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Grilling Tips from Allagash Brewing Co. and Noble Barbecue

Wood-fired grill

Given the love around our brewery for a good sizzling grill, we wanted to share some of our favorite tips. We also enlisted the help of our friends at Noble Barbecue, who know more than a thing or two about lighting up a grill. Below, you’ll find grilling tips sourced from us at Allagash as well as Noble Barbecue Co-owner Ryan Carey.

Ryan has significant grilling experience. In addition to Noble Barbecue, Ryan caters all over Maine with his wood-fired catering company Fire & Co.

WHAT’S ON THE MENU?

Sure, you have your staples like burgers, hot dogs, chicken, steak. A variety of meat is always appreciated. But what we suggest is bringing out the fresh produce. Grilled peppers, grilled onions, even grilling a lemon to squeeze into an arugula salad. All very solid ideas.

The grilling veggie we’d highlight is fresh corn. No canned corn can compete with the fresh variety. To prepare, just shuck the corn and put some nice grill marks directly on the kernels. Once it’s all done—before the kernels start wrinkling—just add butter, salt, and pepper. Or if you’re looking for something more, add some cilantro and parmesan cheese for a simple, tasty take on Mexican street corn.

grilled corn

ACCESSORIES

Grab kitchen towels and multiple sizes of tongs and spatula (spatulae?). Especially if you’re grilling for a group, you’ll want to be prepared. Add to that a butcher board and a knife set for any grill-side cutting or dicing. Aluminum foil is also great to have on hand, for tenting meat, or even making up baggies of veggies. Three other essentials: a speaker, your favorite playlist, and a cooler for beverages.

AMBIENCE

People and music provide about 90% of the ambience at any barbecue we’ve ever been to. We’d recommend a simple tablecloth—red and white gingham never fails—along with compostable plates/utensils. No reason to throw out a bunch of plastic anymore. If you’re looking for lighting, stringing up a couple lines of white lights will add all the mood you need.

Allagash River Trip

FOOD AND BEVERAGE PAIRINGS

Most grilling happens during the Summer months, so we find ourselves gravitating toward lighter beverages. Most of our meals are centered around wood-fired proteins and fresh produce so something that is light on the palate and won’t overpower the food is best. Here are some specific pairings we love.

 

Allagash White and Red Snapper Dogs

If you’re looking for an authentic Maine experience, pair a can of Allagash White with a red snapper hot dog. Red snappers are a staple of Maine grilling. Travel to any camp and you’re sure to find at least one package of red snappers. Match that with a fresh can of Allagash White and a bit of sunshine? Now you’re talking.

 

Allagash River Trip and a Burger

The prevailing wisdom pairs burgers with hops. We don’t disagree. Hops are a nice way to cut through fat and bolder flavors in a burger’s toppings. Clocking in at only 4.8%, River Trip provides citrus notes—and even a pleasant melon-like note from the coriander—without going too high on the ABV. Our picks would be a classic burger with cheddar, or a texas-style burger with onion rings, BBQ sauce, and bacon.

 

Allagash Tripel and Oysters

We know oysters are typically served raw, but we’ve recently become big fans of grilling. The brine from the oyster not only complements and highlights aspects of the beer, it’s washed clean by the beer’s crisp carbonation, inviting another bite. Grill the oyster, add a small dollop of chimichurri, enjoy. In Tripel—a Belgian-style golden ale—there are notes as wide-ranging as honey, herbs, and passion fruit. The combination of oysters and Tripel creates a whole new combination of salt and sweet that really unfolds across the palate.

GAS OR CHARCOAL?

Neither. We’re going to be a little less conventional and say wood. Ryan is fortunate to have been cooking with wood for the past 7 years. Between wood-fired pizza, wood-grilled steaks or wood-smoked pork, he finds that nothing can compete with the flavor and ambience of a wood-fired grill. We’re inclined to agree. Grilling up a couple quick hot dogs is certainly easier over a gas flame, but if you really want a special experience, break out the seasoned wood. We’ll also add that the smell of wood smoke in the air, the sound of sizzling food over the crackle of logs, the visual of an open flame all set a wonderful tone.

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