Rhubarb BBQ Sauce Recipe

Leda Meredith
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Canning Time: 15 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 18 servings
Yield: 2 to 3 half-pint jars
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
22 Calories
1g Fat
4g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 18
Amount per serving
Calories 22
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 81mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 3mg 13%
Calcium 27mg 2%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 115mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Rhubarb is most often used in dessert recipes such as pie and compote, but its tart taste is just as excellent in savory recipes like this sweet-and-sour barbecue sauce.

Use rhubarb barbecue sauce to baste pork, poultry, beef, and tofu before or during cooking.


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion, from 1 small or 1/2 medium onion

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 pound rhubarb, fresh or frozen, cut into pieces

  • 1/4 cup ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1 tablespoon molasses

  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, optional

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Salt, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place the extra-virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to turn golden but are not browned, about 10 to 15 minutes.

  3. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

  4. Add the rhubarb, ketchup, water, molasses, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and Tabasco sauce (if using) and ground black pepper. Raise the heat to high and bring the ingredients to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until the rhubarb is completely tender and starts to fall apart (about 10 to 15 minutes).

  5. Transfer the food to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Add salt to taste (you may not need to add any because the Worcestershire sauce is a fairly salty ingredient).

Canning Instructions

  1. Rhubarb barbecue sauce will keep in the refrigerator for at least one week. For longer storage at room temperature, ladle the sauce while still hot into clean half or quarter pint canning jars (it is not necessary to sterilize the jars for this recipe.) Leave at least 1/2-inch of head space. 

  2. Press down on the sauce with the back of a spoon and run a table knife around the sides to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper or clean cloth towel (any specks of food there could prevent a seal.) Secure canning lids.

  3. Process the jars of rhubarb barbecue sauce in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes (adjust the canning time if you live at a high altitude). 

    Use Caution When Blending Hot Ingredients

    Steam expands quickly in a blender, and can cause ingredients to splatter everywhere or cause burns. To prevent this, fill the blender only one-third of the way up, vent the top, and cover with a folded kitchen towel while blending.


  • The sauce will keep in the sealed jars for at least one year. It will still be safe to eat after that, but its color and flavor quality will start to decline. Just as with store-bought preserves, once opened the jars need to be stored in the refrigerator.