Coffee and Brown Sugar Chicken BBQ with Thai Cabbage Salad

Chicken BBQ

The combination of coffee, brown sugar and smoked paprika make for a rich and delicious sauce. By roasting the chicken thighs by themselves and not over cooking them they stay moist which isn’t always the case with all BBQ. You will have some sauce left over, but it is worth having a batch on hand when you fire up the grill – it is great brushed on ribs or mixed into turkey burgers. Try this with the Thai cabbage salad, it is light and refreshing and just the right flavor combination against the tangy sauce.

Coffee and Brown Sugar Chicken BBQ

Serves 12

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 cups chopped onions

1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes in puree

½ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons molasses

1 tablespoon smoked paprika – plus additional to sprinkle on the chicken thighs

½ teaspoons cayenne pepper (or to taste)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon instant espresso powder

2 cups chicken broth

4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • Heat a large sauce pan to medium high heat and add the oil and the onions.
  • Sauté until soft and lightly golden brown.
  • Add all the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.
  • Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes, the sauce will thicken.
  • Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the chicken thighs in a single layer and season with salt, pepper and a sprinkling of smoked paprika.
  • Bake for about 40 minutes or until the juices run clear and the meat is cooked through.
  • With two forks pull apart the meat into bite size pieces and reserve in a large bowl.
  • Add enough sauce to coat the meat. There will be extra sauce which can be stored in the refrigerator.
  • Serve the BBQ on buns topped with the Thai cabbage salad.


Thai Cabbage Salad 

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

9 cups finely shredded green cabbage

1 cup grated carrot

6 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped

6 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped

3 tablespoons canola oil

  • In a bowl stir together the lemon juice, the sugar, and the salt until dissolved, then add the oil
  • Add the cabbage, carrot, mint, cilantro, and toss the salad well.
  • This salad keeps well refrigerated for a day or two.


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