Brew & Bites: Homemade Beer BBQ Sauce

By Millie Shamburger, American Homebrewers Association

Ditch the shopping list and head to your local market! There’s no better way to discover ingredients that could lead you down an unexpected path to a far out beer recipe, a delicious dish, or the perfect pairing.

Well, I guess the old saying is right—the early bird really does get the worm! Recently, I stopped by my local farmers market early one morning and stumbled upon an impressive rack of ribs. “Last one of the day,” the man behind the table said with a smile. That was enough motivation to have him wrap it up and stick it in my purse.

I planned on my usual process for preparing ribs—covering the rack in my favorite dry rub, broiling for about 5 minutes, and then cooking for 2 hours at 300°F—but I wanted to try something a little different, too. That’s when I stumbled on this beer BBQ sauce, which calls for a bottle of your favorite malt-forward brew!

Simple Beer BBQ Sauce Recipe

This recipe is by Steve Denny and was originally published on CraftBeer.com. The recipe calls for 12 oz. (355 mL) of bock-style beer, but you can substitute in your favorite malt-forward beer instead. I went with a homebrewed Belgian-style dubbel!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (473 mL) ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp. (44 mL) chili powder
  • 12 oz. (355 mL) bock, or other malty beer
  • 1 tsp. (5 mL) smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) regular paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 mL) garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 mL) yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. (2–3 mL) cayenne pepper (add more if you want more kick)
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 mL) brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 mL) molasses
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 mL) apple cider vinegar

Directions:

Prep time: 5 minutes

  1. Whisk all ingredients in a sauce pan and turn heat to medium, bringing sauce to a slow boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Serve with your favorite BBQ.

Pairing Suggestions

When pairing with ribs and a rich BBQ sauce, malt-forward beer is the name of the game. I decided to go with the same strong and complex Belgian-style dubbel that I used in the BBQ sauce recipe. The intensity of the pork fat will most definitely stand up against the strong characteristics of the dubbel, while the malty sweetness in the BBQ sauce creates a perfect, porky pairing.

Belgian-Style Dubbel Homebrew Recipe

If you’re planning ahead, brew this Belgian-style dubbel (recipe by Sean Paxton, Home Brew Chef) to use in the BBQ sauce recipe and to pair with your rack of ribs.

Specifications:

  • Recipe Source: Dubbel Your Pleasure
  • Original Gravity: 1.072
  • Final Gravity: 1.014
  • ABV: 6%
  • IBU: 25
  • SRM: 22.5
  • Boil Time: 90 minutes
  • Efficiency: 75%

Ingredients for 6 gallons:

  • 5 lb. (2.3 kg) Belgian Pilsner (two-row) malt
  • 2.5 lb. (1.1 kg) Maris Otter pale malt
  • 1.5 lb. (680 g) CaraMunich malt
  • 1.5 lb. (680 g) CaraVienne malt
  • 0.5 lb. (227 g) aromatic malt
  • 0.5 lb. (227 g) Belgian wheat malt
  • 0.25 lb. (113 g) Special B malt
  • 1 oz. (28 g) East Kent Goldings (60 min)
  • 1 oz. (28 g) Hallertauer Hersbrucker (30 min)
  • 1 oz. (28 g) Styrian Goldings (15 min)
  • 2 lb. (907 g) Turbinado sugar (90 min)
  • 1 lb. (454 g) D2 syrup (15 min)
  • Wyeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity Yeast (starter)

Directions:

Step infusion mash starting at 95°F (35°C). Dough in for 15 minutes, raise to 122°F (50°C) for 15 minutes, then to 135°F (57°C) for 15 minutes. Saccharification rest at 148°F (64°C) for 120 minutes. Mash out at 165°F (74°C) for 15 minutes, then sparge with 170°F (77°C) water. Boil for 90 minutes.

Pitch yeast at 64°F (18°C) and let temperature rise to 74°F (23°C) over six days. Transfer to secondary and let sit for 14 days. Keg or bottle condition.

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