It’s no secret that certain foods pair well with certain beverages — just think about the traditional wine and cheese pairing, or bratwurst and beer. But one pairing that’s been gaining in popularity year over year is a uniquely American one: bourbon and barbecue. Pairing bourbon drinks with barbecue is a trend that is growing as quickly as the nationwide craze for barbecue is. Given that September is National Bourbon Heritage Month, it’s a great time to get on board the bourbon and barbecue bus.
If you think about it, pairing barbecue with beer makes perfect sense. Both are traditional delicacies that hail from the Southern United States. Down South, people learn how to barbecue in their backyards from a young age. It is the rare backyard that doesn’t have some kind of smoker in it. When it comes to barbecue, the lower the temperature and the longer the cooking, the better (hence, the name of our restaurant!). In the end, you have a meat that has been slowly smoked into a delicious, tender piece of barbecue.
Bourbon shares some similarities with barbecue when it comes to preparation. Both benefit from very long prep times. The longer you age a bourbon, the deeper and more interesting the flavor becomes. And as with barbecue, the quality and type of the ingredients is as important with bourbon. Just as great mesquite wood in your smoker will produce amazing barbecue, a quality, aged wood cask will help make bourbon intensely flavorful.
After all that smoking and aging time, there is nothing better than pairing a smoky bourbon with a tender hunk of barbecued brisket. The deep flavors of each play off each other in the mouth to make for a sublime meal. In fact, it is the deepness of both bourbon and barbecue flavors that make them perfect for each other. You don’t want to try drinking something light while you eat smoked brisket because a light flavor will be overwhelmed by the earthiness of the meat. Instead, next time you sit down to a plate of barbecue, make sure to pour yourself a beautiful Southern bourbon. It’s a match made in heaven, or the American South.