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Jun 18, 2008 06:29 PM

Beer for braising pork belly

I have some pork belly that I want to braise and normally that's done in either chicken stock or white wine, but I was considering trying a beer instead. Any recommendations of a beer that might work or is this a bad idea? Would mead or cider (maybe calvados) work better than beer?

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  1. Interesting idea. I'd probably try a nut brown ale or a porter.

    1 Reply
    1. a dunkel doppelbock would be good. a bit of sweetness goes nicely with pork. paulaner salvator's probably easiest to find.
      could also try aventinus, a wheat doppelbock by schneider. lots of clove flavours going on, which also could go nicely.

      1. Where are you??

        If you can get your hands on some Australian "Beez Kneez" honey beer, I reckon that would work a treat!

        4 Replies
        1. re: purple goddess

          I'm in San Diego.

          I ended up braising them last night and I'll see how it turns out for dinner tonight. I was having a hard time deciding which one to do so I actually used 4 different types of beer in different pans. I used Alesmith Nut Brown, Mountain Meadows Sierra Nectar Wildflower Mead, Maui Brewing CoCoNut Porter, and Strongbow Cider. We'll see which one turned out best tonight.

          1. re: DougOLis

            Sounds awesome. Look forward to finding this out.

            1. re: DougOLis

              i would say it makes little difference unless you use the braising liquid in some way afterwards. i'm a chef at a brew pub and use beer as a braising liquid often. as long as you stay away from hoppy beers (hops are great in beer but pretty well suck in all other food), the subtle differences in beer don't seem to come out in the meat. my advice, don't spend a lot of money on your braising liquid.

              1. re: chrisandbetsyc

                You were quite right. There really were not a lot of differences between the 4 meats. I feel like you can alter the taste more by using a different cure before the braising. I made some sauces for each of them with their drippings and the remaining liquid, and in that you could taste the different beers but even that wasn't hugely pronounced. The Nut Brown and Porter sauces tasted quite similar.

          2. I recently braised beef twice with beer. The one with Chimay was really good, the one made with Guiness was not bad but I didn't like the bitter aftertaste. I think Chimay would also work for pork belly.

            1. I think that you would want something balanced more on the malty side of things rather than the hoppy side. Salvator or Optimator would certainly be good choices, even if they would be overkill.

              Now, don't laugh at me... but you would probably do just as well with a 40 of Steel Reserve or Haffenreffer...perhaps with a just a few ounces of Guinness added for its "roasty" character. I have braised pork shoulder in these stron, malty cheapies (with a generous dose of Noble Rose paprika, and freshly ground black pepper) and the results were incredible.