let’s cook with beer: porter-braised pot roast edition

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Early in my homebrewing career somebody said to me: “Do you cook? Most folks who are good brewers are also good cooks.”

I’m not a good brewer, just a persistent one – and I’m certainly no chef, but I do like to eat, so it follows that once I left the nest I’d have to learn how to cook or forage in campground dumpsters like the rest of my family (I was raised by raccoons).

And I came to really, really enjoy cooking; the language of flavors and aromas is something that food and beer have in common. I think that years of daily food prep has been really valuable in sharpening my focus when tasting and critiquing beers (as I was reminded the other week when giving a talk on harvest beers and mentioned the spice mace when discussing pumpkin beers … and at least some of the audience thought I was talking about pepper spray [like I would even know what that tastes like <Raquel Welch, if you’re reading this blog, no hard feelings, simple misunderstanding, I am still saving you a bottle of lambic>]).

Anyway, I brew and I cook, and what with all the beer on hand, I often cook with beer, so you’re probably going to hear about that from time to time here, citizens. Here’s what’s for dinner:

Porter-braised pot roast

  • bacon fat
  • 3 lb rump roast
  • 1/2 red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pint robust porter
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • bay leaves
  • salt
  1. Fry some bacon in a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven. Save the fat in the skillet. Feed the bacon to your raccoon family, or eat it yourself.
  2. Dust the rump roast with flour, then sear on all sides in the bacon fat.
  3. Remove the roast and stir the onions into the fat on high heat until they brown.
  4. Deglaze with a half pint or so of porter.
  5. Drink the rest of the porter.
  6. Place the roast in a crock pot and pour the deglazing liquid plus the onions over it (if using a Dutch oven, just put the roast back in on top of the liquid and onions).
  7. Add bay leaves, garlic, and salt; cover and cook on low heat for many hours.
  8. When the roast is fork-tender, remove it and bring the braising liquid to a boil to reduce it.
  9. Pour a round of porters for the table.
  10. Serve with roasted root vegetables and Brussels sprouts or winter kale.

6 thoughts on “let’s cook with beer: porter-braised pot roast edition

  1. Great flavor combinations. I can appreciate this because I am a home brewer and I had to learn to cook as a young latch key kid. Mom and Dad worked late so I used to get dinner going. This definitely followed into my brewing creativity. I’m going to try the recipe.

  2. That looks disgustingly good…going to have to get a batch of my oatmeal stout and coffee chili going soon after seeing this.

  3. Done and delicious! Uinta’s King’s Peak and venison kindly donated to the effort. Thanks for the idea, Mr. Dawson!

  4. You should try using undercut from the primal chuck. It is the only cut my Meatcutting Instructor uses for pot roast because of its’ superior texture and flavor. I go to Johnson & Wales for Culinary Arts and Food Service management but I’m also in our brewing club called JBrew.

    I really enjoy your knowledge and point of view. I’m all for local and sustainable practices. I just started AG brewing at the beginning of the year with my dad and I can’t get enough of it. We’ve brewed a Nut Brown Ale, Dry Irish Stout, Red IPA, and a Hefeweizen.

    Our efficiency is fluctuating from beer to beer with the last two coming under so we still have some tinkering to do with our procedure. The first beer was primed with honey which unknowingly caused it to shoot out half the bottle upon opening. The other half tastes pretty good.

    Thank you for your blog and your past work on the brewing network.

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