If you love chicken and you love beer, you’re in luck, because the two go together like wine and cheese! Not only does a cold, juicy beer taste great with chicken, but also the alcohol can be used during the cooking process to enhance its flavors.
Let’s learn more about why food tastes better when it’s consumed with alcohol, and how to use beer when cooking the perfect chicken.
After an evening of drinking, a bucket of chicken wings is sure to hit the spot. But why does food taste better when you’re drinking? One study found that alcohol makes a person more sensitive to tastes and smells. This is why food tastes better when you have a few drinks in you.
Other studies have found that alcohol can increase appetite, especially in the short-term. The reasons are complex, though researchers believe this happens because alcohol reduces hormones and proteins that are known to suppress hunger. Plus, people tend to feel less guilty when they eat.
Bottom line: Chicken simply tastes better when you’ve had a few beers. After drinking, you’re going to feel hungrier, and the beer magnifies and enhances the flavors of food without dominating them.
Beer doesn't just make chicken dishes taste better - it can also be used during the cooking process. Let’s start with the brining - the process of infusing proteins with salt, sugar and other seasonings to enhance flavor and tenderness. Water and fat don’t mix, but alcohol and fat do. The alcohol is able to penetrate deep into the meat, carrying the flavors of the brine solution with it. Beer can also break down fat, something that water cannot.
You can also baste the chicken with beer. Basting is another good practice that keeps chicken moist by cooling the surface, slowing down the rate the meat cooks. Depending on the recipe, you’ll add a few more ingredients to the beer (i.e., butter, garlic cloves, rosemary) and brush the mixture over the top of the chicken. This will seal in the natural juices and add extra moisture and flavor.
As you can see, beer and chicken have a great relationship that you can't ignore! Whether it’s pairing a juicy beer with spicy wings, or preparing chicken with a beer-based brine or baste, the combination opens up a world of new possibilities!