The summer is upon us and that means we’re in for plenty of BBQs. Plenty of BBQs means there is plenty of opportunities to enjoy a glass of wine with the BBQ.
While barbecues typically call for people to enjoy a beer, there are plenty of wine and BBQ pairings that go together just as good, if not better.
The first step to choosing a good pairing is to know what type of BBQ you’ll be having. Different people have different ideas of what constitutes a good BBQ.
For many people, a BBQ means smoking meats such as beef and pork. However, some refer to a BBQ as grilling meat.
What’s the difference between grilling and barbecue? BBQ refers to cooking food at a low temperature for a long time.
Grilling is the opposite, where food is cooked at a high temperature over a short amount of time.
The reason we told you all that is that the kind of BBQ you have affects which wine you should have with it.
We’ve broken our pairings down into two categories – slow-cooked BBQ and grilled barbecue.
The Two Rules To BBQ And Wine
- Our cardinal rule of food and wine is that you should never serve food sweeter than the wine. What does this have to do with BBQ, given that it’s not very sweet? Well, you’d be surprised. Don’t forget that BBQ meat tends to have a lot of sauce on it. Some of those sauces get pretty sweet.
- The slow-cooked variety of BBQ often involves using lots of sauce when cooking. This sauce can cause issues when pairing with wine. Sweet sauces require sweeter wines. A vinegar-based sauce does well with a dry and heavy wine. In this case, you’ll want to pair the wine with the sauce and not the meet because the sauce is often the dominant flavour. Of course, you can use a meat and wine pairing if you aren’t BBQing with sauce.
BBQ Food And Wine Pairings
Hamburgers are a natural pairing for medium-to-heavy-body red wines. In particular, we like to pair hamburgers with Merlot, Zinfandel, or Cabernet Sauvignon.
The fattier your hamburger meat is, the heavier the wine you pair with it should be.
2. Hot Dogs
Why not pair up wine and hot dogs? It’s all meat at the end of the day, right? Well, even if you don’t want to know for sure what meat goes into your hot dogs, it’s true wine and hot dogs go together better than you might expect.
The reason is that hot dogs are the ultimate blank canvas that goes with everything, depending on what you have with them.
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, and Riesling are great wines for lean hot dogs without BBQ sauce and ketchup.
Planning on having sauce with your hot dogs? Then you should go with a Tempranillo or Zinfandel wine.
Steak and wine is a great choice. If you’re going for a tender steak such as a filet mignon, then we recommend using a light red wine with it.
A lighter Sangiovese or Pinot Noir is a perfect choice. For heavier steaks, you should bust out the Petite Sirah, Syrah, or Cabernet Sauvignon you’ve been saving.
4. Other Sausages
Hot dogs aren’t the only sausages served up at BBQs. Most sausages are fatty in nature, so you should stick with red wine. Follow the advice we had for hamburgers as both are fatty ground meats.
5. Fish And Shellfish
We recommend having Viognier with your fish if you haven’t put any sauce on it. Riesling and Chardonnay are other good pairings. This is also one of the times you can get away with drinking Sauvignon Blanc.
6. Grilled Chicken
Grilled chicken goes well with white wine if you don’t use BBQ sauce to make it. Albarino is a particular favourite here, but any white wine gets the job done.
So long as it isn’t too sweet. If you have used a sauce with your chicken, then we recommend pairing the wine with the sauce rather than the chicken itself.
BBQ Sauce And Wine Pairings
As mentioned before, slow-cooked BBQ meat is typically cooked covered in sauce so the wine you serve with it depends on the sauce and not the meat.
You can pair any meat with a suitable wine depending on the sauce. Even if you grill meats in heavily-flavoured sauces, you can find the right wine by looking through this section.
1. Sweet BBQ Sauce
Sweet wines such as Gewürztraminer or a US Riesling work well with sweet sauces. If you insist on having a red wine, then check for sweeter Shiraz and Zinfandel wines.
2. Vinegar-Based Sauces
The tarter the sauce, the heavier the wine. Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon are great choices here. Consider using a Petite Verdot if you want to stretch your tastebuds.
3. Mustard-Based Sauces
If your sauce isn’t too sweet, then you should use a medium-body red wine with it such as a Merlot. A bigger Sangiovese is also a good option to consider.
There’s nothing like the summer holidays. It’s time to fire up the grill, pop a bottle of wine, and have yourself the ultimate BBQ with wine.
Keep our wine pairings in mind when you plan your BBQ and this will create a fantastic weekend.
Follow our tips on wine storage to avoid spoiling the quality of your wine.