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How to brine meat with beer

As grilling season heats up, let that cold pint pull double duty as a delicious beer marinade.
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Photo by Jess Suworoff for DRAFT

Photo by Jess Suworoff for DRAFT

A long soak in beer softens up even the toughest cuts of beef and helps tenderize both chicken and pork. Here’s which beers to use for each type of grill-bound meat:

CHICKEN: A beer brine is your best bet when cooking a whole chicken: White meat cooks quickly and is done well before the dark meat. Once that rich dark meat’s up to temperature, the pale parts will be dry and flaky. A good beer brine keeps white meat juicy and flavorful even while cooking far longer than it should.
Tip: Try a malty brown ale with nutty accent

PORK: Leaner cuts of pork, like the loin, are difficult to cook because there’s not enough fat to keep them tender; a beer brine ups the moisture. Braising fatty cuts, like pork shoulder, in a mixture of a rich chipotle porter and beef broth will give extra oomph to your pulled pork sandwiches.
Tip: Try a  pale ale with low bitterness for leaner cuts and a spicy or smoky porter for fatty ones

BEEF: Some of the most flavorful cuts of beef are also the cheapest because they tend to be on the tough side. Hanger steak and skirt steak can be unbelievably tasty, once you tackle the issue of texture: A good long soak in a beer marinade will render tender slabs that are grill-ready.
Tip: Try a roasty coffee or espresso stout

Up for a weekend cook-out? Try our recipe for grilled, porter-marinated flank steak.


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  • Allen says:

    Brine? I think maybe you mean marinade? But even a marinade is defined as an acid mixture that has been emulsified with an oil base..

    “Brine: A SALT-based solution that adds juiciness to proteins with a tendency to dry out on the grill”

    What we really have here is a BEER Soak. Which is still flavorful and delicious! Unless you forgot to mention that you need to mix the beer with salt in order to make it a brine…

  • Nate says:

    Spot on Allen!

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