Rhubarb BBQ Sauce

I, as many here in Wisconsin, have been waiting for spring to arrive. It’s finally here, and as we are blessed with wonderful weather, we are also blessed with farmers’ markets. Spring time in Wisconsin is probably my favorite season of the year, with fall being a close second. Spring time just has this thing about it. Maybe it is the fact that everything is beginning to blossom, or that we can begin planting in our gardens, or just maybe, the smell of the cool air. Maybe it is as simple as the morning bike ride to visit to the farmer’s market on Saturday. Yeah, that’s it.

I was excited to see the signs in the neighborhood that the farmers market was opening this past weekend. I love waking up early in the morning, before everyone else, and getting on my bike to head over to the market. It is less than a couple of miles from my house, so it is a nice ride to wake me up. As our farmer’s market is small, there are two farm stands that I really enjoy buying from. One is a larger one where they have an abundance, and an array of fresh produce and herbs, and the other, a bit smaller, but offers different produce during the the season. I had one thing in mind that I wanted to purchase this past weekend, and that was rhubarb.

Rhubarb is in season right now, and as my kids have never tried rhubarb before, I thought that I could offer a sample and see how they would like it. I recall growing up and having rhubarb growing wild in our backyard. I had no idea what it was until my dad had pulled a stalk, and with that dad tone said “never eat the leaves!”. I have no idea why one would even make an attempt to eat the leaves, but we understood his point. After all, the leaves of the rhubarb plant are poisonous. But it was the stalk  that we could eat, and wow did it pack a tartness like I’ve never had before. Well, let’s just say that the  tartness overwhelmed my oldest son. He liked it, but did think it was a bit too tart. With that said, I thought I would sweeten it down a bit and make a barbecue sauce!

Rhubarb BBQ Sauce Recipe
Pictured above: Pulled Pork BBQ Sliders in Asian Steamed Bun Topped with Rhubarb BBQ Sauce and Minced Shallots


  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 6 ribs of rhubarb, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 cup of ketchup
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of light brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cracked black pepper

Begin by heating up the oil in your sauce pan on medium heat. Toss in the garlic and shallots and let them cook for about 4 minutes. Add in everything else, give a good stir. Bring this to a simmer, stirring on occasion, and cook for about 30 minutes.

Ingredients for Making Rhubarb BBQ Sauce

If you have an immersion blender, use it, blend everything until you have a nice and smooth sauce. If you do not have an immersion blender, carefully pour the mixture into a blender or food processor and blend until you have a smooth sauce.

Let it cool before storing in your refrigerator for up to two weeks. Feel free to freeze some as well as this makes plenty.

Use this as you would like any other barbecue sauce. For me, well, my kids are really into pulled pork, so that is the direction I went with. We love eating pulled pork sandwiches by steaming lotus leaf buns that you can purchase in the frozen section of your local Asian market. Basically you steam them for about 10 minutes, open them up, and pile your pork in there. Top with the sauce, and repeat. My kids tore through these like they were going out of style, and the rhubarb barbecue sauce is pretty fantastic. It’s sweet, with a bit of tart, and to me, that is a pretty amazing sauce when you can get that type of balance.

So if you have rhubarb growing in the backyard, or if you find some at your local farmer’s market, pick some up and make this barbecue sauce. I know you will love it! Plus it is a nice surprise that your family or guests will be inquiring about.

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Dax Phillips

Thank you for visiting my website. Truly, I do appreciate it. My free time and stress reliever is cooking for my family, friends, and everyone in between. The recipes you find on this site are those that I have either created, been part of, or those that I simply enjoy and have made my own in some shape, form, or other. My focus has always been on comfort food, because at the end of a long work day, you want something comforting. I currently am the father of three children, and married to a wonderful wife of thirteen years. There is nothing fancy with these recipes, just simple, and I will admit, not so simple ingredients, and a simple kitchen corner I can call my own. I learned early on that cooking and bringing family together was very important. After all, this notion of being together at dinner time was instilled early on by my parents. There are many memories of being in the kitchen with my parents, watching them cook, or preparing meals, or those home cooked smells while waiting for dinner. My parents who worked full-time, always had home cooked meals during the week, with the exception of Friday nights where we would enjoy a Wisconsin fish fry, and often on late afternoons on Sunday, where we would order Ann's pizza. I tend to cook by making things up. As a home cook, I think you have to take chances, and add or subtract ingredients that make up a dish, and make them your own. Remember to taste, and taste often. If a dish has potential, try it again, and make it your own. You should also note that I do not count calories, or break down recipes into grams of anything. To me, that's a bit boring. My philosophy is that if the food is good, eat it, and eat it in moderation. Life is just too short not to enjoy good food. Commonly Asked Questions: Can I use your photography/content on my website/blog? Please do not redistribute my photography or recipes without my permission. All of the recipes and photography on this website are my own unless noted, and is subjected to copyright  If you’d like to use a photograph or a recipe, please contact me for permission. Will you review my product/book/site? I am available for recipe development, food photography and/or styling, travel/press events, product reviews, brand promotion/ambassador, and sponsored posts. If you are interested in working with me, or if you have a question/comment regarding a recipe or about my blog, please send me an email.

3 thoughts to “Rhubarb BBQ Sauce”

  1. Wow, this is a really neat idea. I have several ribs of rhubarb languishing in my fridge (and even more coming my way). This BBQ sauce seems like a great way to use them up, at least until strawberry season here in Wisconsin. It’s also so fitting for Memorial Day weekend!

  2. How could I never think about that? Im having trouble giving my kids to eat a rhubarb and now since you mention adding a sauce on it will make wonders for my kids, I will try to use my best bbq sauce and try out your recepie.Thanks:0

  3. Oh how we miss rhubarb, not able to grow in Fl., But wait I saw it in the grocery store, $4.99 a lb…..needless to say, I am still missing rhubarb….

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