Bourbon, Beer and Beef Stew

Manly Beef Stew Big chunks of beef chuck make this hearty beef stew the perfect solution to a cold winter day.

Waking up this morning I was greeted by a gleaming white wonderland outside. It had snowed nearly a foot overnight, and the city looked bright and shiny with it’s newly minted facade. Being a relative newbie to the whole concept of snow, I was excited to go romp around the neighborhood and decided to head out to the New Amsterdam Wintermarket, despite L’s wise urgings to the contrary.

Indeed, with 2 foot snow drifts, lakes of grey slush and snow plows jettisoning brake dust Slurpees off the FDR onto the unsuspecting pedestrians below, I was wholly unprepared for the perils I’d be facing when I left the apartment this afternoon. After being nearly impaled by a two foot long icicle coming off a building I walked past, and narrowly escaping the aforementioned frozen shower off the FDR, I made it to the outdoor Wintermarket; and what a glorious place it was.

Browned Beef for Beef Stew

Situated right under the FDR near South Street Seaport, this open-air market has run monthly for the past 3 months in an effort to raise money to find a permanent home for the market. Vendors are organized by breads, dairy, meats, produce and prepared food and you can get everything from a plate of shucked oysters, to foraged roots, to a cheese and duck confit hot pocket with cran-apple mostarda. Best of all, the vendors are friendly and cheap. Case in point, I bagged a whole side of hot smoked bluefish from Acme Smoked Fish for $10, and Fleisher’s Grass-fed & Organic Meats gave me a over a pound of pork belly for free!

Beef Stew Meat

Loot in hand, I prepared for my trek back home, pondering what I was going to do with my bags of protein. I’m quite certain that some of you are going to accuse me of being sexist for what I’m about to say (and others may simply write this off as some sort of Napoleon complex), but as I headed home toting a few pounds of beef chuck, and a man sized appetite, I said to myself, “I need a manly beef stew”.

I’m talking about the kind of stew that a fella wearing red plaid flannel with a sun grisled face would chow on, the kind of solitary bad-ass that would sport a week of coarse stubble, not because it’s hip, but because he forgot to sharpen his bowie knife.

Bourbon Beer and Beef Stew

Manly man in mind, I started thinking about what would make a stew manly. The stew couldn’t be fussy (cause honestly, what man would be bothered with making a roux while in the prairie driving cattle), it needed to have manly ingredients (I figured beef, beer and bourbon was a good start), but most importantly, it had to be good eatin’.

The stew I came up with in a simple affair, made with a set it and forget it mindset. It benefits from a few hours of simmering, but beyond some chopping and browning, it’s the kind of stew that someone without much of a culinary disposition can make without much difficulty… perfect for a man.

Bourbon, Beer and Beef Stew

1 1/2″ cube of salted pork fat (a.k.a. fatback)
2 lbs well marbled chuck
1 Tbs fresh ground black pepper
1 Tbs kosher salt
3 Tbs flour
2 small onions chopped
3 cloves of garlic smashed
1/4 C bourbon
1/2 can of beer (chug the other half)
2 C chicken or beef stock
1 Tbs tomato paste (or ketchup)
1 bay leaf
10 juniper berries
2 large potatoes cut into 1″ chunks
2 large carrots cut into 1″ chunks
1 C peas

Cut the pork fat into 1/4″ cubes and add them to a large enameled cast iron pot. Put the pot over medium heat and let the fat render out. While that’s doing its thing, dry off any extra moisture on the beef. Toss the meat with the salt and pepper, then dust it with the flour, tossing to coat evenly.

When most of the fat has rendered out of the pork, add 1 layer of beef to the pot. Let this fry for about 4-5 minutes or until you get a nice crispy brown coating on the beef. This brown stuff is where all the flavor is, so more brown = better. Flip and brown the other side. Transfer the cooked beef back to the plate your uncooked beef is on (don’t worry it’s all going to get cooked more later) and repeat with the rest of the beef.

Add the onions and garlic to the pot and fry until soft and very brown (10-15 minutes). Again, brown = better. Turn up the heat to high and add the bourbon (you can light it with a match to satisfy the pyromaniac in you, but it’s not necessary). Add the beer and stock and bring to a boil. At this point you could skim off the fat and scum that floats up, but I didn’t have much, and it didn’t seem very manly to think about my waistline, so I let it be. Add the tomato paste, bay leaf and juniper berries and salt to taste. Partially cover with a lid and cook on low heat for 1 hour.

Add the vegetable and continue cooking for about another hour or until the meat and vegetable are tender. Add the peas, heat through and serve with a crusty heel of bread.

  • http://discoverbeef.blogspot.com/ Carrie Oliver

    Oooh, I’ve always used red wine in my beef stew, I will have to try bourbon, too. Great excuse for a Manhattan while I’m at it. Hope that the New Amsterdam Wintermarket finds a permanent home. Sure wish there were one of those in my neighborhood.

  • http://discoverbeef.blogspot.com Carrie Oliver

    Oooh, I’ve always used red wine in my beef stew, I will have to try bourbon, too. Great excuse for a Manhattan while I’m at it. Hope that the New Amsterdam Wintermarket finds a permanent home. Sure wish there were one of those in my neighborhood.

  • http://www.sassyradish.com/ radish

    Man, you had me at bourbon. And beer. This is perfect for snowy nights!

  • http://www.sassyradish.com radish

    Man, you had me at bourbon. And beer. This is perfect for snowy nights!

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    Nothing wrong with a “manly” stew…LOL! Beer and Bourbon are a marriage made in heaven. In an odd way, I envy your snow filled Christmas. All the best for the holiday season Marc.

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com Peter G

    Nothing wrong with a “manly” stew…LOL! Beer and Bourbon are a marriage made in heaven. In an odd way, I envy your snow filled Christmas. All the best for the holiday season Marc.

  • http://noobcook.com/ noobcook

    I like the look and sound of your “BBB Stew” It looks like a really luxurious plate and the flavours must be extra rich with the bourbon and beer.

  • http://noobcook.com noobcook

    I like the look and sound of your “BBB Stew” It looks like a really luxurious plate and the flavours must be extra rich with the bourbon and beer.

  • http://www.zoebakes.com/ Zoë François

    Oh, this is perfect! We are looking for a beef stew for Christmas dinner and this looks like just the thing. A nice departure from the red wine!

  • http://www.zoebakes.com Zoë François

    Oh, this is perfect! We are looking for a beef stew for Christmas dinner and this looks like just the thing. A nice departure from the red wine!

  • http://www.kalofagas.ca/ Peter

    Ahh chuck beef will give you a dish that looks this good with melt in your mouth chunks of beef. I must try beef and bourbon in a dish…only have previously had the combo in a bar!

  • http://www.kalofagas.ca Peter

    Ahh chuck beef will give you a dish that looks this good with melt in your mouth chunks of beef. I must try beef and bourbon in a dish…only have previously had the combo in a bar!

  • http://trissalicious.com Trissa

    The way you described the snow – it sounds beautiful compared to summer in Sydney! I would love to be snuggled up beside a fireplace with some of your gorgeous stew!

  • http://trissalicious.com/ Trissa

    The way you described the snow – it sounds beautiful compared to summer in Sydney! I would love to be snuggled up beside a fireplace with some of your gorgeous stew!

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com/ Chef E

    Oh Marc I am in touch with my manly side, and would so duel with you over my share of this succulent mouth watering stew!

    Funny but I too made a protein with bourbon and beer last night…after we unburied our cars from the parking lot snow…

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com/ Chef E

    Oh Marc I am in touch with my manly side, and would so duel with you over my share of this succulent mouth watering stew!

    Funny but I too made a protein with bourbon and beer last night…after we unburied our cars from the parking lot snow…

  • http://foodalogue.com/ Joan Nova

    Your ‘manly man’ beef stew sounds good to this lady, too!

    Happy holidays, Marc – and all the best in the new year.

  • http://foodalogue.com Joan Nova

    Your ‘manly man’ beef stew sounds good to this lady, too!

    Happy holidays, Marc – and all the best in the new year.

  • http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com/ Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    Brilliant to add bourbon! I will do that next time! Happy holidays!

  • http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    Brilliant to add bourbon! I will do that next time! Happy holidays!

  • http://dodol-mochi.blogspot.com/ Pei-Lin

    Mmm … Thanks for sharing this!! Looks yummy!! Love the addition of bourbon!! It’s nice to play with those liquers in cooking/baking!!

  • http://dodol-mochi.blogspot.com/ Pei-Lin

    Mmm … Thanks for sharing this!! Looks yummy!! Love the addition of bourbon!! It’s nice to play with those liquers in cooking/baking!!

  • http://colloquialcooking.com/ Colloquial Cook

    Hey Marc, your photo skills are evolving prodigiously and boy I’m likin’ what I’m seein’ :-D What other tricks do you have up your sleeve!

    Can’t believe you went to Acme, that’s my ‘hood! I’m dead nostalgic.

  • http://colloquialcooking.com Colloquial Cook

    Hey Marc, your photo skills are evolving prodigiously and boy I’m likin’ what I’m seein’ :-D What other tricks do you have up your sleeve!

    Can’t believe you went to Acme, that’s my ‘hood! I’m dead nostalgic.

  • http://www.brokenrecord.ca/foodblog camille

    I read the title to my husband, and he said “I want to go to there.”

    He’d have a problem with the juniper berries, though. Berries don’t qualify as manly in his world, no matter if you use them to make gin.

  • http://www.brokenrecord.ca/foodblog camille

    I read the title to my husband, and he said “I want to go to there.”

    He’d have a problem with the juniper berries, though. Berries don’t qualify as manly in his world, no matter if you use them to make gin.

  • http://www.lab247.net/ Jonathan

    Damn. i thought i was a man until today!

  • http://www.lab247.net Jonathan

    Damn. i thought i was a man until today!

  • http://www.tasteslikehome.org/ Cynthia

    I wish I lived near you!

    Happy Holidays!

  • http://www.tasteslikehome.org Cynthia

    I wish I lived near you!

    Happy Holidays!

  • Daniel

    What a cheerful stew to stir the winter slumber. I am glad I found our page.

  • http://CocinaSavant Daniel

    What a cheerful stew to stir the winter slumber. I am glad I found our page.

  • http://www.soyoufound.me/ joni

    Meeaaattt!! Mmmm… yummy, yummy! I love beef! *giggles

    • beefarino

      yummy yummy yes, but have you tried it?

      • http://www.soyoufound.me/ joni

        Umm no… But it’s beef! And it looks good!!

  • http://www.soyoufound.me joni

    Meeaaattt!! Mmmm… yummy, yummy! I love beef! *giggles

    • beefarino

      yummy yummy yes, but have you tried it?

      • http://www.soyoufound.me joni

        Umm no… But it’s beef! And it looks good!!

  • http://duodishes.com/ The Duo Dishes

    This is one recipe that must be tried. Nothing beats a hearty stew, especially with the flavors of beer and bourbon.

  • http://duodishes.com The Duo Dishes

    This is one recipe that must be tried. Nothing beats a hearty stew, especially with the flavors of beer and bourbon.

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  • http://www.lab247.com/ jzlandau

    Tomorrow's dish for the week.

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  • me0611

    What kind of beer do you suggest?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      What ever is on hand works great, but if you’re going shopping, try getting
      a stout.

  • neenz

    Hi marc! where can i find salted pork fat and juniper berries? can you also recommend some viable substitutes for both just in case i don’t find them? i’m making this dish this weekend and i’m so excited!! thank you for a great recipe! :)

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Salted pork fat (a.k.a. fatback) is used in southern cooking and can often be found with cured meats (like bacon and ham) at the grocery store. If they don’t have it you can substitute bacon. As for the Juniper Berries, they’re sold with spices. If your local grocery store doesn’t have it, there isn’t a really good substitute, but just add herbs or spices that you like (sage or thyme would be good options.

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