New Cookbook: Beer Food Fire by Beer Country

Words: Crush | Photography: Louis Hiemstra

The guys from Beer Country, Karl Tessendorf and Greg Gilowey, are no strangers to Crush. They’ve been teaching us about beer and cooking up lip-smacking braai recipes for us for the past few years. So, we’re super excited to see the culmination of their passion for the coals in the release of Beer Food Fire – the cookbook and beer bible you simply need to have in your collection.

Why braai? Nothing spells the weekend like catching the whiff of a braai fire on a Friday afternoon – that familiar, comforting smoky aroma signals that the weekend is here. If you could bottle it and sell it, it would be the smell of South Africa.

Beer Food Fire

These three words are a summation of what these guys are all about; they live for craft beer and are all about real food cooked over open flames.

The book is packed with tasty recipes alongside utterly drool-worthy photography.

They’ve covered everything from simple dry rubs to marinades, seafood, meat and desserts. Alongside all the mouthwatering food is plenty of interesting knowledge about the local craft beer industry, with suggested beer pairings along the way.

The book is a fun, approachable read that will have you immediately itching to light a fire. Honestly, if it doesn’t have you hankering for a boerie roll and an ice cold beer, we don’t know what will.

Get a Taste

We have two tasty recipes from the book to whet your appetite, as well as two copies to give away, so make sure you scroll down to enter to win.

Beer Food Fire by Karl Tessendorf and Greg Gilowey
ISBN 978–1-43231-006-6

RSP: R290 at all major book retailers.

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Roasted Bone Marrow Caprese Burgers

Much like bacon, bone marrow is one of those magical ingredients. It’s pure meat butter flavour that will turn a regular burger into something special. In this case, it’s a Caprese burger, which is technically healthy because it’s a salad, right?

Feeds: 4 • Prep: 1½ hours • Cook: 10 minutes

The Bone Marrow

4 short marrow bones
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
A glug of oil for drizzling

The Mayo

½ C good quality mayonnaise or homemade (see p. 45)
2–3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (depending on how sharp you want the mayo)

The Patties and Toppings

800 g good quality, fatty beef mince, cold (makes four patties)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
A glug of oil for drizzling
8 thick slices mozzarella
4 sesame seed rolls, buttered
A handful of rocket leaves
8 slices tomato
Basil pesto


Season the marrow bones with salt and pepper then drizzle with oil. Braai for about 5 minutes a side, or until the centres are soft and loose. Alternatively, roast them in the oven at 200 °C for 20 minutes. Use the back of a spoon or a steak knife to pop the marrow out the bones. Roughly chop it and let it cool completely.

In the meantime, whisk the mayonnaise and balsamic together, then place it in the fridge until you need it.

Combine the cooled marrow with the mince and divide into four equal-size balls. Work the balls in your hands to form four patties. Place the patties onto a tray greased with oil and pop them into the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Season the patties with salt and pepper then drizzle with oil. Braai over hot coals for 3–4 minutes a side or until they are cooked to your liking — we like a medium patty with a pink interior. Top the warm burgers with mozzarella. Rest the patties off the heat for a couple of minutes while you the toast the rolls over the fire. Just before you assemble the burgers you can use your oven grill to melt the cheese.

To build your burger, start by spreading the base roll with balsamic mayo, add rocket leaves, the burger patty topped with cheese, tomato, pesto and finally the top of the roll. Congrats! You’ve made a ridiculously tasty roasted bone marrow Caprese burger. Now go forth, smash it and wash it down with a cold brew.

Beer Pairing: Belgian IPA — a sweeter, complex malt backbone is perfect with the intensely rich and meaty burger, while the spicy, earthy hops love the herbaceous pesto kick.

Fiery Korean Barbecue Pork Ribs

Gochujang may be difficult to say but it’s delicious to eat. It’s a Korean fermented red chilli paste that can be used to add kick to any dish. Here we’ve used it to make fiery Korean barbecue ribs that’ll keep your mates guessing about what makes them so damn delicious. To this day these are still some of Greg’s favourite ribs.

Feeds: 4 • Prep: 15 minutes • Cook: 1½ hours

The Ribs

2 racks of pork spareribs
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

The Barbecue Sauce

½ C Gochujang (fermented red chilli paste)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 small knob of fresh ginger, finely chopped

To serve

Sesame seeds
Spring onion (green part only), chopped
Lime cheeks


Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Whisk all the ingredients for the barbecue sauce together until thoroughly combined and smooth.

In a dry pan over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds while shaking them around to prevent burning and set aside for later.

Season the ribs with salt and pepper, then use half the marinade and give the ribs a good basting. Wrap the ribs in foil and put them in the oven on a baking tray to cook for 1 hour. While the ribs are cooking, light a fire so it’s ready to go when the ribs come out of the oven.

After 1 hour, take the ribs out of the oven and check for tenderness. The ribs should be fork tender but not falling off the bone. Braai over medium heat coals while turning often and basting with every turn. This will give you a good build-up of caramelised sauce on the ribs. After about 10 minutes, the ribs should be crispy and caramelised. Rest the ribs, covered in foil, for 10 minutes. Garnish with spring onion and toasted sesame seeds, then serve with lime cheeks and smash it!

Beer Pairing: Red IPA — this rich, sweet and smokey umami bomb needs a hefty amber-malt backbone to embrace the layers of caramelisation, and enough hop bitterness to cut the sweet-chilli bite.

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