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This rich and slightly sweet Root Beer BBQ Sauce is a classic choice for an old fashioned summer cookout. This versatile sauce is delicious slathered on everything from grilled chicken to ribs or burgers.
I don’t know about you, but as the weather is beginning to tease us with some warm days, I’ve been dreaming about gathering with friends and family for a good, old-fashioned summer BBQ. The simple act of having people over for dinner now seems like something to celebrate. The last year has certainly been a perspective changer.
It’s time to dust off that grill and get ready for summer cooking and this fun recipe is a great place to start. Root Beer BBQ Sauce is a classic, all-American choice that is absolutely perfect for your upcoming Memorial Day or 4th of July menu.
- Root beer – The deep, robust flavor of root beer does something really incredible in this sauce. Use your favorite brand.
- Ketchup – Adds body and flavor.
- Orange juice – Either fresh or bottled will work just fine.
- Worcestershire sauce – For a little umami.
- Brown sugar– The root beer adds sweetness so you only need a touch of brown sugar.
- Molasses – Adds that rich, old fashioned flavor that molasses is known for.
- Yellow mustard – Good ol’ prepared yellow mustard.
- Garlic – Either fresh or jarred minced garlic will do the trick. My rule of thumb – if the recipe calls for cooking the garlic, the jarred variety is just fine. If there is no cooking involved, then go with fresh.
- Liquid Smoke – I realize there are some naysayers out there when it comes to Liquid Smoke but you can’t beat it for instantly adding a powerful, smoky flavor to recipes. A little goes a long way but it lasts a very long time if stored in a cool, dry place.
- Onion powder, salt and pepper – There is so much flavor from the other ingredients that you’ll just need a small boost from this simple trio of seasonings.
How to Make Root Beer BBQ Sauce
- Combine all the ingredients in heavy saucepan.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes to blend the flavors and reduce the sauce slightly. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt, if desired.
Allow the sauce to cool slightly then transfer it to a mason jar or other airtight container. Cover and refrigerate the sauce until you are ready to use it.
Storing Homemade BBQ Sauce
Root Beer BBQ Sauce will keep well for one to two weeks if stored in an airtight container and refrigerated promptly. For longer storage, transfer the completely cooled sauce to a freezer-safe container or plastic storage bag and freeze. Safely thaw the frozen sauce in your refrigerator overnight before using. For the best quality, use frozen homemade sauces within 6 months.
- Generously baste grilled ribs, chicken pieces, steak or pork chops with the sauce towards the end of the cooking time.
- In my cookbook, The Foolproof Family Slow Cooker, I tossed a version of this Root Beer BBQ Sauce with slow cooked pulled pork to create tasty pulled pork sandwiches.
- Use it in place of any other BBQ sauce in recipes like my Slow Cooker Shredded BBQ Chicken or Grilled Hawaiian BBQ Chicken.
- It would be amazing in The Best Turkey Burger Recipe or brushed on grilled beef burgers.
More Classic Summer Favorites
Here are some of my favorite recipes to round out your summer BBQ menu.
- Old Fashioned Potato Salad
- Homemade Three Bean Salad
- Instant Pot Baked Beans
- Cowboy Caviar
- Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
Root Beer BBQ Sauce
- 1 cup root beer
- 1 cup ketchup
- ¼ cup orange juice fresh or bottled
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsulphured molasses like Grandma's Original Unsulphured Molasses
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon Liquid Smoke
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste
- salt to taste
- Combine all the ingredients through the pepper in heavy medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to boil over MEDIUM heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to MEDIUM-LOW and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes to blend the flavors and reduce the sauce slightly. Season to taste with salt and additional pepper, if desired.
- Allow the sauce to cool slightly then transfer it a mason jar or other airtight container. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.