Beer Pan Sauce for an Incredible Steak

April 7,2011 by 6 Comments

steak-pan-sauceCooking with beer is best when you can incorporate beer into something you already make on a regular basis. For me, that’s a rib eye steak.

There’s nothing like cooking a steak on the grill, but the drawback is that you can’t make a delicious sauce from all the juices, fats, and proteins that come off of it. That’s why I often pan fry them – to make a beer pan sauce.

Beer is perfect for this recipe because the alcohol does a great job at deglazing the pan. Wine is often used, but screw that. Only beer, and especially stouts, has the caramel and roasty flavors that go so well with a nicely crusted steak.

Beer Pan Sauce Ingredients and Recipe

  • 1 lb. steak. The rib eye is my steak of choice.
  • 6-8 oz. of beer. A stout is my favorite. Other good choices are brown ales, porters, or Scottish ales. Use something malt-focused. An IPA would not be good here.
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, rosemary, thyme

Some other things you could add to this are onions, shallots, garlic, or peppers. I like to keep it pretty simple but go ahead and experiment to your heart’s delight.


  • Pan fry the steak to your desired doneness (except well-done, for the love of God).
  • Remove the steak from the pan and over it with foil. You always rest a steak after cooking anyways so this is a great time to make the pan sauce.
  • Add enough beer to the pan so it’s 1/8-1/4 inch deep. Adjust the heat so it’s simmering. Stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up all the brown bits (called fond) that got stuck to the pan. Reduce the beer by half, which only takes a few minutes.
  • Cut the heat then add the butter and herbs. Stir them in well, then either pour the sauce over the steak or put it on the side. These sauces can be intensely flavored so you might want to put it on the side if you’re unsure.

That’s it! Easy, huh?

I’ll add that the type of pan is key in this. Don’t use a non-stick pan because that defeats the purpose. A cast iron or stainless steel pan is best for getting all those brown goodies to stick which you’ll then scrape up later.

Have you ever made a beer pan sauce? Do you like a good rib eye as much as I do?

About Billy Broas

He is the founder of The Homebrew Academy, a BJCP beer judge, and the homebrewing expert on the Rocky Mountain PBS television show Colorado Brews. He lives in the fine beer town of Denver, Colorado.

6 responses to “Beer Pan Sauce for an Incredible Steak”

  1. Brad says:


    Cool video and tutorial! I really appreciate the complimentary topics you discuss along with the homebrew discussions. Thanks!

    • Billy Broas says:

      Thanks Brad. What I love most about beer is the different sides to it – brewing, beer styles, cooking, pairing, etc. Which is why I try to cover them all. Glad you like it!

  2. That looks like a delicious recipe. I think I’m going to have to see what I need to buy from the grocery store to make this.

    • Billy Broas says:

      Hey Mike, definitely give it a try. This recipe is so great because it’s so simple. Once you cook the steak you already have the main ingredient for the sauce – the fond. Besides that, throw some butter and herbs in there and you’re good to go!

  3. Bill says:

    Very nice video! I’ve recently started pan searing foods as I just read about it in Alton Brown’s book.

    I’m definitely going to give your beer sauce a crack next time I fry up a nice steak in my cast iron rocket burner.

    If you dont’ mind, I’d like to suggest one thing I read in said book. If you rest the steak on top of a plate lined with chopsticks, or a rack of some sort, the juices will still run off and wont stay in contact with your beautiful crust (nice crust on that steak by the way).

    Thanks again!

    • Billy Broas says:

      Thanks Bill! Alton Brown is great. He would make a fantastic brewer, and I think he did actually do an episode on homebrewing. That’s a good tip for preserving your precious crust. Glad you shared it. Enjoy the sauce!

Leave a Reply