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Smokey Coffee Barbecue Sauce

Smokey Coffee Barbecue Sauce

You know when you have a good idea, and you work on it, and it just doesn’t come out as you planned? That’s how I came up with this recipe for Smokey Coffee Barbecue Sauce. I worked on a coffee marinade for a few weeks, and it just wasn’t going how I wanted it to go. I kept trying to replicate the first version I made, but every time I was off. So I quit trying on that recipe, for a while anyway. But I tried something else, and it worked out so beautifully and made this recipe for Smokey Coffee Barbecue Sauce I am now happy I messed it up. Enjoy the fruits of my (many) mistakes.

You know I love coffee, and I wanted to make it into a marinade. The first time I tried it, I was winging it, and I honestly can’t duplicate it. It’s so frustrating to make something correctly one time and ruin it on every other occasion. While I was being frustrated with marinades that were too acidic or too sweet, I decided I like the flavor of coffee with grilled meat. It’s a perfect match. Deep coffee flavor and grilling go hand in hand.

Coffee Coffee Coffee

If you don’t have coffee on hand or you don’t drink I coffee I can’t recommend espresso powder enough. It’s a lifesaver for anything that needs a profound umami boost of flavor. Beef, in my opinion, always benefits from a bit of coffee. Especially in a pot roast or stew, it’s the perfect addition. I like to have extra coffee on hand for iced coffee in the afternoon, so for me, it’s usually not a problem. But I also keep espresso powder as well; you can’t be too careless with your coffee levels you know.

Yield: 1 cups

Smokey Coffee Barbecue Sauce

Smokey Coffee Barbecue Sauce recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup coffee, leftover, hot or espresso powder
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, more if you like it sweeter
  • 1 tsp smoke flavor
  • salt to taste


  1. Stir together everything
  2. cook slowly until reduced by about half, 20-30 minutes
  3. taste as you go and add more salt or sugar as desired
  4. brush on grilled meat in the last 10-15 minutes of grilling

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laura sampson

About Laura

Laura is on a mission to teach modern family oriented women how to make old-fashioned foods new again. A wife and mom of 3 boys, Laura understands the struggles of trying to serve a home-cooked meal each night. She provides recipes and cooking hacks for busy moms to create dishes they may think take more time or skill than they have to make. Read more...

5 thoughts on “Smokey Coffee Barbecue Sauce”

  1. Don’t you love it when you mess up but it works out so well? This looks fabulous, I love the sound of coffee and smokey, what a great combo for a BBQ sauce. I use expresso powder in my baking all the time (for choc desserts) but haven’t tried it in cooking and sauces yet. What am I waiting for? 😀 Can’t wait to try it!


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