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Make your own Big Red ice cream, a sweet Texas treat

Big Red, sweet cream, and lots of ice are all you need to crank out an ice cream guaranteed to cool down a hot Texas summer day. Staff photo

Central and South Texas — and, oddly, Louisville, Kentucky — were the only places you could buy Big Red soda after it was invented in Waco in 1937. Created by Grover C. Thomsen and R.H. Roark, its first moniker was Sun Tang Red Cream Soda. The company marketed it as a summer drink.

Over the years, the bright red, sugary-sweet, caffeinated soda has been used in barbecue sauces, cakes, and homemade ice cream. We all screamed for Big Red ice cream at The Picayune Magazine headquarters. This is the recipe we used and highly recommend. We cranked up our tasty Texas treat with an electric ice cream maker.

Big Red Ice Cream

  • One can of sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ pint of whipping cream
  • One 2-liter bottle of Big Red (64 ounces)
  • One to two bags of ice
  • One box of rock salt

Mix together the sweetened condensed milk and whipping cream in a medium bowl. Once combined, pour the mixture into a standard-size ice cream freezer cylinder. Place the cylinder in the outer bucket of the machine. Fill the cylinder with Big Red.

Insert the paddle, cover the cylinder, and attach the motor. Fill the outer bucket with ice, layering along the way with the rock salt and repeating until the ice is at the top of the inner cylinder. Freeze according to the manufacturer's directions.

Makes about 3 quarts.


You can also add partially frozen strawberries. Stir those in with the condensed milk and whipping cream.

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