U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

Blueberry Root Beer Brine

Fruit-focused flavors are perfect for the grill.

Given that 38 percent of foodservice operators think blueberries are a good fit in marinades and sauces, this Blueberry Root Beer Brine from Chef Jason Morse and the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council could be the ideal summer choice.


2 cups water, boiling

2 cups frozen blueberries, defrosted

1/4 cup kosher salt

1 Tbsp black pepper, ground

1 Tbsp garlic, granulated

2 Tbsp dark brown sugar

2 cups ketchup

1/4 cup dark balsamic vinegar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp allspice

1 tsp juniper berries

2 12oz cans root beer, alcoholic

1 cup dried blueberries


Brine Instructions

In a large 2-3 gallon stock pot, bring the water to a boil and turn off.

Add the blueberries, seasonings, ketchup, vinegar, spices and root beer. Mix well to combine.

Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture for 2 minutes.

Set aside 2 cups of brine mixture for finishing sauce. Pour rest of the mixture into stock pot.

Prepare your protein for the brine.

Add protein to the brine and make sure it is completely covered.

Brine for approximately 45 minutes per pound of protein.

Remove from the brine when done. Do not rinse. Cook as desired.

Finished Sauce Instructions

In a small sauce pan, add the 2 cups of reserved brine.

Add 1 cup of dried blueberries.

Over medium heat, reduce this mixture until thick like a barbecue sauce, approximately 5-8 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool. Use as the finishing barbecue sauce on protein.


Brine mixture will brine 10-15 pounds of beef, pork or chicken.

Brine should be used one time and then discarded. Do not reuse.

Brine will work with non-alcoholic root beer, if desired.

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