Root Beer Beef Ribs

Root Beer Beef Ribs

“I found out that this stuff goes pretty darn well with beef too, and thus the Root Beer Beef Ribs were born!”

Root beer is a typical yankee drink that is slowly becoming better known here in the Netherlands. The flavor of this soda (not beer!) is mainly formed by sassafras, a root  tree and bark, which gives it a typical medicinal flavor. My American wife taught me to make root beer floats with it: vanilla ice cream topped with root beer, and voila. For you, I got to work with it and discovered that this goodness also goes damn well with beef. Let the beef ribs soak up a little of it at the end and turn it into a nice glaze that gives the ultimate beef snack a sweet-spicy touch. The observant reader will notice that a short rib often consists of three bones and this recipe is for four people. Believe me you have to be very brave to devour a whole rib. So share these Root Beer Beef Ribs! 


You can find this recipe and many others in our newest book Brand New BBQ which you can order now!

The ingredients:

(4 serves) 

  • <1.5-2 kg short ribs (3-bone cut) of grain fed beef
  • 1 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 6 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3.4 oz root beer (if you really can’t find it, use cola) /li>

Root Beer Glaze:

  • 6,8 oz ml root beer
  • 5 oz BBQ sauce (like Smokey’s Bold & Beefy)
  • 3 tbsp molasses


  • BBQ with lid for indirect grilling, or smoker
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • BBQ with lid or smoker for indirect grilling
  • 6 hickory or oak logs (smoking logs of about 5 x 5 cm)
  • Butcher paper
  • Core thermometer
  • Brush

How to make:


Prep: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 6-8 hours


Prepare a BBQ for indirect grilling and heat it until a temperature of 135 °C is reached.


On the back (bone side) of the short ribs is a tough membrane. Pry a Phillips screwdriver between bone and membrane and make a prying and pulling motion to pull the entire membrane off the bones. On the meat side there may be a layer of fat or membranes. If present cut these away with a small knife until you have nice clean meat. Mix the sea salt and black pepper and sprinkle the entire short rib generously with the salt-pepper mixture. Don’t be shocked by the amount of pepper, the long cooking will make it taste a lot milder. 

Root Beer Beef Ribs article

Place the smoking wood chunks between the glowing coals and place the seasoned short ribs bone side down on the grill in the BBQ and close the lid. Keep the BBQ at a constant temperature of 135°C for 5-6 hours. After 4 hours, wrap the short ribs in butcher paper and pour in a little root beer just before folding. Fold the paper closed and continue cooking the ribs for another 1-2 hours to a core temperature of 92 °C. The beef ribs are done when you prick them with your thermometer and feel the right resistance. If you have to push hard, then the meat is not yet tender, if you prick it and feel no resistance at all, then they are overcooked. This fingertip feeling you get from experience, but keeping to the core temperature is a good starting point for beginners. 


Meanwhile, make the Root Beer Glaze by mixing all the ingredients in a pan and heating. When the ribs are properly cooked, remove them from the paper and place them back on the BBQ. Brush them with the glaze a few times and with the lid closed, let the glaze adhere to the meat. Remove the ribs from the BBQ and distribute the meat to your guests, who will be looking at you with meat-demanding eyes by now. 

Items used for this recipe

Smokey premium charcoal
Smokey’s Charcoal
Smokey Goodness Hickory Smoke Chunks
Hickory Chunks
Brand new BBQ boek cover
Brand New BBQ book
The Bastard One Minute Lighter
One Minute Lighter
BBQ Essentils - Smokey Goodness BBQ Butcher Paper
Butcher Paper
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