Building blocks
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Espresso Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue sauce is easy to make at home. The basic flavor profile is:

  • 4 parts ketchup
  • 1 part vinegar (usually cider vinegar)
  • 1 part sweetener (molasses, brown sugar, honey, or a mix)
  • spices and seasonings

The spices and seasonings are where you can make the sauce your own. Pull out a bottle of your “secret recipe” barbecue sauce, and your friends will think you’re a barbecue savant. 3

So, what is my secret ingredient? A shot of espresso.4

Oh, and I add chipotle en adobo to the sauce, for a hint of smoke and heat. Not too much; this is barbecue sauce, not hot sauce.

Recipe: Espresso Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Inspired by: Paul Kirk’s Championship Barbecue Sauces

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Espresso Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x


Espresso Chipotle Barbecue Sauce – a hit of coffee from the espresso and a hit of heat from the chipotle gives this sweet barbecue sauce an edge.


  • 15 ounces ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 shot espresso (or 2 ounces of coffee)
  • 1 canned chipotle, with adobo sauce, pureed or finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (or substitute cheap yellow mustard)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce


  1. Whisk it: Whisk all the ingredients until completely smooth. It’s ready to use right away, but tastes better if it is refrigerated overnight to let the flavors mingle.The sauce will last for up to two months in the refrigerator.
  • Category: Condiment
  • Cuisine: American


Brewing the espresso

Brewing the espresso



...whisked until smooth

…whisked until smooth


  • Storage: I have a little squirt bottle for BBQ sauce, but it only holds a couple of cups. I pour the rest of the sauce back into the ketchup bottle for long term storage. I write “BBQ Sauce” all over it with a sharpie, to try to avoid confusion, but the kids have learned that they need to check the color of the bottle before they assume it’s ketchup.
  • More sauce: This recipe scales up easily; double or triple the recipe if you have a larger bottle of ketchup.
  • If you don’t care about high fructose corn syrup, go ahead and get regular ketchup. It will taste the same.

What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:

My Basic Barbecue Sauce, if you want an even simpler recipe.

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Filed under: Building blocks


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


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