I am a Baby Back, St. Louis and Spare Rib junky! I am also a huge fan of Root Beer based products.  The taste of Root Beer goes to the days I used to sit down with my father and eat $0.25 Dee’s Hamburgers during the summer, sitting on the front porch with nothing to do but pass the time.

Good Root Beer makes this all the better.  Don’t think about the commercial versions that have chemicals and hard to pronounce ingredients.  Go with the natural Root Beers like: Hansen’s Natural Root Beer, Virgil’s Sodas (Reeds, Inc), Maine Root Beer, Boylan’s Root Beer, and Zevia Natural Ginger Root Beer.

Danielle’s “Adult Beverage” pairing is the Rusty Nail.

Root Beer Ribs

Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 2 hours, 30 minutes
Total time 2 hours, 45 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Gourmet, Serve Hot
Occasion Barbecue
Region American


  • 2 Racks baby back ribs
  • 1 12 oz bottle root beer (get the good stuff)
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 4 oz can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup raw or brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Step 1
In a medium saucepan, bring the root beer to a boil and cook it until it has reduced in volume by 1/2. This should take about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar, paste, sugar, honey, salt, and Worcestershire. Whisk this mixture to combine completely. Allow to return to a boil and then reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer for 1 minute. Taste and adjust for sweetness, acid and salt.
Step 2
Turn the heat off and then add the paprika, pepper, onion, garlic, chili powder, black pepper and cayenne. Bring again to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 more minute. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let the sauce continue to simmer for 5 more minutes. At this point remove the sauce from the heat and allow to cool. Bottle and store in the refrigerator.
Step 3
Pre-heat your grill for a raised, direct cook at a low 300 degrees F. While the grill is coming to temperature, season both sides of the ribs with your rub of preference. Toss in a chunk of smoking wood (sassafras if you can get it, I used cherry wood), and when the smoke changes from white (not good) to blue (very good), put the ribs on the bone side down for about 1 hour.
Step 4
After the an hour, flip the ribs and let them go for another hours. After 2 hours of cooking time, start checking for doneness. The ribs should bend and crack when you pick on end up with a pair of tongs and the meat should be pulling away from the bones.
Step 5
When the ribs are showing these signs of doneness, sauce the meat side of the ribs with the Root Beer Barbecue Sauce, and let them continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes. Flip the ribs, sauce the bone side and let them go for 10 more minutes. Flip the ribs to the meat side up, and give them their final coat of sauce and let the ribs cook for the last 10 minutes.
Step 6
Remove the ribs from the grill, and let the ribs rest for 10 minutes before serving with more Root Beer Barbecue Sauce on the side.

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