Grilling guru Ted Reader pairs grilled meats with beer

August 15, 2012 

You've likely paired different wines with food. Perhaps you've even experimented beyond white wine with chicken and red wine with steak.

But have you considered what pairs well with your favorite beer?

Ted Reader, author of "Beerlicious," has.

The Canadian grilling guru pairs various beers -- popular and less known -- with his favorite grilled meats in his book.

His inspiration? Experience. "It took me a lifetime to figure it out. Every time someone goes to the barbecue they have a beer in their hand," he said.

He started paying attention to which beers tasted best with his favorite dishes and then created pairings based on his tastings.

No snobbery was involved in his process.

"I don't have the greatest beer palate but I do love drinking beer," he said.

He loves variety and can't pick a favorite type of beer.

"On a hot day... the beer I need to drink is icy cold smooth and goes down quick. That to me is the greatest beer ever," he says.

At backyard parties, he loves pulling a can of beer out of a cooler and coming away with a frozen wrist.

"There's nothing wrong with being a Budweiser drinker. But taste beers. Buy different beers and explore," he encourages. Ask yourself "I wonder what that would be like drizzled on my steak?"

Some basic advice for beer pairings is to treat lagers like white wines and serve them with seafoods and to treat ales like red wines and serve them with meat. But don't get too carried away with setting rules, he warns.

"You can play and infuse. When you go to your backyard it should be a fun adventure. I don't expect everyone to cook like me. Just get in your backyard with your family and friends and have fun," he says.

His only rule? Pour your beer in a glass, preferably one that's been chillin' in the fridge. "The aroma of beer comes to life in glass."

He also has some advice for those new to the world of grilling: "Patience. When it comes to grilling. Don't rush. Plan ahead. Go low and slow. It's gonna take time. Don't leave your grill. Stay around and have fun."

If you're going to a football viewing party this fall, Reader suggests you take two beers: one basic like Rolling Rock and then something special like Chimay or Duvel.

Reader can't chose a favorite brew, he says he enjoys many types of beer and most foods, although he admits that he doesn't care for brussels sprouts.

His favorite cooking gadget is an injection syringe. An easy way to use a syringe is to combine melted butter and sweet beer together to inject into potatoes. For sweet potatoes, he uses maple syrup and butter.

With college football season looming, be sure to follow Reader's final piece of advice: "Keep the beers cold and the grills hot."

Be sure to check out the recipes attached to this column for Cherry Wheat BBQ Pork Tenderloin and Greg Rempe's Drunken London Broil. They are excerpted from "Beerlicious." Copyright (c) 2012 by Ted Reader. Published by Fenn-M&S, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Dawn Minty can be reached at dminty@ledger-enquirer.com

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