backyard grilling. Not only is it something commonly on hand, but it’s loaded with flavor. Just as you might use chicken, beef, or vegetable stock to enhance a recipe, similarly, beer can add a ton of flavor to whatever you’re cooking. Ales offer a toasty and malty profile, while stouts and porters can be nutty and somewhat sweet. Even the hop-forward profile of an IPA can bring a bright, floral bitterness to a recipe.
Being a liquid, beer is particularly useful for building rich sauces and marinades. When cooked, nearly all of the alcohol is burned off. However, most of the beer’s flavor profile is left behind.
Using BioLite’s brand new FirePit and a couple of Red Hook Brewing’s signature beers, we developed three grilling recipes that have beer as a central ingredient. So if you want to learn how to start cooking with beer, this is a perfect place to start.
The two beers we used:
- ESB (Extra Special Bitter) Despite it's name, the ESB isn't actually bitter at all (IBU 28). It's malty and sweet. When cooked, the malty notes really come out.
- Big Ballard Imperial IPA - Crisp, bright, and bitter (IBU 66), the Big Ballard has an assertive hop characteristic. When cooked the bitterness is accentuated even further.
We cooked up three different recipes to show the variety of glazes, marinades, and sauces you can whip up with beer.
IIPA Teriyaki Tempeh Skewers
These sweet and tangy Teriyaki Skewers are a great vegetarian BBQ option. If you’re in a rush, you can obviously use store-bought Teriyaki sauce, but we’ve included our DIY recipe that includes a few healthy splashes of beer. Since the sauce is already sweet, we went with an IPA to add some brightness.
At first we thought of doing this as a marinade, but since tempeh is so dense it doesn’t soak up much liquid, so instead we decided to do it as a glaze. By brushing the teriyaki sauce on while it’s over the coals, the sauce is “baked”. We recommend getting in as many coats as you can before it gets too toasty.
- 1/4 cup IPA
- 3 Tbsp Soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp Mirin
- 1 tsp Toasted sesame oil
- 2 Cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp Minced ginger
- 8 oz Tempeh, cut into 8 pieces
- 8 oz Pineapple, cut into chunks
- 4 Green onions, cut into 1'' pieces
- If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before cooking to ensure they don’t burn on the grill. You can skip this step by using metal skewers.
- Prep your grill by placing the FirePit Fuel Rack in the upper position. Lay down a bed of coals. For this recipe, you’ll want to create two heat zones - low and high, so create a larger bed on one side and a smaller bed on the other, then light the coals. The coals are ready when they begin to turn grey and ashy.
- In the meantime, build your skewers by alternating ingredients onto the skewers - green onion, tempeh, green onion, pineapple, etc. We made 4 skewers using the above amounts but you can stretch it to 6 or 8 by cutting the tempeh into smaller pieces (but not too small or they will crumble as you thread them onto the skewers). Set aside.
- Once the grill is ready, place all the teriyaki sauce ingredients in a small pot, stir, and place over the high heat side of grill. Bring to a lively simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce begins to reduce and thicken. Move to the cooler side of the grill. Alternatively, the sauce can be made ahead of time and kept in a sealable jar and simply heated up on the grill.
- Place the skewers on the hotter side of the grill. Brush the sauce onto the skewers and then flip after a minute. Continue brushing the skewers and flipping every minute or so and rotating the skewers as needed until the tempeh is cooked through, 5-10 minutes.
- Remove from the grill and serve.
See this recipe in action
Grilled Skirt Steak with ESB BBQ Sauce
Skirt steaks are one of the fastest and easiest cuts of beef to grill. Despite being a relatively thin cut of meat, it has a lot of great fat marbling which produces a ton of flavor. This marbling is also why it’s best cooked skirt steaks to medium-rare (medium if you must), to prevent them from getting too tough.
We used the sweet maltiness of the ESB to help build the flavors in our barbecue sauce. Similar to the Teriyaki Sauce in the previous recipe, we simmered our BBQ sauce on the side of the grill and used a brush to coat once the meat was one the grill. Over medium-high heat, we were able to get a few coats on both sides in before we had to take it off. But that extra sauce didn’t go to waste, we used it for dipping later!
ESB BBQ Sauce
- 1 Cup ESB Beer
- 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Tomato Paste (About 1/2 of a 6 oz can)
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce or Liquid Aminos
- 1 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning
- 2 Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/8 tsp Cayenne (optional)
- 1-1 1/2 Pound Skirt Steak
- Salt & Pepper
- Prep your grill by placing the FirePit's fuel rack in the upper position. Lay down a bed of coals. For this recipe, you’ll want to create two heat zones - low and high, so create a larger bed on one side and a smaller bed on the other, then light the coals. The coals are ready when they begin to turn grey and ashy.
- Place all the BBQ Sauce ingredients in a small pot, stir, and place over the high heat side of grill. Bring to a lively simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce begins to reduce and thicken. Move to the cooler side of the grill. Alternatively, the sauce can be made ahead of time and kept in a sealable jar and simply heat up on the grill.
- At this point, check the temperature on the higher heat side of the grill. You’ll want to cook the steak at a pretty high heat, so if it’s feeling a little cool, add a few fresh coals.
- Season the steak with salt and pepper, the lay the steak down on the grill. Grill on one side for 3 minutes, then brush with the BBQ sauce and flip. Grill this side for about 3 minutes, brush with sauce, then flip again and cook for a minute more. If you like your steak cooked through a little more, keep brushing with sauce and flipping every 30 seconds or so until it’s cooked to your liking - but try not to cook it past medium!
- Remove the steak from the heat and rest for a few minutes before slicing it against the grain into ¼ inch slices. Serve with any leftover sauce.
Citrus & IIPA Marinated Chicken Kebabs
These citrus marinated chicken kebabs taste like pure summer. We used orange and lime juice with a splash of the IPA to build a bold and bright marinade. Due to the high acidity, you only want to marinade this for about 30 minutes, otherwise - just like ceviche - it will start to cook itself!
Once on the grill, the key is to rotate the skewers around to ensure they’re getting evenly cooked from all sides. Sometimes that means rotating the center skewers out and the outer skewers towards the center. We used chicken thigh meat, which retain moisture longer than breast meat. This way we can leave them on long enough to get that blackened char on the outside. Some people call it slightly burnt, we call it delicious.
- 1/2 Cup IPA
- 1/2 Orange, Juiced
- 2 Limes, Juiced
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro
- 1 Tbsp Honey
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 lbs Chicken Thighs, Cut into 1'' pieces
- 1 Red Onion, Cut Into 1'' pieces
- Add all the marinade ingredients to a zip top bag, seal, and shake to combine. Add the chicken to the bag, seal, then shake again to ensure the chicken is evenly coated. Place in a fridge or cooler for about 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, soak your wooden skewers in water so they don’t burn on the grill (or skip this step by using metal skewers!).
- Prep your FirePit by placing the coal rack in the upper position. Lay down a bed of coals and light. The coals are ready when they begin to turn grey and ashy.
- Once the chicken is done marinating, build your skewers, alternating chicken and red onion. We made 6 skewers using the above amounts, but you could stretch it to 8 if you don’t pack the ingredients as tightly.
- Once your coals are ready, slide the grill grate into place and lay down the skewers. Turn them every few minutes until cooked through to 165F, 8-10 minutes.
- Remove from the grill and serve.