Beer is more than just a magical, refreshing beverage. It’s also a secret culinary weapon we use to up our grilling game. Believe it or not, beer actually contains enzymes that help tenderize meat — so while we were pouring some of our favorite summer brew into our mouths this weekend, we also poured it into a marinade for spicy sriracha wings.

Our beer of choice for these easy buffalo wings is Oberon Ale, the quintessential summer seasonal from Bell’s Brewery in Michigan. This wheat ale has refreshing citrus notes that are perfect for the marinade. We tend to stay away from bigger beers when we cook chicken. A big IPA will create unwanted biter notes while the bold flavors of porters or imperial stouts are better suited for lamb and other game meats.

In addition to being great for a marinade, Oberon Ale will cool off your mouth in between bites of spicy food — so be sure to have a few cold bottles ready to go when the wings come off the grill.

Grilling-Spicy-Beer-Wings

Beer and Sriracha Buffalo Wings

3-4 pounds chicken wings
1 bottle Bell’s Oberon Ale (or your favorite summer beer)
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 Tablespoon brown sugar

For the sauce:
½ cup butter (1 stick)
4 cloves garlic, diced
2 Tablespoons Italian parsley, roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons brown sugar
½ cup sriracha sauce (or more if you like it hot!)

Spicy-Beer-Wings

Carefully combine the beer, salt, pepper, paprika and brown sugar (the beer will foam up when you add the salt so do it slowly) in a gallon-size freezer bag. Add the wings and allow them to marinate for 1 to 2 hours in the fridge.

Prepare your grill for indirect grilling with the coals raked to one side. Grill the wings directly over the fire, constantly turning them to make sure they don’t burn. Once they’ve browned, but not burned, move them to the other side of the grill, cover them with the lid and allow the wings to cook indirectly for 15 to 20 minutes until they are fully cooked. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, paprika and brown sugar, and simmer on low for a few minutes. Your kitchen will fill with the wonderful aroma of garlic. Pour the contents into a blender or a food processor (or use an immersion blender). Add the sriracha and pulse to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning and hot sauce level to your desired spice level.

Pour the sauce on the wings and mix to coat. Serve with ranch, blue cheese and lots of Oberon Ale.

Oberon Ale