Basic Barbecue Sauce

July/August 1994

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (30 votes)

Bottled barbecue sauces are often loaded with sodium and high-fructose corn syrup. In ours, strong coffee balances the sweetness of molasses and orange juice while the chiles and hot sauce provide subtle heat.

"Ketchup & Worcestershire sauce both have high fructose corn syrup. So you're defeating the purpose of a "healthy" sauce. "
Basic Barbecue Sauce

Makes: About 2 cups

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 jalapeño or serrano chiles, pierced all over with a fork
  • Hot sauce, to taste


  1. Combine coffee, ketchup, molasses, orange juice, vinegar, Worcestershire, mustard and chiles in a medium heavy saucepan; bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool and discard the chiles. Add hot sauce to taste.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.


Per tablespoon: 16 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 4 g carbohydrates; 0 g protein; 0 g fiber; 94 mg sodium; 75 mg potassium.

Exchanges: Free Food

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