“Spicy Chipotle Meets Cowboy Coffee,” says the label of Vaquero’s BBQ Dippin Sauce. And it sure does: a very thick coffee-accented sauce, redolent of brown sugar and molasses with just the right touch of heat.
It can be diluted as a dip (we added plain yogurt) or brushed straight onto barbecued meats.
You can also use Vaquero’s as a substitute mole sauce, on braised beef, pork, poultry or tacos. That’s what we did, adding some raisins, pepitas and a dash of cinnamon.
The sauce was created in a country kitchen in Mendocino, California by Michelle Sassen, who worked with a family recipe. Her husband begged her for years to bottle and sell it. Her family also enjoys it as a breakfast sauce and a sandwich spread.
She found a production facility next door in Sonoma County, and now you can buy it. It’s a great gift idea for coffee-lovers and grillers. A 14-ounce bottle is $9.50 at Mendocino Merchandise.
Ingredients include catsup, apple cider vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, pepper sauce, coffee, chile peppers and salt.
A coffee-enriched barbecue sauce with lovely, intense flavors. Photo courtesy Mendocino Merchandise.
WHAT’S A VAQUERO?
Following the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in Mexico in 1519, civilians followed to claim their own share of New World land and bounty. Cattle and horses were shipped from Spain to populate ranches.
Needing ranch staff, the Spanish taught the native Aztecs to ride horses and wrangle cattle. These native cowboys were called vaqueros from the Spanish word for cow, vaca.
By the early 1700s, cattle ranching had spread north into what are now Arizona, New Mexico and Texas (and later to California), and south to the plains of Argentina.
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