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Pairing w/ BBQ

As a wine novice (hopefully beginning a very long journey thru the grapes) and after reading the Pairing with Pork thread.............I am a fanatic BBQ/smoker: Chicken, Pork, Ribs & Brisket, all smoked primarily with sweet woods (cherry/apple), occasionally hickory/mesquite. Tend toward a Carolina-style vinegar-based sauce & sweet/savory rubs.
Would like to begin to move away from traditional beer/bourbon drinks, looking for suggestions.
As always, thanks for the constructive ideas.

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  1. "Tend toward a Carolina-style vinegar-based sauce & sweet/savory rubs."

    My personal taste does not agree with dry red wines and BBQ with sweet or vinegary sauces/rubs. I don't think it works and will show the wine in the worst light.

    Course, then again, IMO dry red wine with chocolate is an abomination.

    Wine with smoked meats can work very well.

    You don't like beer or bourbon drinks with BBQ? You note you are not even particularly a wine drinker - fine wine does not have to be a suitable match for everything.

    All that said, why don't you try drinking some wine you like with BBQ and see how it turns out?

    2 Replies
    1. re: FrankJBN

      It's not that I don't enjoy a beer and/or boubon with the Q; I'm looking for a new taste; an opportunity to explore and enjoy a new passion in wines

      I do appreciate the comment to drink what I enjoy. As I'm trying to develop a 'palate', I'm open to all.


      1. re: FrankJBN


        Thanks for the reply

        I agree, the dry reds have been a bit harsh with the Q.

        It's not that I don't enjoyed the suds & occasional bourbon; just exploring new idea, hoping to pair with a new found enjoyment of wine.

        Do appreciate the comment to drink what I like; still trying to find ny 'palate' so to speak

        Thanks again

      2. have enjoyed many zinfandels with all sorts of Q.......try it and see what you think.

        1 Reply
        1. Riesling. Spatlese or riper. Just did that recently with some rubbed and smoked pork shoulder with a Carolina-type sauce. Worked out well. For reds, I agree with the zinfandel rec, as long as the wine isn't too alcoholic and the food too spicy hot. You might also like a California Syrah, California Petit Sirah, or Australian Shiraz. Those can handle bold flavors.

          1. You're in luck. I, like you, have a large well used smoker and am also a big cork dork with a wine cellar that I've maintained for well over 20 years. I too sometimes do a mustard based vinegar sauce and other spicy/sweet rubs that can be challenging to pair with wine. I agree that Zin is great BBQ wine. I also think a good Sangiovese or Tempranillo works with BBQ. But believe it or not my absolute favorite BBQ wine is a good dry Rose served very cold (on a hot day I'm not averse to an ice cube or two). A Bandol or good Rhone driven rose are hard to beat in my opinion. Though recently I had a Roxy Ann Tempranillo rose that rocked it with a smoked pork shoulder. Unfortunately only 60 cases were made, but there are others like Gundlach Bundschu that make a good Tempranillo rose. Terry Hoage Cellars currently makes my go to Granache driven Rose for BBQ right now, called Bam Bam.

            I too like to experiment with all kinds of wood. I don't like Mesquite very much and find a little Hickory goes a long way. I probably like fruit woods the best. I have a plum and nectarine tree I chopped down last year that I really like the flavors from, but my favorite is our local Manzanita wood. It was the traditional wood used by the Native Americans in our area for smoking and provides a nice mild sweet smoke flavor. It burns longer and hotter than just about anything else. A friend of mine just sent me some Arkansas Hickan (Hickory Pecan hybrid) from his Father's farm that is really very good. I highly recommend it if you can ever find.

            1 Reply
            1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

              Agree about mesquite as a BBQ wood---it is a direct grilling wood that burns very hot, but has little smoke flavor. Agree on your red wine suggestions, I would add Dolcetto and Beaujolais, also served quite cool (dare I call it cold?). I'm not a rose drinker except Champagne, but I can see how it would work. Good suggestions.

            2. For Carolina-style vinegar-based sauce & sweet/savory rubs I'd consider a halbtrocken Riesling. The wine will have its sugar (it's a sweeter wine) balanced by acidity; but it will register well on the palate again considering the saucing.

              1. Thanks to all for the great advice!
                Have been competing/judging on the BBQ circuit for awhile; excited about beginning a journey thru the grapes. Always looking for advice, so please share.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ocpitmaster

                  Competing and judging on the BBQ circuit sounds like a dream job. Alas, I cook only for family and friends as an avid enthusiast.

                  PS - Wouldn't advise injecting meat with wine unless you have already boiled off as much alcohol as possible and then add it to other liquids. Tends to dry out your meat otherwise. I also used to add wine to my water bath, but found that this also leads to drying out the meat.

                2. From that description, Zinfandel comes immediately to mind, and especially the Edmeades Alden Ranch (not sure if they are currently producing from the Alden Ranch fruit?).


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    Was gifted an Edmeades Sangiacomo, iirc, many years ago that was stellar, searched high and low for sometime afterwards with no luck, curious if you ever ran across it?

                    1. re: PolarBear

                      Over the years, I have had many single vineyard offerings from Edmeades, and all have been good, though some, like the Alden, require the right food to pair with. I know that I have had a few Sangiacomo Zins, but cannot swear that they were from Edmeades, or another producer. Ought to have notes around here somewhere, but finding them would be another issue.

                      Even after the Kendall-Jackson conglomerate acquired them, Edmeades still had the autonomy to produce some interesting wines. Not sure how things are now?


                  2. BBQ Pork: I like a richer red here (zin, shiraz, sangiovese).
                    BBQ Chicken: chardonnay or riesling. Chardonnay especially nice if heavily smoked. The more heavily spiced & sauced I favor riesling.
                    BBQ Brisket: ditto richer red.

                    BUT, if I can only pick one varietal here it's riesling... around spatlese. It works with the smoke, the rich spices, the sauces, everything you're describing.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: TombstoneShadow

                      Thanks for the input
                      Smoked a picnic shoulder & racks of ribs over apple wood this weekend; paired with zinfadel & riesling. Both tasted great-nice balance with the vinegar-based sauce.
                      Up next, a pepper-crusted eye round beef roast.

                      1. re: ocpitmaster

                        Pepper-crusted roast beef: Cabernet can't be beat here. Shiraz a close second...

                        ...but again you're where any very rich red is going to be nice.

                        1. re: ocpitmaster

                          My vote would be a Tempranillo or possibly a Super Tuscan.