How To Use Beer To Elevate Smoked Meat

Whether a classic brisket, brined turkey, or even a high-quality cut of lamb, smoked meat requires patience, good tools, and a repertoire of ideas. Outdoor cooking has become increasingly popular, according to NPD, and it seems as if everyone is investing in an impressive smoker to create an environment just perfect for tender, flavorful food. In the U.S. alone over $21 million worth of grills and smokers were purchased between July 2020 and early 2022. Pellet grills, specifically, have become a go-to choice for those wanting to master the art of slow-smoked cuisine, but customers can also opt for smokers that run on gas, charcoal, or even electric.

The possibilities abound when it comes to honing your skills in meat smoking, and being equipped with plenty of techniques is key to finding the right style and process for you. One of those techniques you'll want to master is keeping the right level of moisture in the smoker — but that moisture doesn't necessarily have to come from water. According to craft brewery Steam Whistle, beer is not only a complimentary beverage for a barbecue but can also be a star player throughout the cooking process.

Infusing beer into the meat

The air in a smoker can get dry quickly, and an easy way to prevent the meat from becoming dry or burning is to add a water basin to the smoker, explains BBQ expert Aaron Franklin. Having the water in the smoker acts as a humidifier and helps regulate the temperature, but by adding your favorite beer to the pan Steam Whistle says the meat will also absorb the flavors as the beer evaporates. The unique taste of the beer along with the traditional smokey goodness is sure to be a favorite when dinner is served.

Spritzing the cut of meat with beer in a small spray bottle is another method for keeping it moist while cooking, locking in the flavor as smoke particles adhere to the liquid droplets. Similarly, you can incorporate a favorite craft brew through a sauce or marinade.

It's also important to consider the type of beer you use and which ones may pair best with certain meats. Grill Masters Club suggests pairing an American lager or a rauchbier with sausage, while a wheat or German lager is a great match for chicken. Blonde ale is a refreshing beverage during the meal, but when it's paired with herbs it can also make a fantastic marinade. There are plenty of delicious brews to experiment with for smoking meat, so keep these tips in mind and have fun discovering new ways to create tasty fare.