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25 Ways to Use Beer


Oktoberfest may be over in Germany, but we’re continuing the celebration for the rest of the fall (and maybe even winter). Beer is a year-round beverage, and October’s crisp days are a perfect excuse for hoppy pumpkin ales in my house. Dip the rim of a frosted beer mug in a cinnamon-sugar mixture for a tasty presentation of your favorite pumpkin beer. But why leave all your beer in a glass when it is the perfect partner for all things hearty, like cheese, meat, marinades and stews? Sunday football bashes mean you’ll be braising, beer battering and mixing cocktails (like the Classy Ladies’ Beer-ly Legal Cocktail) all season long.

An ID is required for several of these recipes, but most of them are appropriate for all ages. Drink (and eat) up!

  1. Beer Can Chicken and its slightly larger cousin Beer Can Turkey are simple standbys that produce flavorful, moist meals every time: place beer can in poultry, roast, then feast. Fancy Beer Can Chicken with Cola Barbecue Sauce (pictured above) and Barbecue Beer Can Chicken are always options for the ambitious cook.
  2. Beer Braised Szechuan Chicken Wings are braised in beer and then deep-fried to perfection. This dish packs a punch, so if you need to take down the heat, skip the chiles.
  3. Chuck Hughes’ bread pudding-like Chocolate Stout Cakes recipe is super simple to put together and is a great way to use up day-old baguettes.
  4. Beer-Braised Brisket with Root Vegetables is the most comforting chilly Sunday dinner you could ask for.
  5. Mantis prawns are, as the name suggests, large shrimp-like creatures with praying mantis-like claws. The meat is similar to a lobster, but sweeter and more delicate. If you can’t find any mantis prawns at your local Asian market, you can substitute with langoustine, lobster or shrimp. Mantis Prawns Steamed in Beer: Bi Bi Hap Beer is a Vietnamese dish, but the prawns are also popular as a sushi topping in Japan and in dishes like paella and risotto in Mediterranean cuisines.
  6. Beer Braised Rabbit with Leek Rosti, a Swiss potato pancake, is a hearty hunter’s dish. If you can’t stomach the rabbit, substitute with chicken.
  7. Fish ‘n’ chips two ways: Bobby Deen’s healthy take on Beer Battered Fish and Roasted Fries and Bobby Flay’s Beer Batter Fish and Spicy Chips with Lemon-Habanero Tartar Sauce and Serrano Vinegar.
  8. Beer, ribs and the grill: What more could you want for the big game? Cook Jan Birnbaum’s New Orleans-Style Baby Back Beer Ribs low and slow for perfect, smoky fall-off-the-bone results.
  9. Rachael Ray’s recipe for Beer-Braised Chicken Thighs is a combination of veggies, chicken and andouille sausage brought together with beer (and a warm baguette for sopping up the sauce).
  10. Pigs Under a Blanket with Sofie Beer Cheese Sauce is a classic, big kids’ style: puff pastry-wrapped fresh chorizo topped with a beer cheese dipping sauce.
  11. Warm up with Bread Bacon and Beer Soup, which utilizes bread as a thickener (similar to gazpacho during the summer).
  12. Emeril’s Beer-Battered Fried Okra Stuffed with Crabmeat and a Spicy Green Onion Dipping Sauce is finger food at its finest.
  13. A shredded Beer Braised Beef Sandwich with Poutine combines all of the best snacks into one and will be an instant classic at your house. Poutine is a traditional Canadian snack of fries topped with gravy and cheese curds. This recipe swaps out the curds for Muenster for easy melting, but if you have them, the curds work just as well.
  14. A sweet take on the traditional beer batter: Fruit in Beer Batter.
  15. Coolhaus started as a lone architecturally savvy ice cream sandwich truck in Los Angeles and has since spread across the U.S. to cities like Austin, Miami and NYC. No Coolhaus near you? No problem. Whip up a batch of Coolhaus’ Guinness Chip Ice Cream nestled between two snickerdoodle cookies.
  16. Black Bean Mussels with Chinese Beer serves four as an appetizer or two as an entree. The black beans used here, douchi, are really fermented and salted soybeans, a popular seasoning in Chinese cuisine known for their salty-bitter-sweet flavor; they can be found in Asian specialty markets.
  17. During cocktail hour, Michael Symon pairs the refreshing Beer Mojito with briny Grilled Oysters to snack on.
  18. Beer Battered Green Beans are an almost universal side dish that goes with all kinds of entrees. I like to keep tempura mix (found at some grocery stores and specialty Asian markets) in my pantry at all times — you never know when you’re going to have to fry up some deliciousness. Avoid overmixing the batter; only mix until there are still a few lumps of flour left. Too much mixing will lead to a heavy batter.
  19. A lot of beer-themed dishes are heavy and involve lots of meat. Chuck switches it up with Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing and Spicy Beer Nuts. One bottle of beer is reduced by half and used for both the dressing and the sticky-spicy-sweet beer nuts.
  20. The yeast and carbonation of beer makes for light, fluffy (with a beautiful hoppy taste) baked goods. Bake your brews with Beer-Thyme Biscuits and Beer Bread.
  21. Laura Calder swaps out mashed potatoes for celery root (also known as celeriac) in her Beer Bird with Celeriac Puree recipe.
  22. Hair of the dog is an age-old hangover cure. Does it work? I’m not sure, but it can’t hurt (any more than you already do) to try out Bobby Flay’s Tomato Beer or Red Rooster and Ruddy Mary or Michael Symon’s Bloody Beer.
  23. Brining is a simple trick I like to use while cooking poultry (especially game birds). In its simplest form, a brine is composed of salt and water. You soak whatever you want to cook (meat, poultry, etc.) in the brine to create a moist, flavorful end result by increasing the amount of moisture in the meat. Emeril’s brine for his Beer-Brined Grilled Turkey Wings has a few more ingredients, but it achieves the same result.
  24. Rachael Ray’s Beer Braised Beef Meatballs utilize a lot of staple ingredients that are always hanging around the house: prepared horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, a bottle of ale and canned beef consomme.
  25. Sink the Biz Fries were born from a drinking game at Nick’s English Hut near Indiana University, so although they don’t technically have beer in them, they are the perfect accompaniment to a frosty mug of beer. How to play (you know you were curious): It starts with a pint glass (the biz) floating in a bucket of beer. The players then take turns pouring beer into the glass. Whoever sinks the biz, drinks the biz. Game over. Now give me my fries.

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