Clever Drink Pairings for Your Next BBQ
The USA might as well officially be renamed the United States of Barbecue judging by the fact that more than 75% of American adults own a griller or smoker (or both). Every barbecuer worth his salt will tell you that the success of a BBQ depends on a few things: good food, good company, and plentiful drinks. While a lot of thought generally goes into picking the perfect meat and side-dish combinations, not much consideration is given to drink choices. Beer and soda may be a given at any BBQ but did you know that wine pairs perfectly well with many BBQ dishes? Here’s a closer look at what drinks to consider for your next all-American backyard BBQ.
Beer remains a barbeque staple
Beer has always been the obvious drink to serve at a BBQ but did you know that certain beers pair better with certain meats? If you have pork on the BBQ, a bright, dry beer will taste best as it will cut through the salty fat of the meat. If you have Texan steak or spicy buffalo wings on the menu a smooth beer with a sweet malt aftertaste, such as Shiner Bock, will do well to complement the heat of the meat. If your steak or burger marinade is tomato-based, a beer with a bitter edge such a Guinness Stout will emphasize the tomato flavor while blending beautifully with the natural salty taste of red meat. If you aren’t fussy about pairing your food with your drinks, cracking open a bottle of Bud Lite or Coors will more than suffice in keeping your thirst quenched while working your magic behind the grill. The US craft beer market has exploded over recent years, delivering a range of superb brews. If your palate prefers something a little less-commercial than your standard Stout, why not tap into a Founders All Day IPA or a New Belgium Fat Tire instead?
You can wine & dine at a BBQ
While wine might seem like an unlikely drink to be served at a BBQ, it actually could turn out to be a very popular choice. When deciding on what wine will pair best with your food you need to consider what type of meat will be served. White wines are naturally suited to grilled chicken, fish and even some pork recipes, while sparkling wine pairs remarkably well with any grilled food. When it comes to red wine, the pairings are a bit more intricate. When you are grilling pork or salmon opt for a Pinot Noir to balance the rich flavors. If you are dishing up steaks, ribs and burgers, pair them with big, bold red wines such as shiraz, cabernet or Bordeaux. Surprisingly enough, a vibrant Rose is extremely versatile and pairs well with just about any food.
Don’t forget some soda
We have all heard of wine pairing and beer pairing but what about soda pairing? At every BBQ there is bound to be at least one or two guests that don’t drink alcohol. Instead of just making a jug of grandma’s trusted punch, why not put a bit of thought into it and come up with some superb soda and meat pairings. If you are grilling steaks, Coke (or Pepsi) is an absolute must as the rich, caramel undertones of cola pairs extremely well with red meat. Lemonade and homemade ice teas generally go well with all types of grilled meat and their side dishes and can also easily be converted into delicious cocktails for those you want a drink with a bit of a kick. If you want something a bit more fancy than a can of soda or jug of tea, why not get creative and make your own sensational summery drink? Basil-lemon mojitos are all the craze right now and are the perfect complement to any grill-side meal. Alternatively, you can whip out your blender and make deliciously icy fruit & lemonade mocktails for your guests.
The above guidelines are merely recommendations that could assist you in coming with some stellar combinations at your next BBQ. At the end of the day, food and drink pairings are extremely subjective. If you want to drink a double-thick chocolate milkshake with your grilled salmon or enjoy a glass of red with your fish there is no rule book in existence that says you can’t. As long as the food is good and the company even better, your guests will leave with full stomachs and happy hearts regardless of what drinks were served with their