Coffee-Ginger Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Photograph: Daniel Gritzer

For this easy barbecue sauce, a ketchup base is spiked with a half cup of strong coffee, freshly grated ginger, a little dark chocolate, and molasses. Just a hint of smoked paprika builds an extra layer of aromatic mystery. It would be great on all sorts of things, but works particularly well with smoky pork shoulder and beef brisket.

Recipe Facts

Active: 20 mins
Total: 20 mins
Makes: 2 cups

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  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup strong coffee or espresso (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 (2-inch) knob peeled fresh ginger, grated on a microplane
  • 1/2 ounce dark (70%) chocolate
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine ketchup, coffee, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, and ginger and bring to a low simmer, stirring occasionally, over medium heat. Stir in chocolate and smoked paprika until chocolate is melted, then let simmer over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until flavors have mellowed and melded, 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.


I used a lighter coffee roast, which adds more acidity and therefore found that this sauce didn't need any extra tartness from vinegar; depending on the profile of the coffee you use, you may find a splash of vinegar (such as cider vinegar) will help. Taste and adjust accordingly.

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