coffee… it’s not just for breakfast (bbq sauce!!)

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Here it is the height of barbecue season and we don’t have any of my favourite “Texas Barbecue Sauce” on hand. I keep meaning to make it and just haven’t gotten around to doing it…

And then we got distracted after seeing Michael Chiarello (Easy Entertaining) use coffee to make great looking barbecue sauce on food TV. The show is called “Easy Entertaining” and the sauce DID look easy, fast and good.

coffee bbq sauce Not surprisingly, it IS easy and fast.

And we had all the ingredients on hand. It took about fifteen minutes to make (not including making the coffee – there was a cup of coffee in the fridge on the shelf beside the ketchup). (click on image for larger view and more photos)

Ketchup in the fridge??!! Yup. We just don’t use it often enough to keep it in the cupboard. I must say that I’m not the biggest fan of ketchup and rarely eat it on its own. But it does have its uses. It’s an essential ingredient in baked beans. And now it is an essential ingredient for this wonderful barbecue sauce.

Here’s what T did:

Coffee Marinade & Barbecue Sauce
(good for any meat)

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cayenne chile flakes (optional)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 c very strong coffee
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • salt, to taste


  1. In a pan, reduce the coffee to about half its original volume.
  2. As the coffee is reducing, chop onions and saute onion in olive oil until just turning golden.
  3. While the onions are cooking, chop garlic. Add to the onions when the onions are almost soft and translucent.
  4. Remove from the heat and add vinegar, ketchup and brown sugar.
  5. Oh oh!!! Don’t forget the chillies! Chop them and add them to the onion mixture. (Ideally, the chillies should be cooked in hot oil until they are dark brown – just before cooking the onions.)
  6. The coffee is reduced in the time it takes to cook the onion mixture. Pour the coffee into the onion mixture. Return the pan to the heat; stir in the salt and simmer slowly for a few minutes.
  7. Remove from the heat and let sit for a few hours to cool and to allow the flavours to meld together.

Use to marinate any meat of your choice but try to reserve some, putting it in a bowl to spoon over meat (or bread) at the table.

bbq chicken I think the Texas Barbecue Sauce might still be my favourite (I really should make some so we can do a taste test) but this new coffee barbecue sauce is a very close rival.

We’ve served it with pork chops. But I think it’s really fantastic with a whole butterflied chicken. I mean, really. Don’t you neeeeed to go and brew some good strong coffee so you can have chicken like this tonight?

A word of caution: There is one thing wrong with the sauce. It’s so good that there’s none left for the next day to make sandwiches from left-over barbecued chicken and left-over focaccia….

(click on image for larger view and more photos)

Don’t worry! I haven’t forgotten about the ice cream! The rave report is coming soon; I’m just having a little trouble deciding which flavour to rave about first….
This entry was posted in food & drink, main course, posts with recipes on by .

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3 responses to “coffee… it’s not just for breakfast (bbq sauce!!)

  1. ejm Post author

    Good question, Bing! I should have mentioned the fact that the coffee flavour is not apparent at all. But the overall flavour is very bright and shimmery.

    As far as I could tell, we weren’t particularly affected by the caffeine. We NEVER drink coffee in the evening because it ruins our sleep but we didn’t notice any ill-effects from eating caffeine-laced barbecue sauce.

  2. tph

    When I taste the sauce on its own I do get quite a lot of coffee flavor. It’s part of what makes the sauce so good. But it’s true it’s not so apparent when it’s on smoky BBQ. But it is there in the background. The roasted coffee and roasted smoky meat really seem to compliment each other.

    Friends here for dinner the other night asked for the recipe and they don’t do any outdoor cooking. But I bet it’ll work for them too.


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