Be Bold: Serve A Big Red At Your Next Barbecue
Summertime is here, which means it’s time to drink cold beer and citrusy cocktails—or is it?
At summertime barbecues, most people flock to light, easy libations. But think about the food that is often served at these get-togethers: cheeseburgers, succulent New York Strip steaks and even pulled pork.
But this heavy fare would overpower most beers and cocktails, making the dining experience fall short of being, well, awesome. Refreshing white wines are also appropriate for the summer, but even they also don’t have the power to handle these substantial proteins.
You’re probably thinking: “Red wine in the summer? But it’s so hot outside!” Well, the key to drinking red wine in the summer is making sure you serve it at the proper temperature. In general, I feel that many consumers serve their reds too warm—no matter the season. To combat the heat and to make your red taste better, simply pop the bottle in a fridge or ice chest for 5-10 minutes. The slight chill actually makes the wine come alive.
So, at your next barbecue, don’t shy away from red wine just because it’s 80 degrees on the terrace.
Here are some favorite summertime pairings that feature grilled meats and busty red wines:
The Meat: Coffee-Rubbed New York Strip
The Pour: 2012 Treana Red Blend
Why It Works: When grilling a thick New York Strip with a coffee-based rub, use a wine with loads of flavor and a muscular tannic structure. The tannins in this Paso Robles blend of syrah and cabernet sauvignon will latch on to the fat and protein found in the meat, creating a harmonious sensation. Because the wine has aged in French oak, there are flavors of cocoa and spice that will enhance the coffee rub.
The Meat: Smoked Duck Breast
The Pour: 2012 Austin Hope Syrah
Why It Works: Most types of game require a hearty wine to stand up to the meat’s feral flavors. When it comes to duck, a red like syrah, with its notes of smoked meat and cracked pepper, is a natural fit. Plus, the wine’s lush yet powerful structure is strapping enough to handle the heady flavors from the hickory chips you used on the grill.
The Meat: Bacon Cheeseburger
The Pour: MV Troublemaker Red Blend 8
Why It Works: When you bite into a juicy burger, you want to wash it down with an easygoing red wine. A smooth, succulent blend of syrah, grenache, mourvedre and zinfandel like the MV Troublemaker will do the trick. It’s jam-packed with bold flavors, plus there’s a touch of smokiness to underscore the crisp bacon.
The Meat: Barbecued Pulled Pork
The Pour: 2013 Liberty School Merlot
Why It Works: It’s sad when people ignore merlot. It’s a classic grape, and it’s capable of making some of the world’s greatest wines. Due to it’s luscious acidity and velvety tannins, merlot pairs perfectly with the huge flavors and tender texture of this favorite picnic dish.
Recipe: Austin Hope’s Coffee-Rubbed New York Strip Steak
1/2 cup ground coffee beans
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
4 New York Strip steaks, approximately 14-16 ounces each
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil, to coat steaks
Preheat a grill to 400°F.
In a large zip-lock bag, combine the ground coffee beans, red pepper flakes, cumin, and paprika. Shake to mix thoroughly.
Rub the meat with the coffee-spice mix, and season the steaks with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the olive oil on the meat.
When the grill has heated, add the steaks and cook until the desired doneness is achieved, approximately five-six minutes per side for medium rare. Serves four.