When you’re throwing a BBQ, you’ll no doubt be enjoying a cold beer or glass of wine with your meal. But what if there’s a way to combine the two? Cooking with alcohol is a great way to add flavour to your dishes, and adds a fun touch to your food. If you use alcohol in your dishes, it’s important to remember that the longer the cooking time, the less alcohol is left, so if it’s only cooked quickly on a BBQ the alcohol content might still be quite high. So these recipes are best left for adult-only gatherings.

BBQ Red Wine Sauce

If you enjoy a glass of red, but find you’ve often got leftovers at the bottom of the bottle, then making a red wine sauce for barbequing is a great way to use it up. If you’re planning a BBQ in Perth, then you can simply make a batch of the sauce in advance, then baste the chicken before it goes on the grill.

In a saucepan, you heat olive oil then cook two shallots and two minced garlic cloves until softened. Then add 250ml of red wine and ketchup, two tablespoons of brown sugar, plus one tablespoon of mustard and a minced chipotle pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes until thickened to the consistency of BBQ sauce. The sauce is then ready to use, and adds a rich flavour to chicken.

Make a beer can chicken

A simple way to cook a whole chicken on the BBQ, the beer in this recipe makes the chicken moist. When you are throwing a barbeque in Perth and need a centrepiece, then this recipe is an easy option, and lots of fun to cook. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Make a marinade with the juice of one lemon, three crushed garlic cloves, three tablespoons of olive oil, plus a pinch of chilli flakes and paprika
  2. Coat the chicken in the marinade, both on the outside and inside the cavity. Leave in a covered bowl in the fridge for over three hours, ideally overnight to develop the flavours
  3. When you’re ready to cook, pre-heat the BBQ to low, and remove chicken from the bowl, patting off any excess marinade
  4. Open the beer and pour half into a glass, then place the half full can into the chicken’s cavity
  5. Place the chicken upright in the centre of the BBQ, close the lid and cook for an hour to 75 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature

This style of cooking means ensures the chicken is crisp on the outside while still juicy inside.

Soak woodchips in beer

If you’re using woodchips in an old-fashioned smoker, then soaking them in beer before you cook will add a depth of flavour. Experiment with different types of beer, or even try wine which can add a spicy touch.

Braise with beer

If you’re cooking ribs, brisket or chicken, then consider beer braising them for a traditional BBQ flavour. Beer is often added to braising liquid, which cooks over a low heat, so most of the alcohol is removed but the rich flavour remains. Braising short ribs in this way makes for an impressive BBQ dish, and those with outdoor BBQ kitchens will be able to do all the cooking outside, otherwise you can braise the ribs inside using a large saucepan, then chill in the fridge until guests arrive. Set your BBQ to medium, brush the ribs with oil, and cook on an indirect medium heat for 25 minutes, then 5 minutes in the direct heat for a crisp exterior and juicy insides.

Steam with white wine

White wine is a refreshing summer drink, and as well as pairing perfectly with seafood, it’s also great for steaming mussels, clams, or even artichokes for your vegetarian friends. If your outdoor kitchen has a hob, then you can make a big pot of mussels in a white wine broth, or for an alfresco BBQ throw shellfish such as lobster tails straight on the grill, before serving with a wine butter sauce made from melted butter, garlic, dry white wine and lemon juice.

Next time you throw a BBQ, think of all the fun ways you can use alcohol that don’t just involve pouring a glass. From marinades to sauces, there are lots of ways to use alcohol in your BBQ, and most of them are simple, yet bound to impress your guests.