Camping Edition: Whiskey BBQ Chicken and Coleslaw Beer Pairing

Warning! This post is filled with camping fun that may make you want to grab your tent and head to the woods to enjoy a delicious campfire dinner.

Andrew and I went camping last weekend for the first time since moving to northern Nevada. Ahhhhh nature how I've missed you! Camping is one of my favorite ways to relax and wind down...and usually to hang out with friends. But this time, for the first time since we started dating, it was just me, Andrew, and the dog...

This camping trip was different though because my love of cooking meal planning is starting to get out of hand. Gone are the camping days of hot dogs and beans and boring sack lunches. This time I researched and planned every meal in advance. On top of that, my sister bought my husband The Great Outdoors Cookbook by Sunset Magazine and the pictures in this book  have had me itching to get out to nature and cook over a fire. And by that I mean have Andrew do all the work of getting the fire going.

I'm quickly realizing that the key to eating well on camping trips really is preparation, which is such a win-win now that I've come to terms with my obsession of meal planning. I knew we wouldn't be getting into camp until the sun went down the first night so I prepared marinated steak kabobs that we could just throw on the grill while setting up. Then for the next night's meal, Whiskey BBQ Sauce Grilled Chicken, I made the barbecue sauce and chopped all the vegetables for the coleslaw the day before we even left on the camping trip. This way, minimal dishes were made dirty while camping (amen!) and we didn't have to work too hard to get our dinner on the table--all we had to do was cook the chicken and glaze it!

Kudos to Andrew by the way for starting our campfire without matches! (intentionally)

The Pairing

Okay, I have to admit that drinking good beer and pairing with food on camping trips is not on the top of my priority list. In fact, camping is one of those situations where I fully believe in "time and a place for every beer" and look forward to drinking PBR, High Life, Olympia, Hamms, or Ice House (yeah, I went there). Not to say you can't be drinking good beer on a camping trip by any means...its just when you're drinking beer all day like we do on camping trips, the lightest beer in weight and flavor work better in our bellies than heavier craft beers.

However, pack a few of the good ones to treat yourself at dinnertime. Especially with the dish I'm featuring on this blog post: whiskey barbecue glaze served with homemade coleslaw. The chicken has a decent amount of sweetness from the barbecue sauce so a beer with balanced malt (nothing too hoppy) will work well. There's also a good amount of char on that chicken so a beer with slightly roasted qualities is ideal to match that char.  These beers are my top picks in descending order:

  • Brown Ale (think Brooklyn Brown, Lost Coast Downtown Brown, etc)
  • Amber/Red Ale
  • Vienna Lager
  • English Pale Ale/ESB
  • American Pale Ale
  • Kolsch
  • Pilsner

The Recipe

This dinner was possibly the best I've ever had while camping. But I'm not taking credit for it, we indeed used one of the recipes in The Great Outdoors Cookbook my sister gave us. You do the majority of the prep work at home so putting it together at the campsite is a cinch! Just make sure to keep the sauce and the veggies for the coleslaw separated until only a few minutes before you eat it. I can tell why the recipe said to do that; the veggies soaked up the sauce pretty quickly and could be mushy and gross if you let it sit too long before eating.

I hope you enjoy this recipe next time you go camping! I found a digital version of this recipe so click here for the directions. I'm looking forward to finding more camping recipes to pair with beer or wine for our next camping trip!

Happy Camping and Pairing!