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Texas Barbecue Sauce

The big, bold flavors of Texas barbecue sauce is perfect basted on beef back ribs, spare ribs, and chicken, or dolloped onto a heaping pile of pulled pork or chopped brisket!

Texas-Style Barbecue Sauce

This Texas BBQ sauce has a deep, rich flavor prevalent in the lone star state. What makes it different than regular BBQ sauce, is that it contains smoky spices like cumin and chili powder.

The best part about this tomato-based sauce is that it isn’t overly sweet, and there are options to make it completely sugar-free! Try this robust Texas-style BBQ sauce next time you make a Texas-style brisket. You’ll be glad you did!

How to use Texas Barbecue Sauce 

  • Use it as a table sauce: Transfer this sauce to a condiment bottle and drizzle on your desired amount. It’s a delicious topping for brisket and pulled pork sandwiches. You can also chop up some brisket and mix it with the sauce. Makes a delicious snack!
  • Add brisket drippings to this sauce: The smoky beef flavor added to the sauce will give it depth and incredible flavor. The next time you cook a brisket, save some of the drippings and use it in this recipe.

Ingredients

  • Ketchup (or homemade using fresh tomatoes)
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Beef broth OR brisket drippings (see below)
  • Dark brown sugar: contains more molasses than light brown sugar and is darker in color. (sub with honey or maple syrup)
  • Soy sauce
  • Freshly brewed coffee
  • Unsalted butter (optional)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Onion powder
  • Granulated garlic: you can substitute with garlic powder if needed
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne pepper or chili powder (optional)

Using brisket drippings in BBQ sauce

For this Texas-style barbecue sauce, we recommend using the brisket drippings. It adds an incredibly deep, rich, beefy flavor to the sauce. Make the sauce toward the end of the brisket resting time to access the drippings. If there is not enough, combine it with beef broth. If using beef broth, we recommend using a beef base for added flavor. Please note: Use a fat separator if the drippings appear oily.

Steps to make it

  • Simmer initial ingredients: Combine ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, and granulated garlic in a saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • In goes the brisket drippings: Ad brisket drippings (or beef broth) to the pot, and stir through. 
  • For a thinner sauce: If you prefer a thinner, beefier sauce, I recommend adding more broth or drippings. 
  • Simmer sauce for an additional 6 minutes over low heat, then add the freshly brewed coffee.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the unsalted butter to create a silky sauce: taste sauce, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cool for 10-15 minutes before using on sliced beef brisket, burnt ends, or in brisket sandwiches and BBQ beans. It’s a great dipping sauce for fries too!
  • Store sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up 10 days.

Texas BBQ sauce low-carb or sugar-free option

Replace the ketchup with a sugar-free or keto-friendly brand. You can use a brown sugar substitute to add sweetness to the sauce. Most sweeteners can be too sweet, so start with 1-2 tablespoons of sugar substitute and work your way up from there. Please note that we have not recipe-tested these substitutions, so please proceed with an open mind and do your due diligence. We’d love to hear from you if you try this sugar-free version. Leave a comment and let us know how it went.

Do I use fresh brewed or instant coffee for Texas BBQ? 

Use coffee brewed from coffee grounds (including decaf) or instant coffee. For robust flavor, use brewed espresso.

More BBQ sauce recipes

Texas-Style Barbecue Sauce

Texas Barbecue Sauce

Here is another Texas style barbecue sauce that is well worth the effort. This one has a deep, rich flavor that goes really well with beef. The best part about this sauce is that it isn’t overly sweet. I recommend giving this Texas barbecue sauce a try next time you smoke up a brisket. You’ll be glad you did.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Sauces
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: barbecue sauce, BBQ sauce, brisket sauce, Texas Barbecue Sauce
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Calories: 418kcal
Author: Sabrina Baksh

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup beef broth or brisket drippings (see notes section)
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons freshly brewed coffee
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Instructions

  • Combine ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, cumin, chili powder and granulated garlic in a saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add broth or brisket drippings to the pot, and stir through. If you’d like a thinner, beefier sauce, I recommend adding more drippings. Broth is great, but doesn’t have the intense flavors you’d get from smoked brisket.
  • Simmer sauce for 6 minutes over low heat, then add the freshly brewed coffee.
  • Remove pot from heat and stir in the unsalted butter to silk the sauce. Taste sauce, and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  • Let the sauce cool for 10-15 minutes, before using. If making a batch ahead of time, then store sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Notes

Things to consider with this recipe:
Alternatives: Need a sugar free or low carb version of this recipe? Simply replace the ketchup with a sugar free, or keto friendly brand. You can use a brown sugar substitute to add a little sweet to the sauce. Most sweeteners can be too sweet, so start off at 1-2 tablespoons of sugar substitute, and work your way up from there. We have not recipe-tested with these substitutions. So proceed with an open mind and do your due diligence. If you try this version, we’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment and let us know how it turned out!
Drippings or Broth? Always, always, always, opt for the brisket drippings. It will add such an incredibly deep, rich, beefy flavor to the sauce. If you don’t have drippings on hand, then use a broth made of a good quality beef base. The sauce won’t be as intense, but it will work in a pinch.
Coffee: So, what type of coffee should you use? You can use coffee brewed from grounds or instant coffee. However, if you’d like the sauce to be a touch deeper, robust flavor, use espresso. Can you use decaf coffee? Sure. We are just trying to utilize the full bodied flavor of the coffee and nothing more.

Nutrition

Calories: 418kcal | Carbohydrates: 91g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 3616mg | Potassium: 841mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 73g | Vitamin A: 1255IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 2mg

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