I’ve been having a lot of fun with some accidentally purchased Diet Root Beer lately, and this is my latest mad scientist slash grill diva experiment! My dear hubby bought us a very nice gas grill after we bought our first home together and it’s so easy to use that I’ve taken it over and have become quite the fearless grill-meistress! I love cooking outside in the fresh air, the warm sun on my shoulders, cool breezes, and listening to the ducks squabble on the lake over who got the sunny spot! No messy charcoal to deal with, and no stinky starter fluid that used to scare the heck out of me when it would burst into flames when you went to light it. I think I lost a few eyebrows once over that. And I’ve found that the real trick to grilling, isn’t really the grilling part at all. It’s more in the careful planning of what you’re serving it with. I used to run around like a chicken with it’s head cut off scrambling in and out of the back door trying to manage the grill and the stove at the same time. That wasn’t working very well. I’ve learned to serve either things that can be made ahead of time such as garden salads, potato or pasta salads, cole slaws and jello or fruit salads, and cut-up fresh fruits. Or if we want something hot; baked potatoes, cheesy noodle or potato dishes, vegetable casseroles, or veggies that I can add to the grill are the way to go! Casseroles will hold on their own or on Low in the oven for a very long time while you’re outside grilling. It makes your grilling experience laid-back and fun when that’s all you have to concentrate on. 😉
My husband accidentally bought diet root beer instead of regular, so it was passed to me to cook, bake and experiment with. And I must say, I’ve been having a blast with it! And I’m not a huge fan of root beer. Until now! This time I marinated some boneless pork loin chops in the root beer overnight, added my dry rub to them, doctored some bbq sauce with it, tossed them on the grill and crossed my fingers!
Boy were they ever good!! Wowzers! You can actually taste the root beer, but just a little and not overpowering. Some of the tastiest bbq sauce I’ve ever had! And these chops cook fast, too. I basted and turned them a lot after I quickly seared them on the outside first.
Figuring out the bbq sauce was scary but fun! I was afraid I’d ruin it and have to start over. But I just opened the cupboard, raided the fridge, and started adding bits of this and sprinkles of that until it was “just right”. Luckily I remembered to write it down as I went along! Because this is a keeper!!
GRILLED ROOT BEER PORK CHOPS with ROOT BEER BBQ SAUCE
For Root Beer BBQ Sauce:
1 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce
1/2 cup root beer, I used diet but regular would be just fine, too
1 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. table mustard
1/8 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
For My All-Purpose Dry Rub:
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 Tbl. sweet smoked paprika
1 Tbl. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. hickory smoked salt
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne powder
1/2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Rest of Ingredients:
4-5 boneless pork loin chops
rest of a 12 oz. bottle of regular or diet root beer
Mix all bbq sauce ingredients well with a whisk streaming in the honey last to incorporate, cover, and refrigerate.
In small bowl, mix all dry rub ingredients well. Cover and set aside.
In shallow 9×11 or smaller baking dish, (or ziploc baggie), place chops and pour rest of root beer over to cover. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours or overnight preferably. *If using a ziploc, be sure to get all of the air out.
Heat grill to high. While grill is heating up, remove chops from root beer marinade onto a platter or anything you use to take meats out to the grill on. Sprinkle each side with a 1/4 of a tsp. of the dry rub. More if chops are large. (Mine were kind of skimpy this time.) Save rest of dry rub in a tightly closed container in the cupboard or pantry. (Plays nicely with chicken, ribs and salmon!)
Place chops on hot grill, reduce heat to med-medium high, and grill approximately 3-4 minutes per side to sear with lid closed. Baste each side with bbq sauce and continue to grill until done. Another 4-6 minutes on lower heat with lid open. Baste and turn frequently to coat well. Chops are done when still slightly pink in the center.
*Total cooking time, depending on the thickness of your pork chops and your grill, should only be 12-15 minutes total.