Joe Sixpack and Chef Coleman cook it out

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YOURS TRULY is teaming up next week with chef Jim Coleman and Flying Fish Brewing for a barbecue dinner, and you’re invited.

Coleman, who flips burgers and creates cuisine at the Normandy Farm hospitality center in Montco, has put together an over-the-top outdoor menu. Forget the wieners, we’re talking Bali Shrimp and Seafood Mousse Sate with a Peanut Chile Sauce.

Meanwhile, Flying Fish beer chief Gene Muller is pairing each dish with one of his summertime favorites. That means fresh kegs of Farmhouse Summer Ale, XPA and other tasty brews.

And me? Hell, I’ll be gorging and guzzling, pal. See ya there.

Here are the details:

Coleman, Fish and Sixpack at Normandy Farms (Route 202 and Morris Road), 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. It’s casual buffet-style with no formal seating. Music by Eddie Bruce. $24.95, not including tax and gratuity, 215-616-8500.

Beer and barbecue go together like, well, beer and almost anything else. On the off chance that you can’t make it to our cookout, get a jump start on the grill this steamy weekend. Crack open a cold one and read on.

A sixpack of pointers

  1. Keep the beer cooler at least 10 feet from your grill. No need to crowd the cook. Besides, you could use the exercise.
  2. Go ahead, dunk those bottles in ice. Usually, I recommend against serving most beer at less than 40 degrees because those arctic temps diminish the flavor. But don’t worry, a hot Philadelphia summer afternoon will take the edge off that cold in about 10 minutes.
  3. Use a timer while cooking. It’s amazing how easy it is to lose track of time after two bottles of IPA. A small, battery-operated digital timer costs less than 10 bucks at Fante’s.
  4. Open the bottle before putting the meat on a hot grill. If your bottle opener isn’t already in your pocket, your chicken will burn before you find one in the junk drawer.
  5. Use charcoal. Grill with gas and you may as well be cooking indoors. I’m sorry, this is not up for debate.
  6. Use a digital thermometer probe with a temperature alarm. Even if you’re already toasted, you’ll never char another filet.

What to serve

Relax, it’s a barbecue. Don’t get too wound up on matching the correct beer with each dish. Nonetheless, here are a few pairings that work:

Red meat: A fruity, hoppy ale, like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale.

Sausage: German beer, of course. I like a refreshing wheat beer like Ayinger Brau Weisse this time of year, but a dunkel (Penn Dark) might stand up even better to the spices.

Fish: Dry, light beers like Victory Prima Pils and Flying Fish Farmhouse Summer Ale.

Pork: A sweeter meat deserves a malty lager. Oktoberfest would be ideal, but it’s not on the shelf yet. Try Negra Modella or Troegs Bavarian Lager.

Chicken: Wash all that barbecue sauce down with a smooth, slightly sweet Newcastle Brown Ale or Saranac Black Forest.

Beer-butt chicken

This sounds like one of those stunts they came up with in the NASCAR parking lot, but it actually works.

Take one large whole chicken, remove all the gunk from its cavity and rinse it clean. Coat it liberally with your favorite barbecue rub (a combination of pepper, paprika, salt and sugar is a good start).

Open several holes in the top of a can of beer with a church key, drink one large gulp, then dump in half a handful of your rub. Try a flavored dark beer like Weyerbacher Heresey, an oak-aged imperial stout, or an absurdly hoppy ale like Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. (What to do if your favorite beer doesn’t come in a can? Let your dog drink the Coors, then pour yours back into the empty can, Einstein. )

Take the can and get intimate with the bird. Shove the can firmly but gently into the cavity without spilling the brew. (Note: Make sure chicken is already dead. )

Balance the bird upright above hot coals. Cover the grill and leave it alone for at least 90 minutes – two hours if you can wait.

When it’s done, carefully lift the chicken off the grill so you don’t spill the freakin’ hot beer. DO NOT DRINK THE BEER!

You won’t have to carve the bird – the delicious, tender meat will just fall off the bone. Serve with the same type of beer you were cooking with.


Tomorrow: Second annual Brew at the Zoo, Elmwood Park Zoo (1661 Harding Blvd., Norristown). Lions and tigers and beers, oh my! Featured will be 20 local brewers, plus food and live music. $35, proceeds benefit United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. Taps open 6-10 p.m. 610-275-2775.

Tomorrow: 14th annual Great Eastern Microbrewery Festival at Stoudt’s Brewing (Route 272, Adamstown, Pa.). Guzzle varieties from more than 50 breweries, then graze at the Best of the Wurst buffet. $35. Taps open from noon-4 p.m. and 7-11 p.m. 717-484-4386.

Wednesday: Summer Beer dinner at the Drafting Room (900 N. Bethlehem Pike, Spring House). A three-course dinner matched with primo brews from Belgium, England and Germany. Heather Peterson from Merchant du Vin, the Seattle specialty beer importer, will be guest speaker. 6:30 p.m. $49.95. 215-646-6116.

June 18: Harrisburg Brewers Festival (Locust and 3rd streets, Harrisburg). Twenty-seven breweries, music and food served in our state capital. Just don’t stand between Gov. Ed Rendell and the buffet table. Taps open 4-8 p.m. $25 advance, $30 at the gate, benefits Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. 717-671-4000.

June 21: Beer and cheese tasting at Cork Restaurant (90 Haddon Ave., Westmont, N.J.). Flying Fish beers matched with small plates and imports from Severino Cheese Co. 6:30 p.m. $30. 856-833-9800.

June 21: Midsummer Seafood Feast at London Grill (23rd Street and Fairmount Avenue, Fairmount). Four courses and four beers from Victory Brewing. 8 p.m. $60. 215-978-4545.

Joe Sixpack, by Staff Writer Don Russell, was written this week with a bottle of Oud Beersel Kriek. 


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