What Does Beer Do to Meat?

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Meat is one of the most cooked foods worldwide, and there are endless ways to prepare it. One popular method is marinating meat with other ingredients, such as beer. This way, the beer can add flavor to the dish while also tenderizing it. So, what does beer do to meat?

What Does Beer Do to Meat?

Beer helps to tenderize meat by breaking down the proteins. It contains enzymes that work to break down the connective tissue in meat, making it more tender and flavorful. The alcohol in beer also helps dissolve fat, making the meat juicier. In addition, beer can add flavor to meat, depending on the beer one uses.

An image of marinated meat

When marinating meat with beer, it is essential to choose the right type of beer. For example, dark beer or stout will add a rich flavor to the meat, while a lighter beer will not add as much flavor. It is also important to avoid using a beer that is too bitter, as this can make the meat taste unpleasant.

The Procedure for Marinating Meat With Beer

The key point is not to overdo it. If you marinate the meat for too long, the beer will start to break down the proteins too much and make the meat mushy. Here is a quick guide on how to marinate meat with beer:

Choose the Right Type of Beer

Almost all beer contains enzymes that can break down the proteins in meat. However, you need to be careful while selecting the beer, as some of them can make your dish bitter. In this case, it is good to have a beer with middle or low bitterness.

Light beers will not add much flavor to your dish, while dark beers can make it bitter. So, it would be best if you went for a beer with moderate bitterness, hops, and malt. Amber ales, lagers, and wheat beers are some of the best options for marinating meat.

Prepare the Meat

If you are using a tough cut of meat, it would be best to tenderize it before marinating. You can do this by hammering it with a meat mallet or using a sharp knife to make crisscross cuts on the surface. This will help the beer to penetrate the meat better.

You can also soak the meat in beer for a few minutes before cooking to tenderize it further. You can add herbs, spices, and other flavorings to the beer during this time. This will help to infuse them into the meat.

Once the meat is ready, cut it into small pieces so that it will marinate evenly. If you are using a whole chicken or turkey, make sure to poke holes in the skin so that the beer and other spices can reach the inner flesh.

Place the Meat in an Enclosed Bag

Place the meat in a large resealable bag and add the beer. Seal the bag and massage it gently so that the beer coats all the pieces of meat evenly. You can also add other ingredients, such as garlic, onion, oil, and vinegar, to the bag.

The best plastic bag is ideal for marinating meat as it doesn’t leak. It also helps to get out the air from the bag, so the meat can be in contact with more beer. Be sure to marinate the meat in the refrigerator. If you marinate it at room temperature, the meat will start to spoil.

Cook the Meat

Once the meat has finished marinating, cook it as you normally would. You can grill, bake, or fry the meat. Be sure to discard the marinade, as it will contain raw meat juices that can cause food poisoning.

That is all there is to it! You can now enjoy your delicious beer-marinated meat. Remember to be careful while selecting the beer, and don’t marinate the meat for too long.

An image of a man grilling meat

Benefits of Marinating Meat With Beer

There are many benefits to marinating meat with beer that go beyond just the flavor. Here are some of the most notable benefits:

Frequently Asked Question

What Does Beer Do in Cooking Meat?

It helps to tenderize the meat by breaking down its proteins. It also infuses flavor into the meat and helps to keep it moist while cooking.

Can One Use Any Type of Beer for Marinating Meat?

No, you need to be careful while selecting the beer. Some beer can make the dish bitter. It is best to use a beer with moderate bitterness, hops, and malt. This way, the beer will add flavor to the dish without making it bitter.


Beer is one of the best liquids that you can use to marinate meat. It helps to tenderize the meat by breaking down its proteins. You can also use it to infuse flavors into the meat. The alcohol in beer also helps to kill bacteria. Therefore, you can use it as a safer alternative to other marinades.