Survive Your Snow Day With Bourbon, Beer, and Beef Stew

Recipe and Photos by Marc Matsumoto

Winter has arrived in the Bluegrass, complete with icy winds and more snow than the state has seen in years. Simmer a pot of this easy, delicious, secret ingredient stew – and save the rest of the Bourbon for your snowed in selves. Find out more about this recipe for Bourbon, Beer, and Beef Stew here!


1 1/2 inch cube Salted pork fat (a.k.a. fatback)
2 pounds Beef Chuck
1 tablespoon Ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
3 tablespoons All-purpose
2 small Onions (chopped)
3 cloves Garlic (smashed)
1/4 cup Bourbon
1/2 can Beer (chug the other half)
2 cups Beef stock
1 tablespoon Tomato paste (or ketchup)
1 Bay Leaf
10 Juniper Berries
2 large Russet Potatoes (cut into large chunks)
2 large Carrots (cut into large chunks)
1 cup Frozen Green Peas


Cut the pork fat into 1/4″ cubes and add them to a large enameled cast iron pot. Put the pot over medium heat and let the fat render out. While that’s doing its thing, dry off any extra moisture on the beef. Toss the meat with the salt and pepper, then dust it with the flour, tossing to coat evenly.

When most of the fat has rendered out of the pork, add 1 layer of beef to the pot. Let this fry for about 4 5 minutes or until you get a nice crispy brown coating on the beef. This brown stuff is where all the flavor is, so more brown = better. Flip and brown the other side. Transfer the cooked beef back to the plate your uncooked beef is on (don’t worry it’s all going to get cooked more later) and repeat with the rest of the beef.

Add the onions and garlic to the pot and fry until soft and very brown (10 15 minutes). Again, brown = better. Turn up the heat to high and add the bourbon (you can light it with a match to satisfy the pyromaniac in you, but it’s not necessary). Add the beer and stock and bring to a boil. At this point you could skim off the fat and scum that floats up, but I didn’t have much, and it didn’t seem very manly to think about my waistline, so I let it be. Add the tomato paste, bay leaf and juniper berries and salt to taste. Partially cover with a lid and cook on low heat for 1 hour.

Add the vegetable and continue cooking for about another hour or until the meat and vegetable are tender. Add the peas, heat through and serve with a crusty heel of bread.

Caroline Paulus
Caroline Paulus is the Senior Editor for The Bourbon Review. She lives and writes in Lexington, Kentucky. Follow her on Instagram @misswhiskeyhistorian to keep up with her latest in bourbon news - and a few old finds, too.