Red-Eye Barbecue Sauce

Total Time

Prep: 30 min. Cook: 1 hour


4 cups

Updated: Jun. 27, 2023
I made this recipe for an assignment in culinary school—my first time making barbecue sauce. I have to say, it was the best barbecue sauce I had in a long time! The hint of coffee livens up the sweet barbecue sauce perfectly. —Evan Haut, Canton, Ohio
Red-Eye Barbecue Sauce Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 12 plum tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon adobo seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon harissa chili paste
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. In a Dutch oven, heat butter over medium heat. Add garlic and shallot; cook and stir until softened, 5-7 minutes. Add brown sugar. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown, 15-17 minutes.
  2. Add remaining ingredients; simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Puree sauce using an immersion blender or cool slightly and puree in batches in a blender. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Return to pan; cook and stir until liquid is reduced by a third, 30-40 minutes.
  3. Refrigerate, covered, until serving. Serve with grilled meats.

Test Kitchen Tip
  • Harissa is a blend of chilies, garlic and spices from North Africa and the Middle East; look for it in the international foods section.
  • Nutrition Facts

    2 tablespoons: 60 calories, 2g fat (1g saturated fat), 4mg cholesterol, 281mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate (11g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.