Cooking with Beer 101

Cooking with Beer 101

Food & Drink

Cooking with Beer 101


In Chef Roberto Santibañez’s restaurant kitchen, Fonda, in New York City, he works with a variety of preparations that incorporate beer into his authentic, Mexican dishes.

‘Beer makes a magical marinade for beef, not only lending its delicious, complex flavor, but actually helping to tenderize the meat. Pilsners, such as Modelo Especial and Pacifico, are perfect for marinades,’ said Chef Santibañez.

From beer batter to desserts, Chef Santibañez offers additional tips that pull inspiration straight from a 12-pack.

Beer Batter
Batter for fried foods, like fish and chicken, are best when a little pilsner, such as Pacifico or Modelo Especial, is mixed in. The mild hop flavor of these Mexican pale lagers complements the batter but does not over-power like a malty beer would. Furthermore, the yeast in the beer helps the batter expand to give it a nice light texture.

Steamed seafood is a great dish to bring the beaches of Mexico alive at your Cinco de Mayo party. In a deep pot, place mussels, clams or shrimp then fill with a light beer, such as Corona Light, until it reaches a couple of inches from the bottom. Steam the clams and mussels until they open and steam shrimp until they become pink and no longer translucent. For more casual gatherings, steam hotdogs and sausages in a shallow pot filled with dark, full bodied beer.

Deglazing and Pan Sauces
Pan sauces typically require wine to lift up the browned bits from pan seared meats and vegetables. For Cinco de Mayo, sauté a skirt steak in a heavily oiled pan until the meat is cooked through (about two minutes on each side). Maintaining high heat, add about 3 oz of a dark beer, like Negra Modelo, and cook until the beer thickens into a sauce.

Complete your authentic Mexican meal with this beer influenced recipe for Seared Skirt Steak with Negra Modelo Pan Sauce (click link for recipe).

Barbecue Sauces
Build a robust barbecue sauce by adding a half to a full cup of beer after vegetables like onions and tomatoes are sautéed. Incorporate a dark, full-bodied beer, such as Negra Modelo, to help build the structure of a tomato-based sauce.

When grilling steak or lamb, whip up an accompaniment like fruit salsa with a splash of beer. Its flavor will stay happily in the background, adding a depth and complexity that makes the salsa go especially well with the meat. Try peaches and tomatoes or pineapple, jalapeños and tomatoes to wow your party guests.

Everyone knows that beer hits the spot at dinner or at a party, but it also makes a fabulous dessert. On Cinco de Mayo, bring friends lounging on the patio a cool beer float made with Negra Modelo and a generous scoop of chocolate ice cream.


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