How to braise beef in stout for melt-in-your mouth tender meat.
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- Read on for relevant tips and step by step pictures (2)
Our beef in beer recipe is easily mastered and you can add it to your arsenal of beef dishes with confidence. It involves one of our favorite cooking with beer methods – braising and we’ve based it on a traditional Irish recipe for beef in Guinness.
The Irish dish is typically made with cuts like cross cut shanks and chuck short ribs. Commonly the dish is served as a stew. Some original recipes use carrots and many call for homemade herb dumplings.
We prefer the simplified version we present here. All you have to do is sear the meat, saute some onions, add beer and then slow cook until the beef is succulent.
Even though stout braised beef is suitable for any time of the year we love making it for Saint Patrick’s Day. It is unpretentious, loaded with rich flavors and pairs superbly with Irish stout.
Ingredients for Beef in Guinness
- Beef. Ideally, select osso buco style cross cut beef shanks (shown above) or beef chuck short ribs as they are most flavorful. Other types of beef for stew can work too. Traditionally the beef is cut into cubes. That being said we love to braise the whole center cut shanks when we get those because the bone marrow contributes so much flavor that it is sinful to miss out on it.
- Salt & pepper. To season the beef. Use liberally.
- Cooking oil. To sear the beef and then saute the onions.
- Onions. We like to use shallots or red onions, but yellow or white onions work just fine.
- Flour. Acts as a thickener. Either lightly coat pieces of beef before searing them or add directly to the softened onions, or both.
- Beer. Because this is fundamentally an Irish dish Guinness or a craft Irish stout is the brew of choice. Milk stout, porters and brown ales will work wonderfully as well.
- Brown sugar. Added to the braising liquid – it counters the faint bitterness present in Irish stouts due to the roasted barley in their grain bill.
- Spices. Thyme and bay leaf for the braising liquid and fresh parsley for garnish.
How to Make Beef in Beer
- Sear the meat first:
- Trim excess fat, season liberally and sear until each side is brown (#1 and #2 above).
- If using cubed beef, season liberally and brown on all sides without overcrowding the pan.
- Remove the beef and saute the sliced onion along with the thyme (#3). Add flour and cook for about a minute (#4), then deglaze with a bit of stout (#5) and scrape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan (#6).
- Add the rest of the stout, the brown sugar and the bay leaves (#7). Stir, add back the beef and bring to boil (#8). Once boiling cover and transfer to the oven.
About two and half to three hours later the meat will be incredibly tender and you can present the glorious results family style for a rustic meal or serve individually plated.
We are very partial towards the former and usually opt for fresh bread for mopping up the delicious juices. Other serving ideas are listed below.
TIP: Because excess fat is trimmed before cooking the meat typically you won’t have to skim fat from the braising dish.
Best Served with These Sides
- Beer potatoes
- Steamed kale – remove leaves from tough stem, give a rough chop and steam, then drizzle with seasoned melted butter
- Honeyed parsnips – blanch peeled parsnips, quartered lengthwise for 3-5 minutes, then toss with oil and honey and baked at 350 F until tender)
- Polenta – in the spirit of veal osso buco which is traditionally served with this side
- Mushroom risotto
- Orzotto (barley risotto)
More Guinness or other Irish stout, Irish red, porter, brown ale, or a winter warmer ale when in season.
If you’d rather open a lager go with schwarzbier, dunkel, bock or doppelbock.
Other Recipes You Might Like
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 2 1/2 lbs beef (cross cut shanks,* chuck short ribs or beef for stew, cut in cubes)
- salt and pepper (to taste, but use liberally)
- 6 medium shallots or 2 large red onions, sliced thin
- 4-5 sprigs fresh tyme, chopped
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 16 oz Guinness or other Irish stout**
- 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 300 F.
2. Trim any excess fat from the beef and cut in cubes. Season liberally with salt and pepper, gently dust with a bit of flour, reserve the rest of the flour. (If working with cross cut beef shanks leave whole and skip flour dusting).
4. Lower the heat to medium. Saute the onions with the thyme (if needed add a little bit more cooking oil).
5. When the onions are translucent stir in the flour, cook for about 1 minute and deglaze with some of the stout, scraping off brown bits from the bottom.
6. Add the rest of the stout, the brown sugar and bay leaves, increase the heat and stir. Add back the beef and bring to a boil. Cover and transfer to the oven.
7. Cook for about 2 1/2 hours or until the meat is very tender. You may start checking on it shortly after the 2 hour mark to get an idea of how much longer you want to cook it.
8. Remove from the oven and discard the bay leaves before serving.
*If you choose cross cut beef shanks consider cooking them osso buco style as shown in the pictures accompanying this recipe. The bone marrow flavors the braising liquid during cooking. You can always portion the meat once cooked and remove the bones.
**Other suitable beer styles for this dish are porters and brown ales.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 736Total Fat: 42gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 164mgSodium: 1295mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 2gSugar: 9gProtein: 53g