Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Poaching salmon in New Belgium 2 Below

By William Brand
Monday, February 19th, 2007 at 7:33 pm in Uncategorized.

Just poached some fresh salmon in beer, using a recipe I found on the Food Network,
but supplying a different beer. It was, I say modestly, pure dynamite. The best salmon I’ve eaten in many a year.

The recipe calls for “12 ounces beer.” I expect the creator envisioned a BudMillerCoors light lager. Not for me. Peering into my beer refrig, I reached for a Sam Adams Boston Lager. But then I realized that’s a golden pilsner with plenty of hops.

So, instead I picked up a bottle of New Belgium 2 (Degrees) Below**. Not my favorite beer of the winter crop, it has a dry, rough finish and I suspect coriander spicing. But New Belgium says no, it’s made with roast malt, Sterling and Liberty hops, cooled almost to frozen, then more hops were added during fermentation. Hmmm.

Anyway I have several bottles left from a sixer I bought, so I thought, why not. The hops are lost in the taste, so it wouldn’t make the salmon bitter. It was a champion food moment at my house.

Basically, the salmon in poached in the beer on the grill.
My hat’s off to cook Sandra Lee. Great recipe – with my choice of beer. Oh yes, I used a frozen garlic cube rubbed on the salmon and a bit of kosher salt. I cut the amount of brown sugar in half and used only about a half dozen thin slivers of butter. The salmon was wild coho salmon.

Here’s the recipe from the Food Network.
Beer Salmon
Recipe courtesy Sandra Lee
Show: Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee
Episode: Weekend Gathering

1 (12-inch) tail piece salmon fillet (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 teaspoons garlic salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Using aluminum foil, create an oblong cooking tray (approximately 13 inches by 8 inches by 2 inches) to be placed directly on grill. Place salmon fillet in center of tray. Season first with garlic salt, sprinkle with brown sugar, and then cover with pieces of butter. Top with sliced red onions. Pour beer of choice into tray to just below the highest point of the fillet. Cover tray with aluminum foil to envelope fish completely. Place tray on grill, cover with lid, and grill for approximately 8 minutes or until just cooked through.
Recipe, copyright, the Food Network.

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  • Brian Richards

    I have been searching for recipes to do some salmon tomorrow for lunch and I just came across Sandra Lee’s recipe that you referred to and then I came across your site back to back so I have decided to try her recipe and do what you did–add your own twist as far as beer is concerned. I have a Belgian Saison on tap that I brewed a few weeks ago. I think it’ll go nicely with the salmon.


  • William Brand

    Yes, that sounds about prefect Brian. Something about the spiciness of the saison marries with salmon, a fish that quickly become too dry.