RECIPE | Smoky Pale Ale Mussels

I live for mussels. I know that sounds unbelievable, but seriously, I LIVE for mussels. The flavour, the texture, the social aspect of diving in hands first to a massive vat of deliciousness and knowing that once you’ve finished the actual mussel, you still have to slurp up all of that beautiful broth. It’s a thing of beauty. An incredible art piece. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, then I urge you to have that experience, because, it’s simply the best. And we don’t have it enough.

Ok, but really, this recipe is fantastic.

Smoky Pale Ale Mussels

Serves 2 – because everyone needs at least a pound of mussels….


  • 2 lbs. mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup pancetta, diced
  • 1/4 cup thick-cut smoky bacon (approx. 2 rashes), diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1-375 mL bottle of craft Pale Ale (I used Off the Rail Brewing Classic Pale Ale)
  • 3/4 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley & basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onion, sliced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Flaky sea salt, & freshly cracked black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil 


In a large Dutch oven, with a tight-fitting lid, heat a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on medium heat. Add in pancetta and bacon when the oil is hot. Let the bacon(s) render the fat, and add in the onion and garlic as soon as the bacon starts to pick up a little golden-ness. 

Sauté bacon(s), onion and garlic together. When the onion and garlic begin to turn translucent, add in the mussels. Toss altogether with a wooden spoon, and pour in the pale ale. Cover with a lid, and let cook for 5 – 7 minutes. I check after 5 to see if the mussels are opening, but usually put the lid back on for another couple minutes just to ensure they all open*.

Add in parsley, green onion, and lemon juice. Taste the broth. It will be slightly salty, but it may need a little dash of flaky sea salt, just to round out the flavours. Be sure to add some freshly cracked black pepper, to taste.

Toss together, drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil on top, and serve. Right in the pot. Obviously, with some toasty garlic bread on the side for dipping.  

*Note: When cleaning the mussel, if you notice a mussel is open, and does not close with a little tap or after squeezing it, discard it. It is dead. If a mussel does not open after cooking it, discard it. It is dead. 

It’s perfect. Simple. And perfect. The smokiness of the bacon captures the toastiness of the barley in the pale ale. You can’t beat it. 

So, what are you waiting for? Get your butt to your local fish monger, and get some darn mussels! You’re making this recipe tonight!


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