It’s almost summertime and the trinity of summer Holidays — Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day — cry out for BBQ. For us, that means BBQ paired with wine.
Yeah, yeah — I know, summer time and BBQ means beer to most people but wine and BBQ pairings are great. Ah… but what type of wine to serve with your BBQ? We’re glad you asked (you did ask, didn’t you?) It comes in so many different varieties that choosing a wine to pair with BBQ can be difficult, but we’ve taken the mystery out of it and humbly offer up these great BBQ and wine pairings.
First, make sure you know what kind of BBQ you are having.
BBQ can mean many different things to many different people. In Texas, it’s most often slowly smoked beef. In the South East, it’s slow smoked pork with either sweet, mustard or vinegar based sauces. In the West, BBQ probably means grilled, not BBQ’ed. What’s the difference? BBQ means “low and slow,” the mantra for cooking over low heat for a long time.
Grilled is just the opposite. High heat, seared and done quickly. If you are doing the obligatory hamburgers and hot dogs, that falls squarely into this category. Why the quick dissertation on the differences for BBQ? Because the type of BBQ has a big impact on the type of wine you would choose to serve with it. We’ve broken the following out into two sections. The first is for the typical BBQ that you might have at a picnic; what we refereed to as grilled. The second is for true slow cooked BBQ with lots of sauce and smoke flavor.
Two rules to remember for BBQ and wine pairing
- Winery-Sage’s cardinal rule of wine and food pairing. Don’t ever serve a food sweeter than the wine you are drinking. Why is this so important for a BBQ and wine pairing post. Well…let’s mosey on down to point 2 and find out.
- BBQ, particularly the low and slow variety, often involves copious amounts of sauce and that sauce can be the problem for pairing your wine with BBQ. Sweet sauces need even sweeter wines. Vinegar based sauces do well with heavier, drier wines. Pair the wine with the BBQ sauce, not the meat because the sauce is likely to be the dominant flavor. if there isn’t a BBQ sauce, then you are good with the normal meat parings.
Grilled Food and Wine Pairing (Hot and Fast)
Hamburgers (assuming of course you haven’t smothered them in BBQ sauce) pair great with medium to heavy body Red wines. We like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel. The fattier the meat, the heavier and more tannic the wine should be.
Wine with Hot Dogs? Why not? It’s a meat right. Ok, maybe we really don’t want to know the answer to that but Hot Dogs are great with wine and because they tend to be a blank canvas for what sits on top of them, a wide variety of wines compliment them. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, a slightly fruity Pinot Grigio or even a dry Riesling are great for leaner hot dogs without Ketchup or BBQ sauce. If you are putting either of those on, go with a Zinfandel or a Tempranillo.
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