Inarguably, there's few things that pair together better in these hot summer months than some grilling or smoking and a cold, cold beverage. It's especially true if said cold beverage is a little sudsy and a bit hoppy, at least for me, but really, any cold one could do.
However, coffee isn't the first drink that comes to mind when it comes to grilling. If you're pulling an all-nighter on a mega "slow and low" session, sure, I can get it. I don't do those at this stage in my life. If I'm up all night it's usually not for something fun like that.
However, Trader Joe's Cold Brew Coffee BBQ Sauce is having me rethink that a little. No, not staying up all night to crutch and foilwrap a piece of meat. It's that maybe...coffee and barbeque make better bedfellows than I lent credence to.
The base of the sauce is a good, basic, straightforward BBQ sauce. It's sweet and spicy with solid notes of both brown sugar and chili pepper, with apple cider vinegar and molasses adding plenty of depth. There's some sneaky heat towards the ened - it's not high, by any stretch, but spicier than I thought it'd be. Even then, the heat is offset partially and nicely by a little herbal flair. The last ingredient in the sauce is dried rosemary and I swear I tasted that before I read the list.
So what does the cold brew coffee add?
There is absolutely a distinct taste of nonacidic, non-bitey, mild, smooth black coffee that permeates the sauce as a core component. I think if all the cold brew and all the rest of the sauce were to somehow be seperated from one another and sampled individually, we'd have a okay cup of cold brew and a decent enough sauce. Put 'em both together though? Another level, and one of the more distinct sauces I've hoad in a hot minute.
Good stuff. I've used the sauce a few times for pulled pork and it works great. Can't imagine it not working well for brisket or ribs. It may be a touch too heavy for chicken, but I'd give that a try before saying that definitively. If you got a pro tip for the sauce, leave it in a comment below, I'm all ears.
It's a winner in my family. Costs maybe $4. Gonna keep on keepin' on with it. Double fours.
Bottom line: Trader Joe's Cold Brew Coffee BBQ Sauce: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons