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Franklin’s BBQ Espresso Sauce – Copycat Recipe

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Aaron Franklin is a Texas Pitmaster known for his Succulent Barbecue Smoked Brisket. He is a James Beard Award-winning owner of Franklin Barbecue. A Famous BBQ Joint in Central Texas.

But it wasn’t always this way. You don’t become a Famous Pitmaster overnight!

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Aaron did grow up with BBQ Sauce in his blood.  He is, after all, a Texan. But, his parents also owned a Barbecue Stand in his native home Bryan, Texas. The love for Texas Barbecue started at an early age.

Aaron began tinkering and experimenting in his backyard, like all of us.

He later worked for Famed BBQ Pitmaster John Mueller. Although he gained much experience there, they didn’t quite see eye to eye on their BBQ Techniques. Pitmaster Mueller prefers a more Hot-n-Fast approach, while Pitmaster Franklin prefers a Low-n-Slow approach. So, off he went – on his own.

First, he opened his BBQ Joint in a Roadside Trailer. Within 2 years Franklin’s Barbecue Restaurant was Launched and the line for his BBQ hasn’t ended. “The restaurant has sold out of brisket every day since its establishment.”

If you are lucky enough to get to Austin Texas, get on Line! It’s worth the wait.

For those of you experimenting with Brisket in your own Backyard, here is Aaron’s Secret Espresso BBQ Sauce – compliments of Pitmaster Chef Steve Reichlan.

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Franklin’s Secret BBQ Sauce Recipe

Makes 3 Cups

  • 1-1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons brisket drippings or bacon drippings (you can substitute beef broth)
  • 3 tablespoons freshly brewed espresso


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Step 1: Place the ketchup, vinegars, soy sauce, garlic and onion powders, brown sugar, and brisket drippings in a heavy saucepan. Gradually bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer the sauce, uncovered, until thick and richly flavored, 10 minutes, whisking often.

Step 2: Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the espresso. Use right away or transfer to clean jars, cover, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate. The sauce will keep for several weeks.

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