Cooking with Beer Recipes

Beer Bitty

Smoked Porter BBQ Sauce & Grilled Chicken


I finally bought a DSLR! Why on earth did it take me so long to do that?? The day I started this blog I knew I needed to upgrade from ye olde point and shoot. We eat with our eyes and the 6 year old Lumix wasn’t doing the deliciousness justice! Yet, somehow it kept getting pushed to the back burner. Oops! Two years later I finally decided to follow the advice of Tom Haverford and declared a “Treat Yo Self Day” – best.idea.ever.

My excuse? A new job. One in the craft beer industry, no less! Clearly this was cause for celebration. This post is the result of a weekend spent photographing (and cooking). Some of the pictures were taken by yours truly, but most were taken by my digital designer of a boyfriend who’s probably even more excited about the new camera than I am.

Without further adieu, I present a post that, like the DSLR, is long overdue – Homemade Beer BBQ Sauce and Grilled Chicken slathered in aforementioned sauce.


  • 1 tbs. cumin
  • 3 tbs. ancho or chipotle chile powder
  • 2 tbs. smoked hot paprika
  • 2 – 3 tbs. crushed mustard seeds or powder
  • 1 – 3 tsp. ground red pepper or cayenne for kick
  • 3 tbs. unsalted butter + 1 tbs. canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, grated or finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
  • 15 oz. tomato sauce or 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup smoked porter
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cupworcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 2 tbs. brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine the cumin, chile powder, paprika, mustard seeds, and cayenne in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium low heat; add the canola oil. Stir in onion and garlic and gently cook until the onion softens.
  3. Sprinkle in the spices and stir occasionally until fragrant.
       Add the tomato paste or tomato sauce and ketchup; if using tomato paste, cook until the paste turns brick red in color.
  4. Mix in the molasses and brown sugar; simmer on medium heat, stirring often. Once the sugar has melted, pour in the beer, apple cider vinegar, and worcestershire sauce.
  5. Adjust heat to maintain a simmer without making a huge barbecue sauce mess everywhere, likely between medium low and low. This sauce will thicken and improve with time spent simmering away. Allow a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes, up to an hour or two. Don’t leave the sauce unattended, though! It can easily burn on the bottom of the pan and/or splatter all over the stovetop.
  6. Taste and season accordingly. This is the best part! Add more chipotle or cayenne if you prefer a spicy barbecue sauce. Stir in an additional tablespoon or two of molasses or brown sugar for a sauce that’s slightly sweeter. Vinegar based sauce fan? Pour in an extra 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar. If you prefer your sauce extra smoke, you could buy liquid smoke, but use in moderation – a little goes a long way.
Barbecue Chicken Ingredients & Recipe
  1. Butterfly one or two chickens depending on how many people you’ll need to feed, or how many leftovers you’d like. The Cooking Channel has a step by step tutorial on how to butterfly a chicken here. Generously season both sides with salt, pepper, and chile powder (used in this post: a New Mexico chile blend).
  2. Place on the grill and do not touch until brown; turn over and cook the other side.   
  3. Remove from the grill and slather in BBQ sauce. I typically transfer to a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil on a sheet pan and then place the foil with the chicken back on the grill. This prevents the BBQ sauce from sticking to the grates, which makes cleaning up exponentially easier. Close the BBQ lid and allow to cook for a few minutes undisturbed. Open lid, flip the chicken, and slather with more BBQ sauce. Close the lid again and cook until done. 
    Note: times are difficult to gauge when grilling as every grill is different. Total cooking time usually totals around 30 minutes, about 7 -8 minutes on each side to brown and another 7 -8 minutes per side after saucing up. If the chicken cooked a bit quicker during the browning, lower the heat. Adjust as needed to prevent overcooking.
Enjoy with a beer that stands up to BBQ Sauce, but isn’t too heavy or dark for warm Summer day. I suggest a Lagunitas Undercover Shutdown or Stone Levitation Ale.


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