The Great American Root Beer Ribs

Celebrate this Memorial Day with two American favorites! Root Beer and Ribs!

By A.C.F. Certified Executive Chef Mark Shoopman, CEC, CFBE of Lutheran Hillside Village


  • 2 each Full racks of baby back pork ribs
  • 2 liters Root Beer, use a good quality root beer
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Olive oil
  • 2 ½ tablespoons Fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ cups Sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cups Ketchup
  • ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Molasses
  • ½ cup Red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups Packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Ground black pepper
  • To Taste Kosher salt
  • To Taste Freshly ground black pepper

Procedure and Presentation

1. Place ribs in a large pan with just enough root beer to cover, reserving 2 cups for the sauce. Cover the ribs and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 6 hours or overnight.

2. In a medium size saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the garlic and onion and cook until the onion and garlic are soft and fragrant, stirring frequently. Next, add the fresh thyme and cook for a minute more. Increase the heat to high and add the root beer, brown sugar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, and molasses. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce becomes very thick, about 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and keep warm for service.

3. Preheat oven to 325 Degrees F. Remove the ribs from the root beer and discard the marinade. Lay the ribs out on a baking sheet and bake, uncovered for 2 ½ to 3 hours or until they reach an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F and become fork-tender. Generously brush with the root beer sauce during the last 20 minutes of cooking. Oven temperatures vary so cooking times can be longer.

4. Allow ribs to rest for a minute and baste with some more sauce. Cut into desired portions and serve with the remaining sauce. Note – Alternatively, you can cook these on the grill or in a smoker for excellent results! Grab your favorite ice-cold beverage and enjoy!