To some, whiskey is just something you drink when you’ve had a long week or something you sip on to relax. To some, barbecue is nothing more than something you have at the occasional get-together with friends and family or when you have a hankering for some down-home cooking.
Then there are the others.
They know that neither whiskey nor barbecue is to be taken lightly. They find that paring the two delicacies together perfectly is absolutely no different from deciding if you should have a red or a white wine with your gourmet Italian pasta dish.
They know that whiskey and barbecue were made to go together, and there is a fine art to the correct coupling of this majestic food and drinks. It is serious business and almost downright offensive to dishonor either by not putting them with the proper accompaniment.
Today we will pay homage to both whiskey and barbecue as we look into precisely the type of whiskey that goes with what kind of barbecued meat or the other way around if you prefer: the type of barbecued meat that goes with what type of whiskey.
While they may not be an obvious choice for your outdoor barbecue, seafood is an excellent option for backyard cookouts. It is usually ready in a matter of minutes, and it does not require a ton of marinading to bring out its flavors.
Because seafood tends to have a clean, light flavor, it often soaks up the exquisite taste of the smoke and flames of a barbecue.
In order to bring out and enhance the smokiness of the flavor, seafood’s best whiskey pairing will typically be one that has smokey notes of its own. A sure bet for your next seafood barbecue is a peated Scotch.
Because peated Scotch tends to have a taste that is reminiscent of a campfire, its woody, smokey flavor is sure to be the perfect complement to seafood such as:
- Sea scallops.
Saucy Ribs and Pulled Pork
What could be better than barbecued ribs so tender they fall off the bone or rich, flavorful pulled pork? If they are both slathered in a sweet, tangy barbecue sauce, of course.
Because they are fatty meats, ribs and pulled pork need a whiskey that can cut through their richness and offer a zing that won’t compete with their flavor. The perfect pairing for ribs and pulled pork is bourbon.
Bourbon tends to be sweet and carries hints of vanilla, which can help quell the meat’s richness while not detracting from its decadent flavor, making it the obvious choice for your saucy ribs and barbecue pulled pork.
While cheeseburgers might seem like barbecue basics, they do not have to be if they are paired with the proper whiskey.
The juiciness and fatty mouthfeel of charred ground beef topped with rich, flavorful cheese offer a stand-alone taste that some might not feel need the accompaniment of the right whiskey. But who are those people?
The rich, fatty goodness of a burger needs to be paired with a whiskey that will cut through the richness while not overpowering its classic flavor. An aged bourbon can do the job nicely.
Bourbon’s natural sweetness can help cut through the richness of a cheeseburger while still allowing the meat’s flavor to shine and be the star of your barbecue.
Bacon and Sausage
Who doesn’t love the salty-sweet, smokey taste of a thick slice of bacon? And what barbecue would be complete without some meaty, flavorful sausages sizzling on the grill?
Because of their bold, assertive flavors, bacon and sausage need a whiskey that can stand up to them while not overpowering them. A safe choice to pair with these pork classics would be a peated Scotch.
Because peated Scotch has a natural smokey flavor, it is the perfect complement to both bacon and sausage.
The shining star of every barbecue is always a marbled steak. Because of its beautiful, natural flavor, steaks don’t find the need to be slathered with an overpowering sauce, and they can often stand alone with the addition of a bit of salt and pepper if properly grilled. Because of its robust flavor, steak demands a whiskey that will stand up to it yet never overshadow it.
The perfect whiskey to serve with your marbled steak is rye whiskey. This is the perfect whiskey for steak because of its earthy, peppery, spiced flavor. Rye whiskey has a bold, powerful punch, but it will not detract from your steak’s flavor. The whiskey’s flavor only complements your steak, making it the crowning achievement of your barbecue.
Whiskey and Barbecue: The Summer’s Perfect Pair
When you prepare for your summer barbecues, don’t neglect to write down the proper whiskey to go with your meat offerings when you make out your shopping list. Ensuring that you have the appropriate whiskey for your barbecued meat will secure your gathering as being remembered for getting “it” just right.
Knowing what whiskey goes with each meat on your menu will ensure you have created summer’s perfect pair for each guest at your next backyard barbecue.