Chunky BBQ Sauce

By Marcus Samuelsson |

I love the intense regional pride that goes with the culture of barbecue. Every passionate aficionado has his or her own version of sauce and his or her own secret ingredient. The one thing the sauces all share, however, is a little bit of heat, a touch of sweetness, and a tad of sourness. My version is inspired by southern juke joints where I like to sit around listening to the blues and eating great barbecue. Brush the sauce on beef or ribs before grilling, or just slap it on a sandwich to add a blast of flavor.

Prep Details

Servings: 3 cups


2 tbsps olive oil

2 red onions, finely chopped

3-in piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsps honey

2 tbsps light brown sugar

1 1/2 c chopped, drained canned tomatoes

3/4 c ketchup

2 tbsps sweet chili sauce

2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce

1/2 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, roughly chopped

2 tbsps tomato paste

1 tsp finely chopped rosemary

1 tsp chopped thyme

1 c brewed coffee


1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, ginger, and garlic and saute until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the honey and brown sugar and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar melts and begins to caramelize, about 2 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes, ketchup, sweet chile sauce, Worcestershire sauce, chipotle, tomato paste, rosemary, thyme, coffee, and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the sauce is thickened and reduced by half, about 1 hour. Remove from the heat and let cool.