Spiced Smoked BBQ Chicken

The use of ground espresso beans is what sets this recipe apart from other barbecue sauces. Generally credited to Aaron Franklin, owner of Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas, adding strongly flavored espresso to smoked meats is a match made in culinary heaven.

In this particular recipe, the espresso works as a rich spice along with the gutsy tastes of black pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, and cinnamon. The bold flavors in this sauce are what makes an otherwise ordinary barbecued chicken taste divine.

Yields: 8 to 10 servings

Serving Size: 1 portion of chicken

Preparation & Cooking Time: 5 hours & 15 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup ground espresso beans
  • 1 whole chicken, giblets removed
  • Hickory wood chips


  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the garlic powder, salt, pepper, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, ground cumin, ground cinnamon and espresso beans. Mix well.
  • Place the chicken on a baking pan.
  • Coat all sides of the chicken with just enough dry rub.
  • Prepare your smoker with hickory chips.
  • Place the chicken on the smoker.
  • Cook until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees F.
  • Add wood chips as needed. This may take from three to five hours.
  • Let the chicken rest on a chopping board for 10 minutes.
  • Serve with green salad or mashed potatoes.


If you want crispy skin, you can roast the chicken in the oven at 450 degrees F or grill it for five to 10 minutes.

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