Julie’s rhubarb barbecue sauce

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rhubarb barbecue sauce is tangy and sweet

I still have a bit of rhubarb in the fridge and plan to raid a friend’s patch on the weekend so I’ll have some in the freezer. When it’s snowing in February I like to make summer pies and pretend…

In the meantime I’m enjoying using up lots of fresh rhubarb and settling into the summer-ish weather that has finally come our way. My kids have been swimming in the river and the brook, they’re wearing shorts to school and I have stocked up on sunscreen.

rhubarb barbecue sauce is tangy and sweet

But we haven’t pulled the barbecue out yet.

I love the idea of barbecuing but I lack talent and know-how. There is also the fear factor.

May be it was one too many half-cooked, half burned chicken legs at community barbecues while I was growing up. Although more than likely my aversion is related to the jury-rigged gas barbecues I grew up with.

Why is it the handy starter button always conked out?

We’d end up poking a lit match through the little hole in the side of the BBQ, and hope for the best.

There are videos on YouTube of people who do things like that.

As a result, I do a lot of “oven” barbecuing. Works for me.

rhubarb barbecue sauce is tangy and sweet

Now let me tell you how great rhubarb is in a BBQ sauce. The sour, puckering flavour of rhubarb is a perfect foil for the tangy sweet of molasses and the cooked rhubarb gives the sauce lovely texture. This recipe would work with frozen rhubarb too.


Julie’s Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce recipe

Slightly adapted from Dinner with Julie blog

  • 2-3 large stalks of rhubarb, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. grainy mustard (or Dijon mustard)
  1. In a small saucepan simmer the rhubarb with the water until the rhubarb is very soft.
  2. In a medium pot sauté the onions in the oil until soft but not brown. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  3. Add the rhubarb mixture along with the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer; cook for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture thickens.
  4. Puree

Makes about 2 cups. From Dinner with Julie

rhubarb barbecue sauce is tangy and sweet

Try my Uncle George’s Beer Barbecue Sauce recipe

Beer barbecue sauce recipe

One more thing…

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13 thoughts on “Julie’s rhubarb barbecue sauce

  1. Dawn says:

    Hi. Looking so forward to trying this recipe. I’ve been desperate to find a bbq sauce recipe that isn’t tomato based; my spouse can’t eat anything from the nightshade family, and that’s taken a serious bite out of our bbq enjoyment.

    One extra question, though. Is this too sweet or too “rhubarb” to use as a tomato substitute for something like, say chili? Wonder if it’s worth trying?

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Dawn, This recipe is delicious but it does have ketchup in it. It’s worth playing around with the recipe, may be try replacing the ketchup with some sort of fruit jam. Good luck.

  2. Sarah says:

    Do you peel the stringy strips from the rhubarb before using it?

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Sarah, Because I roast the rhubarb first I fond that it isn’t really stringy and the cake cuts easily.

  3. Jeanette says:

    Loved this sauce, even better than our apple butter BBQ sauce. Will make it again!

  4. Sally says:

    How long will this sauce keep in the fridge??
    Can it be frozen too??

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Sally — The sauce would keep at least a couple of weeks in the fridge. I have never tried to freeze a BBQ sauce, but it might work. Not sure…

  5. I love all the rhubarb recipes!! Never thought to use rhubarb in a bbq sauce! Wonderful~ Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Lynn, The rhubarb BBQ sauce was a great discovery. Something about molasses and the BBQ, a perfect pairing.

  6. Reminds me I promised you I would share mine with you, too. The photos are deadly. Make them bigger! Did you get my e-mail Thursday am. Many ended up in spam… just coasting through to read The Canadian Food Experience Project posts – expect yours will be up later, but see this was just posted today?

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Valerie – I’d love to get a copy of your BBQ sauce! As you saw from my Sunday post, I was running a little late with the CFE post…

  7. I am so loving the rhubarb recipes, thank you!!!!

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi Delores, I’m always on the lookout for more rhubarb recipes!

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