Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce 1

Rhubarb: it’s not just for pie anymore.

Everyone likes a little tang in their life -and in their barbecue sauce- right? And because it’s sugary by nature (barbecue sauce, that is), it’s a great vehicle for all that rhubarb exploding in your back yard. (Or your neighbour’s.)

And while everyone else is jamming and preserving, how satisfying is it to make your own barbecue sauce? All you do is chop and simmer a few thick stalks of rhubarb, then add onion, garlic, maple syrup… all things sticky and savoury that make a well-rounded summer sauce. If you have a favourite formula already, just add rhubarb to the mix. And then bottle it up and share it with a friend, or store it in the fridge or freezer to slather on your ribs and chicken and burgers all summer long. I’m thinking this will become our House Sauce this summer.

Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce 2

And make sure you have plenty of napkins.

Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce
Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce


May 24, 2013

  • Makes: Makes about 2 cups.


2-3 large stalks of rhubarb, chopped (about 2 cups)

3/4 cup water

1 onion, finely chopped

2-3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 cup ketchup

1/2 cup pure maple or golden syrup

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup apple cider or rice vinegar

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbsp. grainy mustard


1In a small saucepan, bring the rhubarb and water to a simmer and cook for 5-6 minutes, until the rhubarb is very soft. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

2In the same saucepan, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat and cook the onion for 3-4 minutes, until soft; add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer; cook for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture thickens. Puree with a hand-held immersion blender or cool and puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Use as you would any barbecue sauce - on grilled meats, in baked beans or drizzled on burgers.


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22 comments on “Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

  1. Sippitysup
    May 25, 2013 at 10:07 am

    That sounds delicious. GREG

  2. kickpleat
    May 26, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    This looks amazing! I need to make this soon to try on some grilled chicken! Yum 🙂

  3. Bridget Oland
    May 27, 2013 at 5:33 am

    This looks beautiful! I love rhubarb so will give this a try. I’ll use molasses instead of syrup and see how it goes…Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. elizabeth
    May 28, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    This is delish, just made some and have puerco pebil in the oven, it will go together GREAT!

  5. Maggie
    May 29, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    I made this BBQ sauce this evening. Smells delish, looks good and tastes great. Will try it on steak this weekend!

  6. Nikki
    May 29, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Made this tonight, my son is in LOVE with it. He came home from work and just stood by the pot, dipping pieces of cooked chicken into it and making happy sounds.

    Looking forward to making some BBQ thighs with this tomorrow.

  7. Beth C
    June 2, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    We just made this for ribs. Amazing! have some leftover. How long will it last in the fridge?

    • Julie
      June 3, 2013 at 7:50 am

      I’m so glad to hear it! I’d think it would keep for a couple weeks just fine in the fridge – it will also freeze well!

  8. Kristyn
    June 14, 2013 at 10:08 am

    was thinking about trying this on fresh Alberta lamb chops tonight – any thoughts on that?

  9. Alison
    June 25, 2013 at 9:35 am

    I was inspired by this recipe and the 3 leftover stalks of rhubarb hanging around to try out the “jam” setting on my bread machine. Life may never be the same. We ate it on chicken thighs, and my 3-year-old daughter couldn’t get enough! I think you are my most reliable source of new recipes, Julie. Thanks!

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  11. Keentje
    September 3, 2014 at 9:16 am

    I’m going to try this today! I’m wondering if this sauce could be hot-water bath processed to be shelf stable?

  12. Christine
    June 16, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Made this last night for a dinner party…used it on pork back ribs and it was hit!!! It has a lovely fresh, tart, not-to-sweet taste! I will be using this on everything I grill this summer!!! Going to use it on a while chicken that I’ve spatchcocked to grill tonight! Thanks for the great idea!

    • Julie
      June 19, 2017 at 11:02 pm

      So great to hear!! It’ll be delish on spatchcocked chicken!

  13. Lisa
    June 3, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Used a thick teriyaki sauce instead of ketchup and added some roasted sesame oil at the end. Definitely should have cut vinegar in half if not just totally omitted. Maybe added 1/8 cup of soy.

  14. Anonymous
    July 18, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    Great recipe. Can the bbq sauce be hot water bathed to preserve?

  15. Katie
    August 20, 2018 at 9:19 am

    It’s just simmering and smells so good! Used maple syrup from my trees, rhubarb, onion and garlic from my garden. Looking forward to supper!

  16. Nicole
    July 19, 2019 at 11:08 am

    Do you have to strain the rhubarb after it cooks?

  17. Pat
    July 30, 2019 at 5:36 am

    Can the BBQ Sauce be hot water bathed to preserve for maybe 6 months. Would like to make double patch and keep. This question has been asked before but no answer. Thanks

    • Julie
      July 31, 2019 at 11:38 am

      I don’t see why not!

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