BBQ Wine: Best Wines for Grilled Food

BBQ wine with skewers on the grill

Updated July 19th 2023

BBQ wine pairing depends on what type of food your are grilling. A barbecue can include many different types of foods. Meat, chicken, fish, vegetables... You can basically throw anything on the grill. In this guide you can find the best wine pairings for your BBQ favorites and other grilled food.

Wine and BBQ food is a great combination, and a perfectly paired wine can make your BBQ even more delicious. Keep reading to find the best BBQ wine pairings for different types of grilled food.

BBQ Beef + Cabernet Sauvignon

If you're wondering what wine goes with beef, we have the answer for you. Pick a bold red wine with lots of tannins and good acidity for your BBQ red meat. A grilled steak, hamburger or brisket together with a bold red wine is a perfect combination. Full-bodied red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Syrah or Malbec pair very well with your grilled red meat.

Note: These wines' high tannins and high acidity will balance the umami and fat of the meat.

BBQ Pork + Syrah

The best wine with BBQ pork is a Syrah/Shiraz or another wine with lots of fruit flavors. The fruit and spice in the wine will match perfectly the smokey flavours of the grilled pork. Merlot, Shiraz, Pinotage, Sangiovese or Carménère are other jammy red wines that pair well with BBQ pork.

BBQ Ribs + Zinfandel

Ribs are a favorite for BBQ lovers. BBQ ribs usually refer to barbecue pork ribs, but they can also be beef or lamb ribs. The best wine with BBQ ribs is a medium-bodied and slightly spicy wine like Zinfandel. The fruit and spice in the wine will match the sweet, smoky and spicy flavors in the BBQ sauce. Other good wine pairings for BBQ ribs are Grenache (such as the famous GSM-blend), Malbec, Shiraz, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon. If you prefer a white wine, try a dry Riesling.

BBQ Fish + Chardonnay

Grilled fish can be paired with many different types of wine. Full-bodied white wines like Alvarinho, Chardonnay or Viognier are usually the best wine for grilled fish, but there are many different options depending on the type of fish and seasoning.

Grilled fatty fish like salmon can even be paired with a light red wine such as Pinot Noir or a Beaujolais.

Light-bodied white wines, such as Chablis, Sauvignon Blanc and Vinho Verde, are perfect for light grilled fish with vegetables seasoned with herbs.

Tips! When in doubt, choose a cold, fresh rosé wine together with your grilled fish.

BBQ Chicken + Rosé

The best wine for BBQ chicken is usually rosé wine, but grilled chicken can be paired with many different types of wines. The perfect wine paring usually depends on the herbs and spices used in the marinade, and the sauces on the side. The best white wine pairing for barbecue chicken is a herbaceous white wine like Sauvignon Blanc.

Tips! If the chicken is slightly spicy, a Gewürztraminer or a Riesling are great options.

BBQ Turkey + Beaujolais

Many people wonder if they should drink red or white wine with turkey. In fact, both red and white wine pair well with grilled turkey. The best red wine for BBQ turkey is a light-bodied red wine like Beaujolais Nouveau or Pinot Noir. The best white wine for BBQ turkey is a rich white wine like oaked Chardonnay.

BBQ Vegetarian food + Rosé

Grilled vegetables and vegetarian foods can vary in taste profile. If you want a a wine that goes well with many different types of grilled vegetables, pick a rosé wine. A refreshing crisp rosé is a versatile wine that pairs well with vegetables as well as grilled halloumi cheese or grilled tofu.

You can also drink red or white wine with your grilled veggies. Marinated vegetables on the grill can get an almost meaty texture and flavor. A versatile medium-bodied red like Merlot or Sangiovese is a good pairing in this case. Grilled mushrooms will pair well with earthy red wines such as Pinot Noir.

Tips! If you want to know more about the best wine for vegetables, you can read our wine guide for vegetarian food.

BBQ Sauces + Riesling

Sauces impact the taste of the food and wine.

Enjoy your BBQ with wine!

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