Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hobo's Breath Barbecue Sauce and Majestic Wheat Ale Barbecue Sauce

This time in Cooking with Michigan Beer, I came up with two different barbecue sauces that will blow the doors off any bottled sauce you can pick up at the local supermarket -- one for those that like their sauce a little smoky and spicy, the other for the sweet and tangy fans.

But why use beer in a barbecue sauce? First and foremost, flavor. Beer is much less acidic than wine, vinegar, or citrus juices commonly used in barbecue sauces. It will tenderize meats without breaking down texture as rapidly as more powerful acids (some sauces are so acidic they can actually begin to cook the meat if you marinate them too long). Also, the balanced flavor in beer means that the other herbs and spices will not be overwhelmed by acetic notes.

Second, beer is less expensive than wine. It's possible to use a very fine quality ale to make more than a quart of marinade, and still spend less than $5.

Third, the variety in Michigan beer styles encourages experimenting in the kitchen. From fruity ales to the roasty flavors of porters and stouts, there's a flavor that matches any meat, chicken, or seafood sauce destined for the grill.

So, here's the first sauce:

Hobo's Breath Barbecue Sauce

12 ounces Hobo's Breath Brown Ale (from Mt. Pleasant Brewing Co.)
1 cup ketchup (or enough to get sauce to desired thickness)
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup bourbon (I used Buffalo Trace)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon canned chipotles in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat until ingredients combine and cook down to desired sauce thickness.

Now for the sweet, tangy sauce..

Majestic Wheat Ale Barbecue Sauce

6 ounces Majestic Wheat Ale (from the North Peak Brewing Co.)
2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar (or to taste)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 tablespoon garlic salt
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat until ingredients combine and cook down to desired sauce thickness.

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