How to Make Rhubarb BBQ Sauce

How to Make Rhubarb BBQ Sauce

If you are like many gardeners, rhubarb needs little encouragement to grow at a prolific rate and many gardeners and homesteaders are often at a loss of what to do with it.  Rhubarb, often celebrated for its role in pies and desserts, can also shine in savory dishes as well as beverages and this spring and summer, we will be including several articles on unique ideas on how to use up your rhubarb in both creative and delicious ways.

Today, we’ll explore how to make a tangy and flavorful rhubarb BBQ sauce that’s perfect for grilling season. This unique sauce adds a delightful twist to your favorite meats, in particular chicken and ribs.

Ingredients Needed

Rich and Delicious Rhubarb BBQ Sauce

This rich rhubarb BBQ sauce is fantastic on BBQ chicken, ribs, and pulled pork, offering a unique blend of tangy and savory flavors.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 70 minutes
Servings: 2 cups


  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • ½ cup diced onion (about ½ medium onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups rhubarb, fresh or frozen, diced (4-5 stalks)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 can tomato paste (156 ml, 5.5 oz)
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1-2 tsp liquid smoke or smoked paprika (optional)


  1. Heat the Oil: In a large saucepan, heat the canola oil over medium heat.
  2. Sauté Aromatics: Add the diced onion and minced garlic, and sauté until they become translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Cook Rhubarb: Add the diced rhubarb and water to the saucepan. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the rhubarb starts to soften.
  4. Combine Ingredients: Mix in the brown sugar, tomato paste, cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, chili powder, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper, and liquid smoke or smoked paprika. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer on low for 30 to 45 minutes, until the rhubarb breaks down and the sauce thickens.
  5. Blend to Smooth: For a smooth finish, use an immersion blender or food processor to puree the sauce.
  6. Adjust Seasoning: Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning to your preference. You can make it sweeter by adding more sugar, tangier with additional vinegar, or spicier with more cayenne pepper.
  7. Store Properly: Store the BBQ sauce in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days, or freeze it for up to 6 months.


Serving Suggestions

Rhubarb BBQ sauce is incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes:

  • Grilled Meats: Use it as a marinade or basting sauce for grilled chicken, pork, or ribs.
  • Sandwiches: Add a dollop to pulled pork sandwiches for an extra kick of flavor.
  • Dips: Serve it as a dip for appetizers like meatballs or chicken wings.
  • Creative Uses: Try it as a topping for burgers or even as a unique ingredient in homemade pizzas.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories: 654kcal | Carbohydrates: 146g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 1567mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 128g | Iron: 5mg

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