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Beer brings out best in food

DIY workshop at Rogue Farms offers pointers on cooking

Julianna Burke, Thom Nhamnhouane and Eric Boyden (from left) watch as John Rodriguez cooks up chipotle whiskey-marinated chicken.

Photo by Emily Mentzer

Julianna Burke, Thom Nhamnhouane and Eric Boyden (from left) watch as John Rodriguez cooks up chipotle whiskey-marinated chicken.

December 18, 2013

INDEPENDENCE — Pub manager John Rodriguez made it look easy as he tossed chicken marinated in chipotle whiskey at Rogue Farms Micro Hopyard's do-it-yourself workshop on Sunday.

"Let the chicken marinate at least three hours," he said to the small group there to learn about cooking with beer. It's better to let it marinate overnight, he added.

Next up was barbecue sauce, made with juniper ale.

"The longer you cook this, the more the flavors will incorporate," Rodriguez explained about the freshly mixed sauce.

Barbecue sauce is simple to make from scratch and easy to customize, he said. The only rule is the 2-1-1 ratio: two parts ketchup, one part chili sauce, one part vinegar.

"The rest is up to you," Rodriguez said.

The cooking with beer workshop was free to attend and included samples of beer and food during the presentation. Samples of the marinade and barbecue sauce used, along with cookies made with oatmeal stout, were available for participants to take home.

Thom Nhamnhouane of Salem said he really enjoys microbrews, particularly Rogue. He saw the class posted on Facebook and decided to drive down.

Eric Boyden, also of Salem, said he hopes to start cooking more.

"Beer and food, what's wrong with that?" he added.

Julianna Burke and Dave Bard, both of Buena Vista, are regulars at Rogue's DIY workshops.

"They're hands-on participation kind of things, and it's fun," Burke said.

Sausage making and cheese making classes have been among their top favorites.

"By the time the sausage making was done, everyone had done something," Bard said.

Burke said she planned to try the juniper ale barbecue sauce.

"I keep making barbecue sauce, but I'm not quite satisfied with the results," she said.

Rodriguez has been cooking for 17 years, and dabbling with beer for the last five.

"When you burn off the alcohol you get to the root of that beer," he said. "It's always interesting to find out all the flavors that are really in there."

Using alcohol as a marinade helps tenderize the protein, Rodriguez said, but pairing the right beer with the right meat is crucial.

"Never cook fish with a stout," he said as an example. "It will overwhelm the flavor of the fish. A pilsner would work better."

Free do-it-yourself workshops are every month at Rogue Farms Micro Hopyard.

For recipes, check Rogue's Facebook page.