Root beer barbecue sauce is the condiment equivalent of the 4th of July fireworks

Originally concocted when Philadelphia pharmacist Charles E. Hires blended a combination of 16 different wild roots and berries, including sassafras, juniper, wintergreen and pipsissewa, root beer has been presented into the world in 1876 alongside other new offerings such as Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone and HJ Heinz’s ketchup.

Never as popular as cola but fiercely loved by the faction of the populace who can’t get enough of a frothy head popping out of a frosty mug, root beer is as American as apple pie but is a bit a second-class citizen in the soda world due to her somewhat polarizing nature.

Joy Wilson, better known as Joy the baker to her Instagram fans, is part of the vocal minority that finds root beer, which is should have a global market size of $1.09 billion by 2030, to be a tantalizing treat instead of a taste trick. When Wilson, who fell in love with the drink as a child because it was her grandfather’s favorite soda, was looking for a new ingredient to add to a barbecue sauce she was working on, it was root beer that came to her. come to mind.

“I feel like root beer is not due enough in the culinary world and is just being relegated to floaters,” Wilson told InsideHook. “It’s such a nostalgic flavor to me. I was thinking of making homemade BBQ sauce and needed to add a sweet element. What is dark and soft? My friend root beer. It was also very summery for me. So I started experimenting.

Nothing says ‘Merica like soda-based barbecue sauce.

Joy Wilson

This experiment took Wilson, a three-time cookbook author and baking instructor who is also an editor of her own Joy the baker magazine, a little longer than she had expected because balancing the sweetness of the sauce without making it too syrupy was a bit tricky. “I had to strike the right balance between root beer, tomato and Worcestershire sauce,” she says. “I ended up adding a bit of ground ginger because I felt the recipe lacked heat. The cinnamon was a little overdone and too spicy, but I found the ground ginger to be really complementary to root beer Fresh ginger is really tangy, but ground ginger sounded like the sweet spot.

Typically used by Wilson for burgers, but versatile enough to use with turkey meatloaf or other savory leftovers that could be spicy and sweet, the root beer BBQ sauce was a nice addition to the sauce selection. 41-year-old summer girls.

“Maybe it’s seen as childish or doesn’t feel like it has a natural place in a tasty world, but root beer is a sweet ingredient that can add a nice surprise,” Wilson says. . “It doesn’t have to be the most complicated thing to get the most flavor out of something. It was fun to take a silly, simple, and close to my heart ingredient and turn it into an unexpected summer staple. I’m just afraid to start drinking the barbecue sauce neat. That would be a problem.”

Sounds like a good problem to have. Here’s how to make it yours.

Root beer barbecue sauce (for 4 cups)


  • 2 cups root beer
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. molasses
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. grounded ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 C. kosher salt
  • A few dashes of hot sauce, to taste


  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Bring to a boil and lower the heat.
  3. Simmer mixture for 15-20 minutes, reducing to desired thickness. The sauce will thicken a bit as it cools.
  4. Taste and add additional seasoning to your liking.
  5. Allow the sauce to cool before placing it in a jar.
  6. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

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