It's been awhile since I posted about cooking with beer, so I figured it was time for another food-based I Tried It. This week, I'm going to tell you about my first attempt at homemade barbecue sauce made with stout beer, courtesy of one of my beer heroes (beeroes?) Jacqueline Dodd, AKA The Beeroness.
If you're not familiar with The Beeroness, she specializes in creating food recipes that showcase beer and the flavors it imparts into food. These are not a bunch of beer cheese soup and beer can chicken recipes, everyone. I highly recommend you take a moment and subscribe to her newsletter.
One of her most recent recipes is for Stout Beer Barbeque Sauce. You can find the entire recipe here - it is a very straightforward recipe and the only ingredient I didn't already have on hand (due to a recent enchilada night) was tomato paste. The other ingredients include olive oil, garlic, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ACV, sriracha, smoked paprika, onion powder, brown sugar, and stout beer.
I guess technically I didn't have two ingredients because I also didn't have a classic American Stout on hand - I have plenty of Russian Imperial Stouts in my beer "cellar" (closet) and a mix of Oatmeal and Milk Stouts in the refrigerator, which had been designated as "study beers." This lead to a very beer nerdy discussion in our house - "How can we have NO American Stout in this entire house?" "Should I use KBS instead?" (SN: This question earned a very emphatic NO from my husband) and culminated in us hashing out the merits of using either a Milk Stout or an Oatmeal Stout. In the end, we decided the Oatmeal Stout would be the better choice of the two, mainly because Milk Stouts are not one of my favorite beer styles and I'm always hesitant to introduce something like lactose into a decidedly un-milky recipe. With the style settled, I ended up choosing The Poet by New Holland.
Because I am on a never ending quest for all smoked everything in my life, I decided to make a few changes to the base recipe to make it smokier. I used smoked olive oil (yes, it's a thing and yes, I love it) as well as Red Rocks Hickory Smoke Seasoning from Savory Spice Shop (my local crack dealer equivalent). Additionally, I infused the sauce with black smoked tea. I also used Bragg's Liquid Aminos instead of soy sauce because I prefer the flavor of liquid aminos to soy sauce and substituted Trader Joe's Jalapeno Pepper Hot Sauce for the sriracha.
The sauce itself is super easy to make - the garlic gets sauteed for a few minutes in the oil and then the other ingredient get added in. The sauce simmers for a few minutes and then it's finished! If I knew making barbeque sauce was this easy, I would have tried it a long time ago. The resulting sauce wasn't quite as smoky as I'd like, but it is freaking delicious.
While it's great on its own, I wanted to try it slathered onto something. Since I'm a vegetarian*, I tried it on some tofu. If you've tried tofu before and hated it, I'm guessing it wasn't prepared correctly. I'm not delusional, I swear - when it's prepped correctly, tofu is an incredibly versatile dish and makes a divine canvas to showcase all different kinds of flavors, from Asian to Italian to Mexican to American. One key to making really good tofu is to freeze it first and then thaw it out - doing so gives the tofu more of a chicken-like texture. Normally I rinse my tofu before freezing it (another key - rinsing and then pressing your tofu will get a lot of the "tofu" flavor out of it and allow it to soak up the flavor of whatever you cook with it). This time, however, I had some tofu I had thrown into the freezer still in its package. From now on, I will freeze my tofu first and then rinse and press it because the texture was marvelous.
Once I had my tofu prepped, I put it in a glass container along with some of my stout barbeque sauce, shook it really well to coat all the slices, and then stuck it in the refrigerator to marinate for a few hours. Then I baked it in the oven at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, flipped the tofu and added more barbecue sauce, and then baked it for an additional 15 minutes.
It. Was. Amazing.
So smoky, so barbeque saucy, and so firm. Truly, I think I could turn any tofu skeptic into a tofu believer with this tofu and barbeque sauce combination. I served it with green beans and pimento mac and cheese, which is pretty amazing in itself, but the ingredient list is not for the faint of heart (among other ingredients, the recipe calls for a literal stick of butter and a quart of whole milk. It also lists the cheese needed in pounds, so...probably not for anyone counting calories.) I also served it alongside a glass of Brooklyn Brown Ale, which picked up the roasted flavors of the sauce and the stout, while the maltiness of the beer matched the sweetness of the sauce. Overall, an incredibly delicious dish. My husband even paused from his steak to get a serving of the barbequed tofu.
In my biased opinion, everything The Beeroness puts out is worth making. However, if you're going to make one recipe, I would recommend this one. You probably already have all the ingredients you need and it is so versatile! It's the perfect way to welcome summer back into your life.
*Standard Questions Every Vegetarian Gets Asked By Everyone: I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 12-years-old. I’m sure I had a noble, 12-year-old reason for doing so. No, I don’t eat fish. Yes, I eat cheese. Yes, I eat eggs but not usually by themselves because I don’t care for the taste. No, I’m not a vegan. Yes, my husband eats meat. No, I don’t cook it for him, but only because I don’t know how to cook meat well and he does, not because I judge him for eating meat. No, it doesn’t bother me when people eat meat in front of me. Also, I don’t need to hear how you could probably be a vegetarian because you “don’t really eat that much meat” – it’s a personal choice and I don’t care whether you eat meat or not.