Friday, September 17

The Blarney Benefit of Beer

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Beer is a team player when it comes to blending well with others

Many of us are accustomed to cooking with wine and get a little secret satisfaction from the idea that we are pouring a little elegance into our soups, sauces and any number of well-known dishes.

Like wine, beer adds acid to a mixture, but the flavors that beer brings to your table are associated with comfort and heartiness. The strong flavor of beer is a great companion in dishes with meat and cheese. When baking, beer helps activate baking soda and can also add a layer of contrasting flavor to make the sweetness of grains “pop.”

Another fun fact: Beer can be substituted cup for cup for chicken stock — or any stock — in a recipe. Try some of these great recipes featuring beer, and join the team!

Beer Cheese Bread
  • 3¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ cups white Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Gruyere, shredded and divided
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1¼ cups dark beer
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, Cheddar, ¾cup of the Gruyere, parsley, baking powder, garlic, mustard powder, salt, cayenne and black pepper. Make a well in the center and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the beer, sour cream, Worcestershire and egg. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Divide the dough evenly between the prepared pans. Push down with a spatula to evenly spread the dough throughout the pans.
  3. Sprinkle the Parmesan and remaining Gruyere over the top of the dough, dividing each equally between the pans. Bake 35 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center of the loaves comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  4. Run a knife along the edges of each pan and flip the bread out onto the wire rack to cool completely. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Beer Can Creole Chicken
  • 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning or barbecue dry rub, divided
  • 1 (4-pound) whole chicken
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 (12-ounce) can full-flavored beer or cola
  1. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the seasoning or rub into the cavity of the chicken. Rub oil all over the outer skin. Pour ¾ cup of beer or cola out of the can and reserve for another use. With an ice pick, punch 2 additional holes in the top of the can.
  2. With a small funnel, add the remaining seasoning or rub to the drink can. Place the chicken upright onto the can, fitting the can into the cavity. Pull the legs forward to stand upright.
  3. Prepare the grill to medium heat on one side only. Place a drip pan on the unlit side under the grate. Place the chicken on the grate over the drip pan. Cover and grill 1 hour or until golden brown. Check with an instant-read meat thermometer to make sure the chicken is completely done (inserted in the thigh, not touching the bone, the thermometer should register 180 degrees).
  4. Let the chicken rest at least 5 minutes before carefully removing the can. Carve and serve warm.
Sweet Potato Pancakes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 medium sweet potato, cooked and mashed (⅔ cup)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1¼ cups beer, room temperature
  1. Coat a griddle with cooking spray and place over medium high heat. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. Set aside. In a separate bowl, stir together the sweet potatoes, butter, egg and beer. Stir until well blended and add to the dry ingredients. Combine well. Working in batches, place 2 heaping tablespoons of batter on the griddle. Cook until the bottom is browned and tiny bubbles form along the edges, around 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook another 3 to 5 minutes or until evenly browned. Serve warm.
Oven Polenta
  • 1 cup polenta
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup beer
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees with the rack positioned in the lower half of the oven. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Place the polenta and salt in a 2-quart oven-safe casserole dish and whisk in the beer until smooth. Whisk in the boiling water until the polenta is smooth. Cover the dish with a tight-fitting lid or foil and place in the oven to cook for 1½ to 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. When the polenta is swelled, glossy and pulls away from the sides of the pan when stirred, remove it from the oven and stir in the butter and Parmesan. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.
Beer Braised Pork
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 (6-pound) bone-in pork butt
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle dark beer
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • Barbecue sauce of your choice or recipe that follows
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the chili powder, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, mustard and coriander. Rub all over the pork butt. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate up to 8 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Unwrap the pork and place in a greased roasting pan with sides about 2 inches high. Cook 45 minutes or until browned. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Pour the beer over the pork. Place the garlic and shallots around the sides. Cover with aluminum foil and poke several holes in the top of the foil. Cook 3 hours or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 195 degrees and pulls apart easily. Pull apart with tongs and discard any large pieces of fat. Transfer the meat to a large bowl and drizzle with your favorite barbecue sauce or the Beer Barbecue Sauce recipe below. Toss to evenly coat, and serve warm.
Beer Barbecue Sauce
  • 7 ounces dark beer
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the beer, lime juice, vinegar, oil, hot sauce, pepper, salt, chili powder and garlic. Stir until the foam from the beer disappears. Use immediately or refrigerate for later use.
Tammy Algood develops recipes for The Tennessee Magazine that feature farm-fresh Tennessee food. Those fresh, local ingredients will always add cleaner, more flavorful foods to your table. We recommend visiting local farms and farmers markets to find the freshest seasonal produce.


Beer facts

Water quality is key in beer making because it makes up the majority of the volume.

As a general rule, the darker the color, the more intense the flavor.

Light-colored beers generally blend well with most other ingredients, so if you aren’t sure what kind to use, select one with a light color.

Beers labeled “light” have fewer calories and less alcohol.

If you don’t like the flavor of a certain beer, chances are you won’t like the flavor it lends to foods.

Beer contains yeast, which makes it ideal for bread baking. It will also swell batters when frying foods.

Once the beer is opened, it should be used as soon as possible.

ASK Chef Tammy

Email your cooking questions to Tammy Algood:

Maria would like to know if pickle relish is a good substitute for chow-chow.

Maria, you could make the substitution, but the flavor is going to be very different. Both are considered relishes in the technical sense, but chow-chow is mustard-flavored. It can also have mixed vegetables included such as sweet peppers, cauliflower, onions or zucchini. And don’t get it confused with piccalilli relish that also is made from mixed pickled vegetables, but instead of a mustard flavor, it is highly spiced.

Rick grew up enjoying olallieberry jam and wondered if the fruit is grown here.

Rick, it is primarily grown on the West Coast and isn’t grown for commercial purposes here in Tennessee. The berry is delicious. I have only had it once, and it looks very much like a large blackberry. Olallieberries are a cross between loganberries and youngberries.

Gail writes, “How can I stop the ripening process of fresh pears? I have several, and they are getting too soft before I will use them.”

Gail, place them in the refrigerator crisper drawer. Cold temperatures significantly slow down the ripening process. If you ever have the opposite problem of the pears not ripening quickly enough, place them in a closed paper bag for a couple of days.


About Author

Tammy Algood develops for The Tennessee Magazine recipes that feature farm-fresh Tennessee food. Those fresh, local ingredients will always add cleaner, more flavorful foods to your table. We recommend visiting local farms and farmers markets to find the freshest seasonal produce. For more information about our recipes, contact Algood at

Comments are closed.