U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

Blueberry Root Beer Brine

This savory sauce made from blueberries and root beer will delight guests.
Though blueberries may not be the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of grilling, they can be an excellent addition to a grilled menu. This brine can be used to create a savory twist on traditional barbecue.

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions for Brine

  1. In a large 2-3 gallon stock pot, bring the water to a boil and turn off.
  2. Add the blueberries, seasonings, ketchup, vinegar, spices and root beer. Mix well to combine.
  3. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture for 2 minutes.
  4. Set aside 2 cups of brine mixture for finishing sauce. Pour rest of the mixture into stock pot.
  5. Prepare your protein for the brine.
  6. Add protein to the brine and make sure it is completely covered.
  7. Brine for approximately 45 minutes per pound of protein.
  8. Remove from the brine when done. Do not rinse. Cook as desired. 

Directions for Finished Sauce

  1. In a small sauce pan, add the 2 cups of reserved brine.
  2. Add 1 cup of dried blueberries.
  3. Over medium heat, reduce this mixture until thick like a barbecue sauce, approximately 5-8 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and cool. Use as the finishing barbecue sauce on protein.

Chef Notes

  • 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.