meat + beer
Growing up, there were two things that my parents felt the need to impress on me. One: be self sufficient. Two: that means knowing how to cook. Every holiday, I would help more and more with the mac and cheese until I got to the point where I could take over if my mom was getting ready. As I got older, I spent more and more time in the kitchen, doing prep work for my dad, further developing my skills with a knife, followed by hanging around while he cooked in order to pick up his little tricks for better and better food.
Then around the age of 10, I started to develop my strange food allergies. At the time most people start to find a taste for the healthier foods, I found myself becoming more and more sensitive to raw produce. At this point we still don’t know what exactly causes the issues but it has forced me to get serious about cooking. If I want to eat a nutritious meal, it has to be cooked, and the best way I have found to cook most raw food is with ripping hot metal directly on heat.
Which brings us to my current situation. As a student, I don’t have much in terms of a disposable income and probably won’t for a good while. One thing I have found is that if you look hard enough, mid grade meat can yield excellent meals with the right preparation and seasoning, which at the core, is half of this book. The other portion is a nice beer pairing to go along with it. On average, I can make at most of these meals for under $8 per serving.
How to use this book
For the most part, these recipes have been presented to you in a pretty familiar way. Like the cookbooks our parents grew up with, there is the ingredients followed by the steps and a drink pairing to round out the meal. To take advantage of the technology we now have access to, you can swipe on the ingredients/seasonings and process to access media to help guide you through the different parts of this interactive experience.
This sandwich comprises of a maple glazed pork-chop with Cheddar cheese, potato chips, and spinach all on a pretzel roll. The seasonings is a portion of salt to cut some of the fat as well as red pepper flake, some black pepper, and Szechuan seasoning to provide heat to balance the sweetness of the maple.
2 1in Pork Chop
4 slices of Cheddar Cheese
2 tbsp Maple Syrup
6-8 Spinach Leaves
Potato Chips to Taste
2 Pretzel Rolls, cut in half
Red Pepper Flake
- Preheat a skillet to medium-high heat. I like to use 6.
- While the skillet heats up, salt the pork chops on both side.
- Once heated, throw the pork chops on to the skillet. For this particular cut, I listen for the sear to quiet down a bit and look to see if the sides are caramelizing and curling. While it is cooking, add a third of the dry spices, the maple syrup will come into play in a minute.
- After a few minutes, flip over the pork chop, and put on another third of the dry spices. Leave this side up for about 2-3 minutes before flipping again.
- Once flipped the second time and the seasoning has been seared in, pour the maple syrup over the pork chop, letting it run off the sides of the meat.
- Let this sit for about a minute before flipping over one more time and placing the Cheddar Cheese onto the pork chop to warm it up.
- Melt the cheese to taste and put the pork chop onto the pretzel rolls with the spinach on top and the potato chips underneath. If you have no idea whatsoever what cheese looks like when it just starts to melt, I’d recommend looking at the edges to see if they are starting to round off and soften.
- Before eating, put the sandwiches back on the skillet to toast the outside of the roll.
This sandwich relies on its seasoning and the maple for the majority of its flavor. That being said, a little bit of conservatism with the seasoning opens up the opportunity to pair it with a traditionally bolder beer: the IPA. I’m not a hophead and honestly, that boldness can only go so far, so I recommend something in the family of the east coast IPA’s.
- Dogfish Head 60 Minute
- Lagunitas IPA
- Bell’s Brewing Two Hearted Ale
Chicken Fried Rice
One of the first recipes I learned how to cook, and a great meal to make a lot of in a little time. The general idea is lightly seasoned chicken breast, cooked and then brought back into rice and stir fried vegetables all tossed with teriyaki and some extra seasoning. The beauty of this recipe is its flexibility. While I have the set of ingredients and seasonings I usually use, it can be modified to suit any taste.
2 Chicken Breast cut either into strips or 1 1/2in cubes
6 cups of Cooked Rice
3 Celery Stalks cut into 1/4in slices
1 cup of Carrots, diced
1 Baby Bok Choy stalk diced
1 Leek cut to 1/4in slices or less
2 Jalapeños, minced
1/2 an Onion
- Melt some butter in a large wok on medium heat while you cut and season the chicken breast.
- Once the wok gets to heat (try not to burn the butter), put the chicken in the wok to cook. With chicken, it is very important to cook it all the way through. The key to this is to cook until the meat is opaque all the way through. White meat goes from a translucent pink to white while dark meat will go from a slightly darker, translucent pink to an opaque white or tan.
- Prepare the vegetables and put them all into the same bowl. When the chicken done cooking, take it out of the wok, into its own bowl and toss the vegetables in. Bring the heat up to medium-high (I do around 7 1/2).
- As they cook, keep the vegetables moving around. When the celery and onion starts to become translucent, create a well in the center of the vegetables, crack the eggs into the well and scramble.
- Once the eggs have been scrambled and cooked, stir once more to distribute everything evenly and put the chicken, followed by the rice into the wok.
- Stir the contents of the wok to distribute everything. As you do so, begin pouring in the teriyaki, a couple splashes at a time.
- The final color should be a golden brown with the meat and rice coated in a teriyaki glaze.
- Set the heat to low, and cover when not serving until the meal is done.
As I said before, this meal is extremely flexible. As suck, it opens up an interesting opportunity to try something different. The base of this dish is a grain, so malty could overwhelm the rice. At the same time, while it is seasoned, it is not necessarily bold so I wouldn’t pair it with anything overly hoppy either. To still have that richness of flavor, I would recommend a tart fruit beer.
- Victory Kirsch Gosé
- Founder’s Rübæus
- Dogfish Head Sea Quench Ale
Jalapeño Bed Steak
The Jalapeño Bed Steak is named for the way the that the slab of meat is cooked. The steak is scored, seasoned, and then thrown onto the skillet where the jalapeños are already waiting. As the meat cooks, the heat from the peppers soak into it with a mild kick to create an interplay between heat and umami.
1.5 lb of Beef Round
3 Jalapeños, minced
2 tbsp Sesame Oil
4oz of your favorite Imperial Stout
2 1/3 cup of Cooked Rice
2/3 cup of Baby Carrots, cut to quarter inch segments
1/3 cup of Celery, cut to quarter inch segments
- Preheat a large skillet with the sesame oil on your stovetop with medium-high heat. I use 6 on my crappy electric stovetop personally.
- Once the oil gets warm enough to feel with your hand about 2 1/2 inches above it, put the minced Jalapeños in.
- Let these cook while you prepare the steaks (preferably quickly). Cut the Beef Round into their individual portions, use either a santoku or a paring knife to score the face of the meat in a diamond pattern, and rub in the majority of the seasoning, but save some for later. Once this is done, put the steaks in the skillet.
- To tell when the steak is ready for the first flip, listen for the sear to get quieter and look at the sides. When the browning is about a third of the way up, flip it over. The reason I say a third is that I cook my steaks to about rare or medium-rare.
- Take a medium skillet and preheat a smaller amount of sesame oil on a higher heat than the first one. I usually do about 7 1/2.
- Repeat step 4 for the other side. Once you flip it back, splash the Stout onto the steaks and let it sit for about a minute and a half before flipping yet again.
- After another minute or so, transfer the steaks to the medium skillet and let them sear on both sides until they get to the right temperature. A good trick to figure out the internal temperature of a steak is to compare the firmness of the steak with the heel of your palm when different fingers are pressed against your thumb with forefinger being rare, the middle finger med-rare, the ring finger medium, and the pinky being well-done.
- Once they get to temperature, take steaks off the skillet and let them rest. While they rest, take the vegetables and throw them into the larger skillet so they can pick up the flavor. Let them cook on here until the celery becomes translucent and the carrots start to show signs of caramelization.
- Once everything is done, plate it and enjoy.
With the intensity of the heat and umami of this meal, the best beer pairing would be one with a strong malt character over something particularly hoppy. For example
- Weyerbacher Merry Monks
- Weinstephaner Korbinian
- Kona Brewing Co. Big Wave Golden Ale