July 7th, 2014

Roasted Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

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I love the bright red color of fresh rhubarb, and it’s always one of the first things to appear at our farmers’ market. Of course, once I get it home, I’m never quite sure what to do with it. If you’re wondering the same thing, I highly recommend this Roasted Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce.

Roasted Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

Although it’s technically a vegetable, it’s most often found in pies and other desserts (usually pared with strawberries)–probably because it’s very bitter and usually needs a lot of sweetening up.

When choosing rhubarb, look for stalks that are flat and firm, and avoid stalks that are limp or curled. Unwashed rhubarb, stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, will keep for about 3 days.

When I brought some rhubarb home from the farmers’ market recently, I was determined to make something besides a dessert. I’d seen several sauces that utilized fresh rhubarb, which inspired me to try making a barbecue sauce. It was delicious!

The rhubarb in this sauce is roasted, which softens the rhubarb and makes it easy to puree–it’s a great thickener for the sauce. Paired with some more typical barbecue sauce ingredients, the result is a tangy, slightly sweet sauce that’s perfect on grilled chicken or pork.

This recipe makes about 2 cups (depending on how much water you add) and should keep in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Roasted Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

Preparation 10 mins Cook Time 30 mins Total Time 40 mins


  • 4 cups coarsely chopped rhubarb
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup water (plus more, as needed)
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray generously with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Place the chopped rhubarb and garlic cloves on the prepared pan. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until rhubarb is soft.
  3. Transfer the rhubarb and garlic to a food processor or blender. Puree with one cup of water until smooth.
  4. Pour the puree into a medium saucepan. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Add additional water, as needed, until sauce is desired consistency.
  5. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Cool before pouring into storage containers. Keep refrigerated.

Recipe Notes

Makes about 2 cups.

2 reviews

Who Dished It Up First: This is an original recipe.



  1. what an interesting flavour combination! love the barbecue and rhubarb flavour… but never tried them together! something i will have to try. thanks!

  2. This sounds delicious! How long did it last in the fridge for you? Do you think it would freeze well?

  3. I am canning mine for Christmas gifts!

    • How did the canning work out? Can you share your steps and method please – was thinking of canning too but not as experienced. Would love your feedback! Thanks!

      • I’ve been juicing Concord grapes all week, and just ran into your BBQ sauce recipe… I’m gonna try it today, and follow up by sealing a few pint jars as I do my 1/2 gallon or quart jars. The jars and rings are pre sterilized, while the lids are heated to a soft simmer prior to jarring the liquid, and then placed atop the jar. After filling and placement of the ring over the lid on the jar … tighten it till its snug/firm? I’ve always been told I shouldn’t over crank on these, as it can cause problems, (breakage, false seals)… The cooling of the simmered/steaming mass causes a vacuum to take affect. You know you’re good when you hear the lid make it’s little “gloip” noise within the next 30 minutes or less. If you don’t hear it seal, either place the container in the fridge for use within several weeks, or reheat the product, use a clean jar, ring, and brand new lid to try again. Do not attempt to manually seal the jar by tapping or tightening… Keep your hands to yourself during the cooling process. A gentle swipe across the top will let you know if it sealed while you stepped out of the room. Just don’t hurry it. Your tummy will thank you later;P
        P.S. Had an experience last week when I sealed my first 6 boxes of juice… Had some unused leftover generic and Ball/Kerr lids left from several years past canning expeditions. Learned that while new generic might be fine, old generic lids ARE NOT! The goopy seals tend to stick to each other, and fall off when separated. I’ll wait for those canning sales and buy brand name lids from now on. The 2-3 year Ball/Kerr lids were in perfect condition.

        • Please add the 25 minute boiling water bath step to the hot jars above… I have been corrected by my spouse… Juicing works without due to the extreme heat of the steam used to extract the juice from whatever fruit/vegetable you’re drawing it from… In the case of this amazing bbq recipe, a boiling water bath would be required to reach the recommended processing temperature. Please note, I would have amended my previous post, however I could not locate an edit feature… A few posts below mine, a boiling water bath is suggested.

  4. I made this today and it was fabulous! So easy but so fancy at the same time! I had it over pork chops, but I’m also planning on using in place of marinara sauce on portabella mushroom “pizzas” and as a topping on black bean “burgers”. Thanks so much for posting!

  5. Debbie, are you canning in a water bath, or pressure canner? And for how long?

  6. Harvested some rhubarb today & tried this recipe.. Absolutely mind blowing!! Yummyyyy i couldnt stop licking the spoon… Thankyou so much for sharing..

  7. Alicia Lavoie says:

    Can you can this? I would do water bath. Does anyone know if this would would be ok?

    • This can be canned in a water bath. Any acidic fruit can be canned as long as it has a pH below 4.6; rhubarb has a pH of 3.1-3.4 so is safe from botulism.

  8. Brooksie says:

    Thank you SOOOO much for sharing this! I am having chicken tonight and have LOTS of rhubarb and really wanted to use it in a different way, so I looked up rhubarb bbq sauce. I am so excited to have found this recipe! Thank you again!!

  9. I made mine using Dr Pepper. Amazing!!!!!!

  10. Oh my gentle annie! I made this last night and it is delicious! We are invited to supper this weekend and I wanted to bring a summery gift for my hostess. So I’ll bottle this up nice and, with a bouquet made from flowers from my garden, I think she’ll be impressed! Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  11. Has anyone jarred this?

  12. I liked this but I had to tweek it a bit. Definitely either leave out the cinnamon or decrease it a lot. I added a bit more vinegar, mustard, cayenne , garlic and onion powder. I canned it for 25 min (per the recommendation above) in a water bath.

  13. Hi! I made this last year & also canned it! It has held up great!! I have been hiding my stash so the kids won’t get into it 🙂 Thanks for the great recipe…my sister just dropped off about 30 pounds of rhubarb for me to make more. I have my work cut out for me!!! I added a tiny bit of liquid smoke to my recipe to give it that hickory smoke flavor we all love ( A little goes a long way!) & I processed the pint jars for about 20 to 25 minutes in a water bath. No pressure canner needed to can rhubarb… it is acidic enough.

  14. I made this recipe with frozen rhubarb instead and it turned out great. I did not use much water to compensate with the water in the frozen ruhubarb. I also added maple syrup to tame down the hottness of the taste as I used ancho chilli powder also garnished with smoked flavor and roasted the sauce in the oven instead of the stove top. Yummy.


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