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Nothing tastes like the Fourth of July quite like a cold one and full plate of BBQ fare. Beyond traditional burgers and hot dogs, there’s a select slew of sides that pair exceptionally well with certain brews.
Ahead of the holiday, Conagra Brands Development Chef Rebekah Strand shared five cookout staples for July 4 celebrations at home and explained which style of beer each one matches marvelously with.
Beyond traditional burgers and hot dogs on the Fourth of July, there’s a select slew of sides that pair exceptionally well with certain brews.
Strand is a development chef on the innovative culinary team at Conagra, and previously served as a sous-chef for one of Chicago’s top chefs. In her current role, she also works on recipe and product development, while managing the test kitchen.
Smoky BBQ ribs
Get the party started with smoky ribs, perhaps with BBQ sauce.
Get the party started with smoky ribs smothered in BBQ sauce, like these Kansas City style ribs. Strand told Fox News that a summery spin is a great option for breaking up the typical backyard barbecue menu of burgers and dogs, too.
When choosing a beer to pair with ribs or any grilled meats covered in BBQ sauce, she said that amber ales are the way to go.
“The sweet caramel notes of the beer complement the BBQ sauce and the toasty notes pair nicely with the char of grilled meats,” Strand advised.
Would it really be a barbecue without potato salad? For premium “buttery creaminess,” Strand said to whip up the side dish with Yukon gold potatoes, spicy brown mustard and dill relish to truly pack a punch. On the side, crack open an IPA.
“The hoppiness cuts the richness and the malty notes highlight the mustard and pickle flavors,” Strand explained.
While you’re at it, she also recommended swapping out the vinegar in the potato salad with beer, for a pro chef’s tip.
Corn on the cob
“Corn on the cob is the quintessential summer veggie side,” said Chef Rebekah Strand.
“Corn on the cob is the quintessential summer veggie side,” the chef said. “Grilling corn without the husk adds a nice smoky char and amps up its natural sweetness.”
To kick things up a notch, she suggested drizzling the grilled corn with a ranch dressing like Wishbone Ranch and topping with crumbled bacon. And to drink, Strand said that “a crisp, light-bodied lager goes perfectly with the corn’s sweetness and won’t overpower its flavor.”
“Banana pudding is a classic, nostalgic dessert that is simple and easy to make for a crowd,” the chef said. “Try pairing with an unfiltered wheat beer, such as a hefeweizen, which is extra bubbly to cut the richness and has notes of clove and banana to enhance the flavors.”
Before serving it up, don’t forget to top the pudding with a whipped cream like Reddi Whip.
No picnic table is complete without a sweet treat, and skillet brownies made on the grill are just the dish to impress on July 4.
No picnic table is complete without a sweet treat, and skillet brownies made are just the dish to impress on July 4.
“Keep it simple by using Duncan Hines brownie mix and ‘bake’ on the grill at 350 F for about 30 minutes,” Strand said. If you’re still feeling adventurous, she even suggested “replacing the water in the brownie mix with a chocolate stout.”
With that inspiration, match the skillet brownies with a dark beer.
“The malty sweetness a dark beer, such as a stout or a porter, matches nicely with the rich, fudginess of the brownie,” she offered.