Just because Labor Day is upon us no reason to give up the grill. All summer long, bar shooter favorite Jagermeister has been promoting its "Charred BBQ" concept and recipe contest. On Thursday, August 29, the final three entries were cooked up by the staff at NYC's Miette Culinary Studio on Mulberry for a final end-of-summer showdown.
Judging the contest: A handful of food and drink media personalities (including your own New York Drinks Examiner), and celebrity judges chef/owner Chris Santos, frequent judge on the Food Network series "Chopped," Jose Mangin (director of heavy metal and rock at Sirius XM Radio), and brooklyn BBQ chef Daniel Delaney from BrisketTown (359 Bedford Ave, WIlliamsburg) and Smokeline (10th Ave and West 16th St).
The partnership between Jagermeister and charred flesh began late this spring, with Santos hosting an event designed to "Ignite the summer with an unexpected BBQ tasting" at Manhattan's Beauty & Essex (146 Essex St). The event included Jagermeister-infused grilled meats, with recipes created by Santos. The brand took the concept around to different cities throughout the summer and made an appearance in July at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans.
In June, the company then opened the pairing idea up to its fans online, sponsoring a Facebook contest—Charred: Earn Your Place at the Pit BBQ—to design new barbecue recipes incorporating the spiced liqueur. "I think maybe people have used Jagermeister before in cooking, but it wasn't something that was particularly prominent," said Jagermeister's Cliff Rigano, director of music marketing for Sidney Frank Importing Co., during the finals. "We tend to be used in other situations (he means celebratory shots), and this was a great opportunity for us to explore how else we might approach the brand. I'm not sure even we realized how far this could go."
Santos also provided his take on the booze-and-grilled-meat tack: "They are the seventh-largest brand in the country. They don't need to do this to draw attention to themselves. But the fresh ingredients used make sense, and the sugar content reduces really well, caramelizing the meat beautifully. I've long been a big fan of Jagermeister, and I think the integrity they bring is really important for this contest."
The liqueur, made in Germany outside Berlin, features 56 herbs and spices, macerated and aged for the flavor profile known and downed by social drinkers everywhere. Santos says he plans to incorporate some of his Jager-infused recipes onto menus at his NYC restaurants, Stanton Social or Beauty & Essex.
For the finale, we tasted three recipes—one beef, one chicken and one pork—that had been winnowed down by Santos from dozens of submitted choices (first narrowed from hundreds submitted for the contest). We were asked to rate the dishes on their overall quality and presentation, their use and balance of Jagermeister, and how the dish paired with a basic "Beer and a Deer" (beer and a shot of Jager).
Scores were tallied, and the winner was Hog: Jagermeister Thai Curried Pork Ribs, a delectable recipe submitted by Loanne Chiu of Fort Worth, Texas. The succulent and flavor-packed ribs are easy to make and perfect for summer (and fall) grilling (recipe below). Runners up were also tasty: A moist Jagermeister-Scented BBQ Chicken, with a pureed take on a Jager-themed chutney, and the Screamin' Jager Burger, a slider-sized burger embedded with onions, Jack cheese and sriracha sauce, and covered with a jalapeño ailoli. Side salads and vegetables were not judged as part of the dish. With each dish, different elements of the Jager spices were highlighted. The Beer-and-Deer pairing worked most beautifully with the burger. The ribs were the most balanced.
Along with the food, judges were treated to nicely balanced cocktails—the Smash and Grill and Black and Charred (recipes below)—again increasing the options for taking your Jager in non-shot forms. Summer may be winding down, but with football season just kicking into high gear, there is no reason for the grilling to stop.
Jagermeister Thai Curried Pork Ribs
(by contest winner Loanne Chiu)
- 1 1/2 cups Jagermeister, divided
- 13.5 oz Canned Coconut Milk, divided
- 6 Tblspns Thai Red Curry Paste, divided (adjust to taste)
- 1/4 cup Fish Sauce, divided
- 6 Tblspns Brown Sugar, divided
- 3 Tblspns Grated Garlic, divided
- 3 Whole Chinese Star Anise, divided
- 4 Pounds Baby Back Pork Ribs
- 2 Tblspns Soy Sauce
- 2 Tblspns Fresh Lime Juice, more to accompany
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil
1) Fill a large pot with 1 cup Jagermeister, 1 cup coconut milk, 4 tablespoons red curry paste, 3 tablespoohs fish sauce, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 1/2 tablespoons garlic, and 2 tablespoons star anise. Simmer five minutes and transfer to a roasting pan.
2) Remove membrane from back of ribs and cut into pieces, about 3 to 4 ribs per portion. Place ribs in the roasting pan, cover tightly with fil and roast at 400 degrees for about 1 hour, or until meat starts separating from bone. Stir at least twice while roasting. Let pork cool in marinade until ready to grill.
3) Meanwhile, make glaze: In a small saucepan, mix remaining Jagermeister, coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce, sugar, garlic and star anise. Add soy sauce and 2 tablespoons lime juice. Simmer until liquid is thickened. Adjust seasoning to taste, especially the heat. Discard star anise.
4) When ready to grill, drain ribs. Oil grill generously and heat until hot. Spray ribs with non-stick spray. Grill ribs with bone side down and meat up. Grill over medium-low heat and baste ribs with glaze. Grill ribs about 5 minutes on each side and glaze often. Serve hot with more glaze on the side, and lime slices, if desired.
Smash and Grill
(by Todd Richman for Jagermeister)
2 oz. Jägermeister
- 4 thin peach slices
- 1/2 oz. simple syrup
- 1/2 oz. fresh lemon
- 5 mint leaves
- Mint sprig
Technique: Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with mint.
Black and Charred
(by Todd Richman for Jagermeister)
2 oz. Jägermeister
- 5 blackberries
- 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
- 1/2 oz. simple syrup
- Ginger beer
- Lime wedge
Technique: Combine all the ingredients except the ginger beer in a shaker and shake well, strain into the rocks glass, top with ginger beer and garnish with lime.
Jager Black Ice
- 1.5 oz Jagermeister
- 1/2 oz Lemonade
- 2 oz Unsweetened Iced Tea
- 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
- Small Handful of Fresh Raspberries and Blueberries
In a cocktail shaker, combine all ingredients. Add ice, shake well, and strain into a rocks or highball glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with lemon wheel, mint sprig and whole berries.
Thirsty for more? Check out National Spirits Examiner or NY Drinks Examiner.
Do you have a cocktail trend, new product, bar or teahouse you'd like me to review? Want to give me a heads-up on your favorite hot spot? Please email me at NYDrinksExaminer AT gmail.com. Or follow me on Twitter @roberthp.
FTC Disclaimer: The author sometimes receives product samples for review, which carry no cash value and cannot be re-sold, and sometimes attends press events such as lunches or cocktail parties, designed to promote a given product. The author is not paid by any alcohol manufacturer, retailer or distributor, or provided compensation apart from revenue from an assigning publishing company for editorial publication. Opinions are the author's own. By the way, you should be 21 or older to read this page. Author was invited to help judge the entries, and was poured copious amounts of Jagermeister to pair with the 'cue, but was not otherwise compensated. Author will be making those ribs soon.