Wine-Pairing Tips for Grilling and Barbecuing

grilling-2491123_1920I ran across a statistic the other day that I found hard to believe: 75 percent of Americans own a grill — which is a higher percentage than own a dishwasher.

One of the biggest grilling weekends of the year is upon us, and that means a review of the lingo might be worthwhile. After all, you don’t want to insult practitioners of the art of barbecuing.

Here’s the main difference: Barbecuing is undertaken slowly with a low fire, whereas grilling takes place at a much faster pace.

Whichever activity you plan to pursue this weekend as we celebrate the Declaration of Independence, keep in mind the one hard-and-fast rule of wine pairing: Select a wine that will complement the main flavor of the dish.

And with either grilling or barbecuing, virtually all other “rules” are out the window.

With a thick, juicy steak, it’s not just about the beef; it’s about the rub, or perhaps the type of coals or wood chips being used.

With a hamburger or hot dog, it’s not just about the flavor of the patty or the link; it’s largely about the condiments.

With pork chops or other cuts of meat, the marinade used comes into play.

Honestly, unless you’re seeking the “perfect” pairing, it’s hard to go wrong with almost any “big” red wine. Think: Cabernet Sauvignon, Barolo, Zinfandel or Syrah/Shiraz.

If you’re dining on fish or chicken, and would prefer a white wine, both Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay can be great choices.

And if you’re hosting a lot of people and need just a few bottles that are likely to please virtually everyone, opt for a rosé-style wine and a sparkling wine. They’ll refresh the palate and complement beef, poultry and fish, as well as rubs, marinades and flavors from the grill.

Finally, don’t worry if you have a grill but don’t have a dishwasher. Wine glasses should be washed by hand anyway.

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Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes
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