Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

Brining Meat With Homebrew

I got an email from Mike today asking me about brining turkeys.  He found a recipe from Sean Paxton that uses beer in the brine.  He was debating using beer because he was taking into consideration the taste buds of his guests – maybe they wouldn’t be into their Thankgiving turkeys to taste like beer.

I wasn’t sure how much beer they would taste in the turkey after it was done roasting.

So I throw it out to you:  Have you ever brined meat with homebrewed beer?  If yes, how were the results?

Also, when cooking with homebrew, what are your favorite applications?

Leave comments below.  If you haven’t left a comment on our blog before, I will have to moderate it.


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  1. Rich P.

    I cooked pretty frequently with beer (homebrewed and otherwise), but only with beer that isn’t hoppy. Because the cooking process actually increases the bitterness of the hop compounds, you can end up with some pretty vile food; especially for people that don’t really like beer. I would imagine the same thing would happen if you brined with something hoppy. Therefore, I would stick with TRADITIONAL brown ales, porters, goldens, milds, etc. I say “traditional” because American breweries seem to love to over-hop beers and still refer to them as the original beer style. If in doubt, taste the beer first. If there’s a noticeable hop presence, be careful about cooking with it.

  2. JW


    Using beer in a brine is a great idea – we seem to do it all the time with chicken and it has never let me down. Besides protecting the meat from drying out during cooking, the brining process will infuse flavors into the meat giving it a richness and depth that make the meat taste wonderful.

    As for your concern about non-beer drinkers having disdain for a beer soaked turkey, its not really that much of a concern, as long as you stay away from certain beers and don’t over brine the meat. As Rich P. mentioned, stay away from anything ‘hoppy’ when brining. The malty beers work great – brown ales, red ales, hefe, american wheat, etc. You can use porter aor stout, but you’ll need cut the brining time in half so you don’t overpower. As long as you don’t overbrine it, the meat gets the added flavor while not tasting like ‘beer’.

    Hope this helps. Let us know how it goes.


  3. chris

    Dry Stout or porter or brown ale in slow cooked beef stews. Can’t beat it.

  4. This is what I went with for a brine for my turkey.
    2 cups of kosher salt
    1/3 cup brown sugar
    1 gallon water
    0.5 gallon of sodium free vegetable stock
    0.5 gallon of Belgian Wit

    Even hours after slicing the bird the meat was still juicy. I microwaved some at lunch today and it was STILL juicy! No overt beer flavor in the turkey either, FYI.

  5. Mike Adams

    I use beer in a chicken recipe.
    I made a pale ale and have used it as a base for some slow cooking chicken.
    Add chicken to crock pot, pour in whole beer.
    Top with water.
    Cook on low 8-10 hrs.
    Remove chicken and let cool enough to handle.
    Remove from bones and shred chicken.
    Add BBQ sauce and serve on buns.

    We usually add the BBQ, then vacuum seal and freeze.
    Thaw and re heat for a quick and tasty meal!
    This is done in our small crockpot. When we make more than that just up the beer and top off with water.

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