Trial By Fire
Deciding which wines to enjoy with beef on the grill need not be a trial by fire.
Whether a steak, a burger, or ribs, juicy, succulent, hot-off-the-coals beef calls out for wine with refreshing boldness, silky tannins and a punch of acidity. These characteristics mean the wine will stand up to the weight and texture of the meat. A wine with vibrant fruit, offering a touch of herb, smoke and a little spice embrace the flavour spectrum imparted by seasonings, bastes and rubs ritualistically included as part of the grilling process. Look no further than our local Nova Scotia red wine varietals and their blends. Blomidon Estate Baco Noir ($19.99) and blends such as Jost 4 Skins ($19.99) and Jost Marble Mountain Red ($16.99) made from varieties such as Marechal Foch, Leon Millot, Lucie Kuhlman, Marquette, De Chaunac, are traditional Nova Scotia wine varietals, beautifully crafted and stylized to express their trademark dark berry fruit, subtle spice and smoke and fresh acidity. These well-rounded, versatile and grill-friendly wines are sure to make your next barbecue meal sizzle with perfection!
Evelyn Friedrich, Sommelier, Coordinator Atlantic Canadian Wine Awards
Embrace the Dark Side
Finally, after so much icy Maritime winter, it’s the season we’ve long waited for… Before you grab that juicy steak and head for the barbecue, make sure your cooler is stocked with fresh, local beer! Save the pale ales and lagers for a burger and instead try your grilled steak alongside rich and maltier offerings.
Fattier steaks, dripping in fat and umami, such as T-bone, rib-eye and filet mignon, pair perfectly with robust stouts and porters.
The dark and dry malts used in Propeller’s London Porter (6x341ml, $13.49) offer the perfect dark chocolate contrast to these delectable cuts. If this isn’t enticing enough, the darker grains undergo a similar caramelization process as your steak while searing atop the metal grates of your grill. If a leaner cut, like a sirloin, is what you fancy, tip back a Garrison Nut Brown (6x341ml, $13.49), Boxing Rock Crafty Jack English Ale (650ml, $4.80) or Hell Bay English Ale (500ml, $4.25). The toasty fl avours of caramel, toffee and nuts balanced by just enough hop bitterness, will complement these lean and tender cuts. Embrace the dark side of summer.
Tracy Phillippi, beer consultant, experiencecraftbeer.com
It’s time to spark up those grills and embrace the beef. Burgers aren’t going out of style anytime soon, and in my household, we’re divided into two camps. My husband’s burger mix is so loaded it doesn’t need to be dressed when it comes off the barbecue. For me, I want to taste the meat, leaving plenty of room for the sauces and sides to shine. There is no right or wrong way to make your patties, as long as you start out with a solid foundation like fresh ground, 100 per cent grass-fed beef from Getaway Farms.
If you’re looking for a lean, inexpensive and flavourful cut for grilling — the flank steak is sure to please. All it needs is a good marinade, a quick sear on high heat and a little attention when slicing for maximum tenderness. Serve it up on its own with a fresh chimichurri sauce, in fajitas, on a pizza or in a robust salad with avocado and blue cheese.
Some of the best moments of summer are the gatherings of friends and family. Turn Sunday dinners into Smoker Sundays. Congregate in a warm backyard, ice-cold beers in hand and revel in the beauty of sharing a low and slow-cooked brisket.
Lia Rinaldo, Managing Director, Devour! The Food Film Festival