Beer doesn't play a huge role in my everyday life. When the weather's hot, I'll share one with friends in the backyard, and when we go out for Mexican or Indian food, I generally order beer. But recently while traveling in New Jersey, I started to think about beer quite a bit. It seemed that lots of restaurants, family, and friends were cooking with beer. From chicken to kabobs to grainy baguettes, I noticed it everywhere.
There are a lot of reasons people bake and cook with beer. I think first and foremost is the flavor: beer contains hops and malt, so it imparts a very subtle sweetness that compliments pork and chicken dishes nicely. A lot of cooks say that the yeast in beer also makes baked goods lighter and springier. From salad dressing to caramels and bread, we have a few great places to start experimenting with beer in the kitchen.
Try a Recipe:
• Blackened Beer-Brined Chicken Breasts (as pictured), via Emma Christensen for The Kitchn
• Orange and Ale Vinaigrette, via The Bitten Word
• Cheddar Beer Dip with Smoked Sausage, via CHOW
• Beer-Poached Grilled Sausages, via Whole Foods Market
• Beer-Brined Grilled Pork Chops, via Epicurious
• Soft Pretzels, via Martha Stewart
• Beer Bread, via My Baking Addiction
• Chocolate Beer Cheesecake with a Pretzel Crust, via The Beeroness
• Ale and Pretzel Soft Caramels, via Sprinkle Bakes
• Chocolate Beer Cake, via Fifty Two Cakes
Related: Beer For Dessert: Have a Beer Float!
(Image: Emma Christensen)