What makes the best beef even better? Pairing it with the right beverage, of course! With so many good options, the hard part is choosing the right one.
First, I should clarify there is no one “right” choice when it comes to pairings. Everyone’s taste is subjective. My main goal, as a chef, is simply to find a way to enhance the dining experience – and there are a lot of ways to do that, no matter your budget or the occasion.
While you might have heard you would always want to pair red wine with great beef, beer lovers will be happy to know that their drink of choice often works just as well, if not better, with some summertime favorites.
Here are some tips on choosing the perfect pairing:
The food should not overpower the wine, and the wine should not overpower the food. Ideally, the pairing should complement one another – the food and wine together should be more enjoyable than either would be alone.
One obvious pairing is when a specific varietal wine is used in the preparation of the dish, such as in a reduction. If a particular wine is used in the dish, then it will complement the dish on its own as well.
Identify the “weights” of the food and the wine. Is a food’s body light and crisp, such as a salad, or robust and rich, like a well-marbled steak? “Lighter” foods pair better with light wines, and hearty foods pair better with full-bodied wines.
Red wines from light to heavy include: Pinot Noir, Merlot, Shiraz/Syrah, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.
If I'm cooking a filet mignon, which I consider to be a light and delicately flavored cut of beef, I’d probably pick a Pinot Noir or perhaps a Merlot, such as a Chateau Ste. Michelle 2009 Ethos Reserve Merlot.
However, if a ribeye or strip steak is on the menu – both of which are heartier, more robust-flavored steaks – I’d choose a Cabernet Sauvignon, such as a Chateau Ste. Michelle 2009 Canoe Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.
When matching beer with your favorite cut of beef, factor in the qualities of the cut and the cooking method to create a match made in heaven.
Again, a good rule of thumb to go with is that robust cuts, and those with more marbling, pair best with full-bodied beers. Leaner, “delicate” cuts go great with lighter beers.
Lagers are a great match for char-grilled beef. The lager offers maltiness with a hint of smoke, but it won’t overpower the beef flavor. I like to enjoy a Brooklyn Brewery Lager with a ribeye steak or brisket.
Stouts and Porters are full-bodied beers that really go well with braised meats with richly flavored sauces. These are especially great choice for fall and winter meals.
Pale Ales and Pilsners are perfect for tender, mild-flavored cuts of beef, such as the tenderloin, particularly when prepared on the grill. Try Brooklyn Brewery East India Pale Ale or Summer Ale with grilled top sirloin or filet mignon.
These beverages aren't just for sipping. Try this recipe and cook with beer!
Beer Marinated Grilled Flank Steak
2 pounds Certified Angus Beef ® flank steak (Learn more about this cut)
1 (12-ounce) bottle Guinness draught
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine Guinness, onion, garlic, and peppers in a zipper-locking plastic bag with beef. Marinate 6 to 8 hours in refrigerator.
2. Remove steak; discard marinade and season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat to desired doneness.
3. Let steak rest 5 minutes; slice thinly across grain and serve.
Fat: 10 g
Saturated Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 128 mg
Carbohydrate: 0 g
Dietary Fiber: 0 g
Protein: 39 g
Sodium: 151 mg
Iron: 21% of Daily Value
Looking for more recipes to inspire you? Visit our website at www.certifiedangusbeef.com and find the perfect summer meal!