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Cooking with Beer: Berry Weiss Rib Marinade

June 18, 2015 Entrees, Menu No Comments

When purchasing a mixed case of beer, chances are that you will end up with a few bottles of a particular style that you may not find to be on your ‘favorites’ list. While giving away these unwanted bottles is always an easy option, I prefer to put them to a good alternative use…cooking with them! Heavier dark beers, such as porters, stouts and brown ales are good for winter time stews, soups and chili. Since we are currently in the summer season, which is highlighted by light beers and shandies, a good way to put these unfavorable bottles to use is by using them in a marinade.

Such was the case for me this past weekend, when I had a few extra bottles of a berry-flavored weissbier (a German-style white beer, also known as a wheat beer) on hand. I’m not a huge fan of fruity beers to begin with, and while I didn’t find this beer to be a total disappointment, it was still a bit too sweet and fruity for my preference. I did enjoy it a bit more with a meal than on its own, which made me think that it would be a good beer to use as a marinade. I immediately thought of using the marinade with ribs. I’ve used apple cider vinegar and cherry juice for other rib marinades, so I know that this would be a good use for the beer.

I found a basic beer marinade recipe and made a few adjustments to help better season the berry taste (adding some molasses for a slight sweetness and to add some body to the marinade, and some thyme, which is my favorite herb to use on ribs). I decided to use boneless country spare ribs for this recipe. I like the meatiness of country spare ribs and just find it easier to serve. My youngest daughter Ava also likes this style of pork ribs, so I knew that she would enjoy the dish as well. No worries, the alcohol does cook off when grilling! Any particular style of ribs would work well with this marinade.

After letting the ribs sit in the marinade fora good 6 hours, they were plenty tenderized and absorbed a good amount of the marinade flavoring. I cooked them on low-indirect heat for a good 45 minutes, brushing them with some reserved marinade. When fully cooked, the ribs had a beautiful, slightly sweet glaze on them. Just enough to give the perfect flavor without being too thick and saucy.

If you’re not a fan of ribs, you can also use this marinade on chicken. Just brush it on as you would with your favorite barbecue sauce.

Berry Weiss Rib Marinade

1 12-oz bottle Leinenkugel Berry Weiss Beer*
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3⁄4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tbspn dried thyme

1-2 lb boneless country spare ribs (5-10 pieces). You can use your favorite rack of ribs as well.**

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Set aside a little less than 1/4 of the mixture for basting. Pierce rib meat with a fork to allow marinade to penetrate and tenderize the meat. Place remaining marinade in a plastic baggie with the ribs. Make sure that all of the meat is evenly covered. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, up to 12 hours, flipping the bag occasionally.

Remove ribs from bag, discard used marinade. If you are using boneless country spare ribs, they may separate at this time, which again will make for easier cooking.

Pre-heat your grill on it’s highest setting. Once the grill is hot, set up an area where you can cook the ribs indirectly, meaning that they will not be sitting directly over heat. My grill is a three burner, so I turn my middle burner to the lowest setting and keep the two side burners at medium. I sit the meat over the middle burner, and try to keep the temperature at no higher than 350˚. Turn the ribs occasionally to allow even heating, brushing with the reserved marinade every time you turn them. Be sure to keep the lid closed otherwise. Cook until the meat reaches an internal temperature of at least 145˚. Remove from heat, let sit for about 3-5 minutes before serving. Crack open one of your favorite beers and enjoy!

*Although it was my choice, you do not have to use berry weiss beer for this marinade. Any medium-bodied beer will work well. A light beer may not give much flavor, and a heavy-bodied beer may taste too smokey.

** This marinade would also work well with chicken!

 

The ribs are placed in the middle of the grill over extremely low heat. The burner on both sides of the ribs are turned up to medium, to allow indirect heating.

The ribs are placed in the middle of the grill over extremely low heat. The burner on both sides of the ribs are turned up to medium, to allow indirect heating.

 

Be sure to brush the ribs with reserved marinade when turning the ribs, to allow for a nice and even coating.

Be sure to brush the ribs often with reserved marinade, to allow for a nice and even coating.

 

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Let cool for a few minutes after removing from the grill. Enjoy!

 

 

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Not Your Father’s Root Beer!

June 5, 2015 Dessert, Menu No Comments

As a person who enjoys a good beer, I always look forward to seeing what new brews are being offered each season. Now that we’re heading into the summer months, the light and crispy, citrusy and shandy-like beers will no doubt be the forerunners. But there also appears to be a new game in town…and it is not your father’s game. Or should I say it is Not Your Father’s Root Beer!

Classified as an herb/spiced beer, this 5.9% beverage from Small Town Brewery will no doubt be holding its own at many summer grill outs and get togethers this season. I first came across this brew at a family grill-out a few weeks back. My sister-in-law, who let me have a sip of hers, already declared it her most favorite beer ever. Just a few days later, the local Wegman’s was loaded with pallets of the brew, and a big crowd gathered around it, offering nothing but high praise. If you were to let your sense of taste and smell lead the way, you would swear that you were drinking root beer, and a tasty root beer at that. Aside from a slight bite at the finish, there is really not much of an alcohol taste to this brew at all. And that could be very dangerous for a beverage containing almost 6% alcohol (your average light beer usually has about 4.5% alcohol). If you’re really serious about getting a buzz, there is also a 10% version on the market. However, I don’t find it necessary to go with the high octane version for this particular brew. float

Before the craze gets too out of control over this brew, I figured I would offer up my simple suggestion on how to enjoy it even more, especially on a warm summer’s night. And all you need is soda glass or beer mug and a few scoops of vanilla ice cream. BOOM! Not Your Father’s Root Beer Float. By the time you read this post, chances are that you would have come across a similar recipe already shared via social media, because the NYFRB craze is quickly kicking in. However you decide to enjoy it, be sure to do so responsibly. Cheers to a happy summer!!!

 

 

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A Review of Harpoon Pumpkin Cider

September 6, 2013 Menu 1 Comment

We’ve reached that time of year again when the kids are back to school, the weather slowly starts to change, and all things are turning up pumpkin! While I look forward to and embrace the pumpkin foods, spices and scents that pop up each fall season (if you’re a regular follower of my blog, you know by now that I enjoy featuring pumpkin-related recipes come the autumn season), one thing that I am a bit overwhelmed by is the early release and wide variety of pumpkin-related beers. It seems that each year, the pumpkin spiced beers are hitting the shelves earlier and earlier. Each year also brings a wider variety of pumpkin, autumn and Octoberfest beers. Because these beers move so quickly off the shelves, I try to stay ahead of the game by stock-piling my favorites as early as possible. This year I found myself purchasing a few bottles as early as late July, storing them in my basement until the cooler weather approaches.

Although I do tend to stick to most of my fall favorites (Souther Tier Pumking, Long Trail Harvest, Hacker Pschorr Original Octoberfest, Sam Adams Octoberfest, Harvest Moon), I do like to sample some of the new seasonals that I come across. This year I found a bottle that really piqued my interest – Harpoon Pumpkin Cider. Described as a combination of their traditional cider and their spicy winter warmer, it sounded like the perfect fall offering. The label is also very clever, depicting an apple carved out like a jack-o-lantern. Being a sucker for all things pumpkin, and also being a fan of most other Harpoon brews, I couldn’t pass up on grabbing a six pack to keep on hand. Since the weather has been a bit more comfortable at nights, I decided to give this one an early seasonal tasting.

Gotta say…this one didn’t quite live up to my expectations. While there was a nice aroma of fresh pressed apples, I could hardly pick up any of the traditional pumpkin spices. What shocked me even more was the color of the cider once I poured it. I was expecting a rich, amber-like color, but instead found it to be a very pale golden yellow, almost champagne-like. The taste was also very light and crispy, again almost champagne-like. Not a bad taste, but not what I was expecting. And again, no hints whatsoever of pumpkin spices. Many of the usual pumpkin spices would work well with apple cider (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg), even if ‘pumpkin’ wasn’t part of the equation. Unfortunately, I could’t detect any of it. Instead I was left with the impression that I had a glass of a light and crisp, slightly tart champagne. Not necessarily a bad drink, just not at all what I hoped for.

Each year, I usually come across one dud out of the bunch. Last year was Blue Moon’s Caramel Apple Cider. This year, the dud apparently came right out of the gate. Hopefully I’ll be able to enjoy the remainder of my fall stash. Luckily I have a basement full of fall brews, and an entire season to enjoy them!

If you are interested in trying a Harpoon seasonal, skip this one and go for their Octoberfest or their UFO Pumpkin.

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Grilled Beer Soaked Honey Lime Chicken Breasts

June 6, 2013 Entrees, Menu No Comments

If you are a beer advocate and live in the Philadelphia area, you would know that Philly Beer Week is as celebrated as Christmas vacation. Philly Beer Week is once again upon us, and countless brewers and beer fanatics will be taking part in hundreds of special events and tastings throughout our entire city. Being that we are also now in prime grill-out season, I thought it would be fun to put together a dish for this week’s post that incorporates beer! After doing some fun research, I found a tasty recipe for chicken breasts marinated in a beer, lime and honey mixture. The original recipe also called for cilantro, although a few people who rated the original recipe felt that the cilantro wasn’t flavorful enough. They substituted the cilantro with other herbs and spices, such as thyme and coriander. I used my favorite go-to jar of Herbs de Provence. You can use whatever additional herbs and spices you prefer, and don’t be afraid to be liberal with the spices either! One 12oz can or bottle of light beer works fine for this recipe. If you have one of the summer light beers that are flavored with lime, all the better! Use the better beers that you have on hand as your drink of choice with this meal. With just 4 hours of marinating and 15 minutes of grilling, the chicken breasts were loaded with flavor in every bite. This dish will definitely be a regular part of my grilling menu this summer.

Grilled Beer Soaked Honey Lime Chicken Breasts
Inspired by the Beer Lime Chicken recipe at allrecipes.com

1 12oz bottle or can of light beer (lime-flavored light beer will also work well)
zest plus juice of 1 lime
1 tspn honey
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tbspn herbs (such as cilantro, thyme, coriander, Italian seasoning or Oregano)
1-1/2 tspn salt
1/2 pepper
4 single serve boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Mix the beer, lime juice and zest, honey, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. Place the chicken breasts in a container and pour the marinade over the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Preheat grill to medium heat, making sure to oil the grates. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding the remaining marinade. Grill the chicken approximately 7 minutes on each side, until juices run clear.

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