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Cooking with Beer

This Father’s Day, let dad kick back with a cold one while you cook up some delicious dishes with a secret ingredient: beer! Believe it or not, a cold bubbly beer can do a lot more than just fill a mug. It complements plenty of great dishes and can be used in place of other liquids to add character, depth and that certain little “zesty something.” When I was growing up, no one in my family drank beer so cooking with it was not ever considered. As I got older, I always thought beer was simply for drinking. You opened the bottle and guzzled it down. It wasn’t until I met my German friend, Chalid, that I realized beer had a greater purpose in life. It had a deeper meaning! You may be familiar with “beer batter” for a variety of fried foods, but did you know you can kick it up a healthier notch and use beer in just about any savory recipe that calls for water, broth, wine or other cooking liquid? Don’t be afraid to experiment! Just replace some or all of the liquid with your favorite brew. Here are some ways to get creative with beer this summer:
  • Use it for braising and poaching meats. Try this recipe for Beer Poached Grilled Sausages.
  • Add it to marinades, sauces and gravies.
  • If it’s ribs you’re cooking, try a chocolate stout in the sauce.
  • Bake bread with beer, then break bread with a cold one! (Say that really fast!)
  • Use a bit in your stir-fry.
  • Slow roasting a brisket with beer really brings out the flavors, as in this recipe for Lou Lambert's Coffee-Rubbed Roasted Brisket.
  • Add it to your brine with herbs, spices and wine. Great with beef, lamb, pork and poultry!
  • Add beer to BBQ sauce. If you’re cooking up a spicy dish, try a light hops or a pale ale. Here’s a Cranberry BBQ Sauce you can make substituting some of the broth with beer.
  • Move over wine! Deglaze your pan with beer.
  • Add it to chili – try a dark stout for this. Try this recipe for Seafood Chili Blanco or this recipe for Touchdown Turkey Chili .
  • Make soup with beer. We did just that with this recipe for Borough Market Cheddar Soup.
  • Beer is unbelievably great in stew! You will love this recipe for Beer Braised Beef Stew with Brussels Sprouts and this recipe for Beef and Beer Stew with Parsnips.  And, don’t forget this recipe for Bottle o' Beer Beef Stew with Fire-Roasted Tomatoes.
  • If chicken’s on the menu, whether you’re smoking, grilling or roasting in the oven, try the beer-can method for tender, juicy, out-of-this-world chicken: Cut the top off ½ can of any favorite beer and set the cavity of the chicken over it. Secure the chicken really well and cook as usual. Get creative: Add spices, herbs and seasonings to the beer. Think: garlic, onions, peppers, cumin, and fresh herbs such as thyme or rosemary.
  • Don’t enjoy beer because you can’t have gluten? Not a problem anymore! Check out our gluten-free beer selection.
Be sure to put some thought into what sort of beer you want to use. For good advice, head over to the Beer and Wine Department at your local Whole Foods Market where you’ll find a fabulous selection in every color and style*. If you’re not sure what to pair with what, ask a team member. They are happy to help. *Unfortunately for some of you, the long arm of the law prohibits us from selling beer in some of our stores. See which stores can here. Got a bias for beer or a favorite recipe? Let me know!

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Jim says …

Great post! I am so pumped for Father's Day... It is our biggest beer and grill day of the year! I will be breaking out some of these new recipes.

Janet Vandenabeele says …

I recently cooked up some fresh-made brats in the crock pot with a bottle of beer and onions. They were amazing. The most amazing flavor and texture to the meat.

Amy says …

Would love a good beer batter recipe.

Bar Supplies says …

My mom makes a great beer bread, its just the best! I have never tried to make it myself though. We normally precook our brats in beer for the most part but the beer soaked chicken sounds most wonderful.

Carmen says …

I always make my St. Patty's Day brisket with beer...it's delicious and tender!

Jerri says …

My husband loves beer soaked chicken thighs. You can see pics & the recipe here - http://www.cooking4carnivores.com/2011/03/99-bottles-of-beer-on-wall.html

karolyne says …

I m lookling for a bread recipe made with beer.

Bobby H says …

@karolyne: Here is a link for our recipes website you should be able to find what you are looking for in there. Thank you for you question and have a good day. http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/

Carol Spring says …

along with that Sausage recipe or any other - i use whatever beer i have in the house or a darkish beer to saute sweet or yellow onions that i've sliced thinly and started in a bit of extra virgin olive oil and a very small bit of butter. the mix of butter and evoo together allows the oils not to burn b4 adding the onion. then once the onion goes in it can caramelize. i add a bit of salt and pepper as its cooking. when the onion is starting to get a med caramel color, i add a 1/4 - 1/2 cup of the beer or more depending on how much onion i've cut. enough to toss and coat all the onion well and leave liquid in the pan that eventually mostly boils out. then let the onion come bk to a richer caramel color. soooooo good and it cooks up to a sweet/savory topper for a sausage sandwich. mmmm.