Watermelon Sweet Tea – Cool off at your next barbecue with a cold glass of watermelon sweet tea! This recipe is a refreshing way to enjoy summer and is from Ed Mitchell’s Barbeque by Ed and Ryan Mitchell.
When it comes to barbecue, I’ve got a bucket list. It’s a short list but involves traveling throughout the country to taste regional bests. And on the top of that list is a visit to North Carolina to experience firsthand how Ed Mitchell and his son Ryan are preserving and continuing the legacy of whole-hog barbecue.
Their story is incredible and touching, and I was happy to welcome Ed and Ryan Mitchell to the podcast to discuss their newly released cookbook. Ed Mitchell’s Barbeque (affiliate link) celebrates the history and tradition of whole-hog barbecue in North Carolina, and pays homage to the family and neighbors that make their community so special. The cookbook is a treasure; while I may not be heading to North Carolina in the near future, I love that I can cook their recipes in my own kitchen and backyard.
Thought it may take a while to source a whole hog, I can tackle their other barbeque recipes, from, as they say it, “rooter to tooter.” And to go with the barbecue, I just had to whip up their recipe for Watermelon Sweet Tea. It’s the perfect drink to go with a summer barbecue and to toast a meal with the people we love.
How to Make Watermelon Sweet Tea
Ever good barbecue needs a refreshing drink to wash down all the savory goodness! If you’re enjoying a Southern-style barbeque, or even if you’re not, there’s nothing better than sweet tea. I love how Ed and Ryan Mitchell harness the natural sugars in watermelon to add sweetness to a classic sweet tea!
- Make a simple syrup and brew the tea
This recipe simplifies the process by brewing the tea directly into a simple syrup. Start by bringing the water and sugar to a boil, then drop the tea bags into the simple syrup and let it steep for 15 minutes.
- Juice the watermelon
Add the watermelon cubes and lime juice to a blender, working in batches if necessary, and blend until smooth.
- Serve the watermelon sweet tea
Pass the watermelon juice through a sieve and pour it into a large pitcher. Add the sweet tea and stir. Pour into ice-filled glasses, garnish with mint, and enjoy!
Ed and Ryan Mitchell recommend using Luzianne, a classic choice for Southern sweet teas. It is available at many stores nationwide, such as Walmart. You can also purchase Luzianne on Amazon (affiliate link). You can also substitute with a full-bodied tea, such as Earl Grey.
Want to prep the tea in advance? Make the simple syrup and brew the tea (step 1), and allow it to cool completely. Chill in the refrigerator overnight. This will help save time when you’re ready to make the beverage!
Listen to the Podcast with Ed and Ryan Mitchell
For more pasta and Italian-inspired recipes, check out my interview with Ed and Ryan Mitchell in Episode 71 of the Kitchen Confidante Podcast!
More Summer Drink Recipes
Disclosure: I was sent a copy of Ed Mitchell’s Barbeque to review for the Kitchen Confidante Podcast Episode 71 with Ed and Ryan Mitchell. All opinions are, of course, my own. The post may have affiliate links; see my Disclosure page to learn more.
Watermelon Sweet Tea
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 quarts filtered water
- 6 tea bags Luzianne preferred
- 12 cups seeded watermelon chunks
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Fresh mint leaves optional
- In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil until the sugar has completely dissolved and the liquid is clear. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags to the sugar water, cover, and steep for 15 minutes.
- Working in batches, puree the watermelon chunks and lime juice in a blender or food processor. Strain and transfer to a gallon-sized pitcher. Remove the tea bags and add the tea to the pitcher. Do not add ice. Stir and pour into ice-filled glasses. Garnish each glass with 2 fresh mint leaves, if desired, and serve.
Sweet tea is a staple beverage in the South and a part of our barbeque tradition. It is our
most refreshing drink. Also, it is affordable and easy to make. Buying cases of soda can
get expensive. But with a few tea bags and some sugar, everyone gets a cup.”