The Ultimate BBQ Food and Beer Pairing Guide

The Ultimate BBQ Food and Beer Pairing Guide

Posted on: January 16, 2023

Those who think whiskey or wine makes the ultimate pair with a sizzling smoky, juicy steak haven’t tried barbeque with beer. It brings the best of both worlds together. Chilled, cold beer and hot, smoky meats are a deadly combo that will make any barbeque food lover drool. The strong flavor of the beer creates magic when merged with the spicy, smoked meat. So, if you want to pamper your taste buds with something different and awesome, here is the ultimate smoked meat and beer pairing guide.

Do all beers team well with any kind of steak?

To be precise, the answer is no. This is where you need this guide. Smoked meats do not have a standard flavor, and neither do beers. Food smoking has always been a great way to prepare gourmet food at home. With modern food smokers, the process has become all the more simple. Advanced food smokers like the Bradley Smoker come with digital controls and dual heating elements to give you the perfect smoking experience. You can use Bradley Bisquettes to enhance the flavor. They turn the smoked food into a delicacy. The smoke, heat, and added flavors have a different impact on beef, pork, chicken, turkey, or seafood.

Similarly, all beers are different. Some are strong and heavy, whereas others are light. To pair a strong beer with a strong flavored smoked steak will be a blunder. Both the flavors will overpower each other, resulting in an overwhelmingly strong flavor that you don’t want. While pairing heavy beers with heavy meats and light beers with light meats and seafood is a good idea. So, if you don’t want your barbeque party to end in disaster, this guide will come to your rescue.

Guide to pairing beer with smoked food

We have tried to provide several beer options for all types of smoked foods that are popular among barbeque lovers. We hope you will find your favorite one on the list too.

Beer options with smoked chicken or seafood

Going by the idea behind the perfect pairing we mentioned earlier, we have handpicked light beers to complement these lightly smoked meats.

Light Lager: This light flavor will add a refreshing kick to the barbeque and beer combo.

Witbier: The sweetness of this beer pairs well with citrus and spicy flavors used on smoked food.

Pilsner: The hint of bitterness can perfectly balance the buttery-ness of seafood.

Saison: The complex flavor of this beer goes well with the sweet and oily flavors of the chicken.

Hefeweizen: This beer is a bit on the heavier side but still is a light, refreshing beer to team up with chicken or seafood.

Beer options with smoked pork

Well, this includes chops, ribs, and shoulder, whatever cut you prefer on the heavier side.

India Pale Lager: This mildly bitter and toasty sweet malt will complement any barbeque sauce flavor.

Session IPA (India Pale Ale): This beer’s slightly bitter and fuller flavor pairs well with the bold flavors of pork.

Pale Ale: This is comparatively lighter than other heavier flavors but will still complement smoked pork.

German Lager: A heavy lager dark malt is just the ultimate thing for a heavy pork rib.

Porter: This medium-heavy flavor will not overpower the pork but will balance the roasted flavors.

Beer options with smoked steak

Whether lamb, pork, or brisket, fatty meat has a bold natural flavor that needs to be balanced with darker robust beers.

Porter: The dark malt with roasted bitterness brings a perfect balance to marbled steaks.

Stout: This is the perfect choice for bigger, fatter steaks like brisket.

Brown Ales: This strong-flavored malt is a great pair with lighter steaks.

Universal favorite options

Here are some options if you are serving a crowd and want something to go with pretty much every meat you put in the food smoker.

Dark Lager: This strong flavor is on the lighter side compared to others on the list. It will perfectly balance almost all barbeque flavors well.

American Pale Ale: We included this beer in our list earlier but would love to put it in this section as well. This roasted nutty flavor is all you need to enhance the spicy flavor of any steak you are smoking.

Bonus tips

The real kick comes from flavoring the food and smoking it to perfection. Use a pro-food smoker like the Bradley Smoker to prepare your delicious cuts of meat at home without babysitting them. Use fresh raw meat for smoking, and of course, don’t forget the marinade. Dry rub or brine works wonders in food smoking, so this step is a must.

We hope this guide on BBQ and beer pairings helps you rock your next smoking session. Besides the options we mentioned here, you can try others as well, but remember the Bradley tips & tricks for pairing beer and barbeque to win the game.

For more great ideas on how to get the most out of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.