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June 22, 2012 at 5:03 PMComments: 4 Faves: 0

Beer is Food: Cook Your Beer and Drink It Too!

By Sue More Blogs by This Author

Is beer really food?

I say heck ya!

Perhaps you've heard people say "Beer is basically liquid bread!" and honestly, they aren't far off. Just look at the ingredients. Although 80% of it is water, beer is also made with cereal grains -  such as hops and wheat - all of this combined could equal the calories in a meal itself! The definition of food never says anything about chewing! ;)

I say "Beer is food for the soul and mind!"

5 Health Benefits of Beer

There truly are some good health reasons to consume beer, especially the crafted beers which are considerably higher in nutrients than the watered-down, mass-market types.

  1. Beer for Heart Health. Studies show that drinking beer in moderation (up to 2 drinks a day for guys and 1 drink per day for us gals) can and will reduce your chances of strokes, as well as heart and vascular disease.
  2. Vitamins in Beer. Beer provides a 30% increase in vitamin B6 into the blood plasma -- something that neither wine nor any other liquor can do.
  3. Natural Stress Reduction with Beer. Beer has a relaxing effect on the body thereby reducing stress and helping you sleep better.
  4. Beer for Mental Health. A beer a day may help keep Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia at bay, researchers say.
  5. Cooking with Beer for Carcinogen Reduction. A Portuguese study found that marinating steak in beer eliminates almost 70 percent of the carcinogens (which cause cancer) called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) produced when the meat is pan-fried. Researchers theorize that beer’s sugars help block HCAs from forming.

How Much Fat Content Does Beer Have?

It might come as a surprise to you, but there isn’t a trace of fat in beer. The beer belly that many attribute to excessive beer drinking does not come from fat at all. Weight gain is caused by over-consumption of calories. There are an average of 140-150 calories per beer.

The real problem with beer  though, is that it has an effect on the appetite making you crave those things that are bad for you and are usually really high in calories.The calories that cause most people to gain weight come from the ten pounds of wings and pizzas that are consumed when drinking beer. Not typically from the beer by itself.

Once again the old motto, “everything in moderation” will keep you from gaining weight.

4 Great Reasons to Cook with Beer

If I haven’t given you enough ammunition to go ahead and consume some frosty ones this weekend, then how about cooking with it?

  1. Beer adds lightness and buoyancy to foods. Muffins and biscuits often use beer as an ingredient because it contains carbonation which creates light air pockets in baked goods.
  2. Beer penetrates and tenderizes meat as a marinade. There is a lot of acid in beer which is the active ingredient that breaks down fat and muscle, thus tenderize the meat.
  3. Beer imparts great flavor to food. Make sure to cook with beers you like the taste of.  The alcohol cooks off and you are left with the wonderful flavor of the beer. The flavor profile of the many varieties of beers on the market today gives aspiring chefs a limitless palette for the pallet.
  4. Beer also keeps foods moist when roasting or grilling. By basting your meat with beer you are keeping the moisture from escaping and also giving it a nice brown glaze.

2 Great Ways To Cook With Beer

Guinness-Glazed Pork Chops: "Guinness gives these pork chops a wonderful molasses like flavor and keeps them moist." Recipe HERE.

Chilli, Cheddar & Ale Cornbread: "Ale gives these delicious corn bread squares a light fluffy texture." Recipe HERE.

With that, roll out the grill, pop a cold one and have a great weekend! Cheers!

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  • One of my favorite recipes is beer-can chicken.

    It's fairly simple; you just use a can opener on your beer can, drink or pour out half the can, add spices to the remaining beer, and stuff the can into the chicken. Roast it upright in the oven and the beer steams the chicken from inside creating the most tender and flavorful meat you can imagine.

    The standard recipe my friends and I follow involves basting the outside with butter, but I might have to try using the other half-can of beer instead next time.

  • Beer can chicken is fabulous. I like the fact that you only have to use half a can so you have something sip on while grilling!

  • While herbs such as rosemary can fight off the effects of meat's carcinogens just as well, this sounds like a delicious excuse for a celebratory meal :) I love using beer and/or wine with tougher cuts of meat to help tenderize each morsel. Excellent advice, Sue.

  • Thanks Jessica. I love cooking with fresh herbs for the taste it's good to know there are other good reasons to use them.
    Sue Chef

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