Rhubarb barbecue sauce is an easy way to use seasonal rhubarb and in a savory dish instead of baked goods. It tastes like regular BBQ sauce but a bit tangier and very flavorful – I think you’ll like this fun way to use rhubarb.
Rhubarb is a plant I’m always happy to grow in our garden because it’s so low maintenance (basically plant it once, give it water and a yearly layer of compost and it will produce for years and years – more on that in this Ultimate Rhubarb Guide), and it’s one of the first things that can be harvested in spring.
While I love using it to make spicy chutney, lemon rhubarb butter, muffins, and crumb bars, I’m always looking for a way to use rhubarb in things that aren’t baked desserts. I found a recipe years ago for a rhubarb barbecue sauce that I adapted and it’s become one of our favorites. It’s crazy easy and makes a terrific barbecue sauce with just a hint of tangy rhubarb.
In fact, if you didn’t know it was in there, I doubt you would be able to guess it there was rhubarb in the sauce, even though it’s the main ingredient.
Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce
The original recipe called for ketchup and I adapted this to use tomato paste instead of ketchup for two reasons:
- Using ketchup adds to the total amount of sugar (the main reason, really).
- Since I make our ketchup, it’s a little more precious and I don’t want to use it all up in barbecue sauce.
I also lowered the total amount of sugar to let the flavor of the rhubarb show through (since we eat too much sugar in America – hidden in things like barbecue sauce – I’ve been making a concerted effort to lessen the amount we use in food), increased things like garlic and mustard, and added red chili flakes for a bit of spice (totally optional, though).
How long will this sauce last?
You can keep the rhubarb barbecue sauce in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. For longer storage, pour the sauce into freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to six months.
Can you water-bath can this sauce?
This recipe has not been tested for safe canning, either water-bath or pressure canning, so it is not an option to can. Your best bet is to freeze it.
I definitely plan every year to make a number of jars to freeze while the rhubarb is producing- it’s that good.
TIP: Keep track of your freezing, canning, and drying with this Preserving Record Notebook.
Easy Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce
Unique, tangy, and delicious, rhubarb barbecue sauce is perfect for any grilled meats, seafood, and even vegetables, it’s that good.
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Cook Time: 25 min
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 6 cups 1x
- Category: Condiments
- Method: Boiling
- Cuisine: American
- 4 cups chopped rhubarb
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 2 cups water
- 2 small onions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2–1 teaspoon red chili flakes, or to taste
- Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring often (especially towards the end of cooking), until the rhubarb is tender.
- Blend until smooth using an immersion blender (or transfer to a blender or food processor to blend).
- Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks or freeze for longer storage.*
*Pour into freezer safe containers, label with contents and date, and freeze for up to six months.
Keywords: rhubarb, rhubarb sauce, BBQ, barbecue, barbecue sauce, grilling, condiments
Other Easy Homemade Condiments to Try:
- Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce (canned)
- Quick Honey Sweetened Ketchup (fridge)
- Fast Homemade Mayonnaise (fridge)
- Honey Sweetened Jalapeno Jelly (canned)
This recipe has been updated – it was originally published in June of 2011.
Subscribe & Keep Track of Your Preserved Food