Grillin’ with Alcohol

Grill Tips, Grilling, Kelly B's 101, Marinades

Booze makes everything more fun, including BBQ. Here are a few cooking tips and ideas to help you justify buying another bottle or case of your favorite drink.

Choosing your booze

Beer, wine, and other various spirits all can transform the flavor of the meat. When choosing which booze to use, you’ll need to consider soak time, alcohol content, and desired flavor combination. White meats tend to soak up flavor more easily while red meats need a longer soak. Red wines will have a more robust flavor than whites, but won’t hold the same fruity notes. Darker beers possess a deeper flavor than light beers. Bourbon and whiskey taste great when used with red meats but might overpower fish. Whichever booze you choose, it sure is fun to experiment!

How to use it

Alcohol can be used in many ways. Soak your wood chips in your favorite drink for a smoky unique flavor. Pour a little drink into your marinade or sauce before soaking and basting. Shake up a beer and use the foam to coat your next brisket. Just be sure to use great care, and never pour alcohol directly over the grill. A spill could cause a flare up, and no one likes third-degree burns with their BBQ.

Another way to use alcohol is to keep the meat juicy. Pour beer into a pan of sliced meat to keep the meat from drying out when you reheat it at a later date. Pour enough beer in to cover ⅛ – ¼ inch of the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan tightly so the meat steams. The beer will provide a slight taste of barley to the meat.

How Much Booze Is Left?

So you may be wondering if you can serve your booze-soaked meat to guests who don’t drink. They say alcohol cooks off, but it doesn’t disappear completely. It all depends on how long you grill it. Here’s a quick way to gauge how much alcohol is left in your dish:

Time on the grill/Percent of alcohol left

  • Grill quickly over the flames = 75 percent left
  • 15 minutes = 40 percent left
  • 30 minutes = 35 percent left
  • 1 hour = 25 percent left
  • 2.5 hours = 5 percent left

Step up your grill game by adding a boozy component to your next backyard BBQ. Even if guests aren’t big drinkers, the taste of the spirits will add a sublime twist to their grill favorites.

Don’t forget the toast!

This one is a quote from the late, great Frank Sinatra.

“Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the Bible says love your enemy.”