Cooking with Beer Tips and Hints

Belgium is famous for its Carbonnade à la Flamande, a thickstew of beer, bacononions, and brown sugar. Many home cooks prefer their shellfish and hot dogs steamed in beer. 

Beer also has wonderful tenderizing properties, making it an excellent choice for a marinade for tougher cuts of meat. Baked goods using beer have a more moist texture and a longer shelf life. 

Used in a glaze or baste, beer adds wonderful flavor to poultry and ham. In batter coatings for fried foods, the yeast in the beer acts as a mild leavening agent, causing the batter to puff up, as well as adding a distinctive enhancing flavor. 

The hops, barley, and/or malt flavor imparted by the addition of beer to foods will naturally depend on the amount and strength of the beer. Dark beer, such as stout and porter, have a much stronger flavor than a light Pilsener. A good recipe using beer will have a distinctively light, not dominating flavor in the finished dish. 

Non-alcoholic (alcohol removed) or light/lite (low-calorie, less than .5% alcohol) beers can usually be substituted (except in baking), but keep in mind that the flavor may not be as desirable and the texture may have less body.