5 Ways To Sneak More Beer Into Your Summer BBQ

Photo by Timothy Huynh.

Beer is the staple of summer. Whether you have it in a Michelada, a Shandy, or — you know — straight from the can, its ubiquity seems to scale evenly with the temperature. (Pass me another, will ya?) We know you’ll already have the cooler full at your summer BBQ, but just in case you need even more excuses to crack the cans, we’ve compiled a short list of our favorite, tried-and-true cooking-with-beer recipes. After the jump.

Beer Cheese

“Beer” and “cheese” are 90% of what’s happening to your stomach at any BBQ anyway, so mixing them together from the get-go just seems efficient, right? Foodie Joshua Bousler kicks this recipe up a notch by adding some Worcestershire, hot sauce, and Dijon mustard.

Recommend beer pairing: KelSo’s Nut Brown Lager. Its full malt flavor is robust enough to stand up to the creaminess of the cheese, while nicely mellowing the spicy mustard.

Short Ribs with Beer and Buckwheat Honey 

It’s pretty hard to mess up a braise, which is ideal when you’re using beer (because: with only 12 oz. in the recipe, what happens to the rest of the 6 pack?). It was a close tie between this and Mario Batali’s Short Ribs Braised With Chestnut Beer for our braising-with-beer champion, but the subtle sweetness of the buckwheat honey in Merrill Stubb’s recipe, above, is summer through-and-through.

Recommended beer pairing: Dogfish Head’s Indian Brown Ale, as recommended by the recipe’s author. It’s super hoppy, but with nice caramel undertones. The perfect balance of sweet and sour.

Three Bean Chili

You think you know chili, and we’re not doubting that you’re well-versed — but until you’ve dumped a bottle of smooth-tasting brew into your bubbling pot, you haven’t really tasted a good chili. The best part about this addition? It pleases veggies and carnivores alike. (PS. Sorry, gluten-frees.)

Recommended Beer: Lagunita’s PILS. You don’t want something too heavy (stout) and you don’t want something too light and hoppy (IPA), so shoot for the middle-ground: a nice, classic lager. If you can find it, New Glarus’ Stone Soup is another foolproof option. With spicy notes of clove and ginger, it will bring your beans — and your belly! — the nice kick they deserve.

Beer-Soaked Oven Fries

We’ve all heard of garlic fries. Sweet potato fries. Even avocado fries. But have you ever heard of a beer-soaked fry? I mean, one that you make on purpose, instead of after the second round of picklebacks, when your friend stands up too fast and upends the waitress’ tray into your bar snacks. Honestly, we’re not sure why these aren’t more widely available — the key tactical maneuver required in their creation is “waiting.” Be prepared to make second and third rounds of these, though. Consider yourself warned.

Recommended Beer: Blue Point’s Toasted Lager. The Beeroness recommends a pale ale, but this lager has (count ’em) six different malts. It was basically built for french fries.

Chocolate Beer Cheesecake With Pretzel Crust 

The name says it all. If you don’t want this, you aren’t human. Don’t tell guests in advance that you’re making it, because chances are high you’ll eat it all yourself while carrying it from kitchen to back patio. No biggie, happens to us all.

Recommended Beer: Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot, as recommended by the recipe’s author. She road tested four different craft brews before settling on this one, so we’re comfortable assuming it’s the best.