Are you looking for a fun and unique twist on your BBQ favorites this summer? Look no further than Grilled Root Beer Pork Ribs! This Southern-inspired recipe is perfect for any summer get-together. The key to making these ribs irresistible is to use a root beer that is nice and sweet. So, whether you go for a name brand or a local option, choose something that will give these ribs the flavor you crave. And trust us, once you've tasted these grilled pork ribs, you'll be hooked!

Any variety of root beer will work for this recipe, whether a name brand or from a local brewery, but the rule is, "the sweeter, the better." Asian fish sauce is added as its rich, salty counterpart to balance the sweetness. Crushed garlic, cracked black peppercorns, and shallots are added to the marinade to penetrate the rib meat and tissues deeply. 

More root beer, vanilla bean, ground long pepper, and lime juice are combined to make a sweet and tangy sauce to serve alongside the ribs. Finished off with lime wedges and plenty of napkins, these pork ribs are remarkable.

Fire up the grill, grab double the amount of your favorite root beer, so you have some to drink too, and let's get grillin’.

Serves 6

Summertime Grilled Root Beer Pork Ribs Ingredients

  • Four 12-ounce bottles of root beer
  • 1 cup Asian fish sauce
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves crushed
  • 1/4 cup black peppercorns, cracked
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 16 cups ice
  • 2 large racks of pork spare ribs (about 5 pounds each)
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 2 tablespoons finely ground long pepper or black pepper (Note: Long pepper, a fragrant relative of black pepper from Indonesia, can be found at specialty food stores and online)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice plus lime wedges for serving

Summertime Grilled Root Beer Pork Ribs Directions

  1. Bring two bottles of root beer to a boil in a medium saucepan with the fish sauce, garlic, cracked black peppercorns, and shallots. Remove from the heat, cover, and let steep for 25 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large roasting pan and add the ice. Add the rib racks, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°. Remove the ribs from the marinade and scrape off most of the solids. Transfer the ribs to a large rimmed baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake for about 2 hours, until the meat is very tender but not falling off the bones.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the remaining two bottles of root beer with the vanilla bean and seeds and long pepper and boil over moderately high heat until reduced to 2/3 cup, about 25 minutes. Add the lime juice and simmer for 2 minutes. Discard the vanilla bean.
  4. Light a grill. Grill the ribs over high heat until richly browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the racks to a carving board and cut in between the ribs. Serve the ribs with lime wedges, passing the root beer sauce at the table.
August 07, 2022 — Jason Klein