Three Zilker East Side Beer Turkey Brines

 Zilker Brewing’s East Side Beer will be available at select Austin retailers Tuesday, Nov. 20

Zilker Brewing’s East Side Beer will be available at select Austin retailers Tuesday, Nov. 20

This holiday season, we’re teaming up with our friends at Zilker Brewing Company to highlight the sacred bond between delicious beer and a meaty feast. And though the connection between drinking a cold beer and taking down a steak is familiar to many, today we’ll explore the role beer plays in brining animal protein. Beer contains enzymes that break down muscle fibers in meat and poultry, acting as a tenderizing agent. While beer alone has tenderizing properties, combining the brew with a saltwater solution (brine) creates a mix that denatures protein on two fronts. The result is meat with cells swollen with moisture, and, if combined with flavoring agents, bursting with flavor before a dry seasoning is even applied.


ESB: Zilker’s Seasonal Release is Great for Drinking and Cooking

Zilker’s limited release for the fall and winter is the East Side Beer, “a Texan take on an English classic.” While slightly bitter and bursting with malty goodness, the ESB (based on the English style Extra Special Bitter), provides a versatile smoothness that lays a foundation for building big flavors into brined meat. In general, using beers with mild flavor lends well to balanced meat flavor after cooking, because bitter flavors in beer are exacerbated by the high heat of the cooking surface. However, we don’t want to shy away from deeply flavorful brews, so the Zilker ESB makes a perfect candidate for brining; controlled bitter notes with a smooth, flavor-packed body.

Zilker ESB is scheduled for release by Austin retailers on Tuesday, November 20th.

Three Favorite Holiday Turkey Brines

Because we’re brining large holiday turkeys, these ingredient lists are presented per gallon of water.

Basic Beer & Herb

The bright notes of the beer in this mix contrast with the herby undertones of the wide selection of household seasonings. With a tinge of sweetness from a bit of sugar, this basic brine will infuse earthy notes into your bird while swelling the protein structures with tasty, beer-laden moisture.


Ingredients

  • 1 can Zilker East Side Beer

  • 1 cup salt

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 1 tbsp peppercorns

  • ½ bunch of thyme

  • ½ bunch of rosemary

  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, smashed

Citrus & Herb

This straight-to-the-point mix combines the bold flavors of Zilker’s ESB with the bright sweetness brought by the citrus and honey. While the sweetness wants to take over the flavor profile, it’s reined in by the slightly bitter notes from the beer, all atop that familiar herb foundation.

Ingredients

  • 1 can Zilker East Side Beer

  • 1 cup orange juice

  • 1 cup salt

  • 1 cup sugar or honey

  • 1 whole lemon with peel, halved and juiced

  • ½ bunch of rosemary

  • 1 tbsp peppercorns

  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed

Holiday Fruit

In this mix, the East Side Beer plays one of several flavor roles, all intended to evoke the tastes and smells of the holiday season. A combination of apple and orange adds a bright fruitiness, emboldened and supported by beer and herbs. The final touch is a bit of wintertime spice — the kiss of cinnamon ties the holiday flavor repertoire together.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can Zilker East Side Beer

  • 1 cup salt

  • 2 cups apple juice

  • 1 orange with peel, halved and juiced

  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1 tbsp peppercorns

  • 1 cup brown sugar

Try Zilker’s East Side Beer this holiday season to experience smooth versatility in a number of cooking settings. And remember, it never hurts to save a can to sample for taste and personal well-being while the brine warms up.

 
Thanksgiving Turkey
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