Keep It Saucy!

Spice it up & Rub it on when cooking out!

Grilling may be one of our connections with our distant ancestors and their meal preparation over an open flame. The ability to flavor their fare was pretty limited to salt, local herbs, native plants and maybe a homemade wine or beer.

We, luckily, have much more available to enhance what we cook over charcoal briquettes, wood chips or gas flame. Java Spice Rub and two sauces, Southern Root Beer Barbecue Sauce and a family favorite of mine, My Brother Jeff’s Barbecue Sauce, are enough to make those ancestors jealous.

Java Spice Rub goes together in minutes and keeps in an airtight container in the cupboard for weeks. It adds flavor to steak, ribs, chicken, fish, and vegetables and just about anything else that can go on the grill.

Many a Southern cook has a sweet barbecue sauce built around soda or pop, and the Southern Root Beer Barbecue Sauce uses root beer as its base. For a spicier sauce, My Brother Jeff’s is a winner. He got this recipe from a friend and it has become the only barbecue sauce that my brother will make. Both sauces will keep refrigerated for about two weeks.

One advantage of the rub and sauces is that they don’t need to be used exclusively during grilling season in order to liven up dinner. The rub works great on steak prepared under the broiler or on a grill pan. And, it is a key ingredient in one of my quick dinners. I can sprinkle it on some boneless chicken thighs, pop them on a Cuisinart griddler and I have my main course in the time it takes to prepare a salad and side dish. For flavor push, I reheat a little of My Brother Jeff’s Sauce and brush it on just before serving.

The sauces and rub take a little prep time but the reward and raves from your family or guest will be well worth it, even when Montana’s weather puts a damper on grilling. Enjoy!


6 T. ground coffee
2 T. dark brown sugar
2 T. smoked paprika,
2 T. kosher salt
2 t. each: garlic powder and onion powder
2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground coriander
1 t. unsweetened cocoa powder

Combine the coffee, sugar, spices and cocoa powder in a bowl. Store in an airtight container. This rub will keep in the cupboard for several weeks.




1 c. root beer
1 c. ketchup
¼ c. lemon juice
¼ c. orange juice
3 T. Worcestershire sauce
1-½ T. dark brown sugar
1 T. molasses
1 t. liquid smoke
½ t. freshly grated lemon peel
½ t. ground ginger
½ t. garlic powder
½ t. onion powder
Salt and pepper

Combine all the ingredients except the salt and pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer sauce until reduced by about half. Salt and pepper to taste. Sauce can be refrigerated for about two weeks.


1¼ c. ketchup
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1¼ c. apple cider vinegar
1 c. dark brown sugar
5 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. dry mustard
3 T. lemon juice
3 T. butter
2 t. grated fresh ginger
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
2 T. minced garlic
1 t. each of salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low to simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.

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