The summer BBQ sauce recipe that's not too sweet and perfect for brisket

Five-time James Beard Award-winning grill master and author Steven Raichlen stopped by the Salon kitchen to share the recipe for his favorite barbecue sauce. As Raichlen points out in his new book “The Brisket Chronicles: How to Barbecue, Braise, Smoke, and Cure the World's Most Epic Cut of Meat”, strong coffee and barbecued brisket have been longstanding companions for nocturnal smoke sessions, which is why espresso is his unexpected addition to this not-too-sweet Redeye Barbecue Sauce fortified with smoky bacon.

Watch the tutorial video above to learn how to make your own, and read the recipe below. Check out Steven Raichlen’s all things Brisket “Salon Talks” episode on SalonTV for the essential guide to mastering the “Mount Everest of BBQ,” brisket. For more recipes and culinary tips, visit Salon Food.

*Redeye Barbecue Sauce*

Yield: Makes 2 cups

Method: Simmering

Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minute

Heat Source: Stove or grill side burner


2 tablespoons butter

1 strip artisanal bacon, such as Nueske’s, thinly sliced crosswise

1 small onion, peeled and minced

1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and minced (for spicier sauce, leave the seeds in)

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

3/4 cup brewed espresso or strong brewed coffee

3/4 cup ketchup

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons brown sugar, plus extra as needed

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the bacon, onion, jalapeño, garlic, and cilantro and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Stir in the espresso, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, mustard, molasses, and brown sugar and gradually bring to a boil.

3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the sauce, whisking occasionally, until thick and richly flavored, 10 to 15 minutes. The sauce should be pourable—if it’s too thick, whisk in a little water.

4. Correct the seasoning, adding sugar, salt, and/or pepper to taste—the sauce should be highly seasoned, with just a touch of sweetness. Let the sauce cool to room temperature before serving.

Redeye Barbecue Sauce will keep, in a sealed container in the refrigerator, for at least 3 days.

The following recipe is reprinted from “The Brisket Chronicles: How to Barbecue, Braise, Smoke, and Cure the World's Most Epic Cut of Meat”. Copyright © 2019 by Steven Raichlen. Published by Workman Publishing (c) 2019.

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