Chipotle Rhubarb BBQ Sauce (RhuBarbecue Sauce)
Elevate your summer grilling with homemade spicy chipotle rhubarb BBQ sauce, packed full of fresh rhubarb! Spicy, tangy, and just a little sweet, this barbecue sauce is the perfect use for your CSA and farmers market rhubarb.
Every May, I think I make the same joke about the trendiness of rhubarb among food bloggers.
I mean, really – it’s nuts, right? Do that many people really have rhubarb that we need this many recipes? For such a weird, geographically limited fruit/vegetable/whatever you want to call it?
Apparently – yes. This is my first time in a few years that I (sadly) did not join a CSA. So given my lack of CSA boxes, I asked my neighborhood group if anyone had any excess rhubarb they weren’t going to use.
The response I received was pretty overwhelming. I did get all the rhubarb I needed (and more!) from some awesome neighbors (thank you!). But I’ve also been getting a lot of messages from people asking for suggestions of what to do with their rhubarb. The message almost always start with “What can you do with rhubarb other than strawberry rhubarb pie?”
Point taken. Everyone has heard of strawberry rhubarb pie, but you want something different. Somehow, there is still a need for more rhubarb recipes, and I am more than happy to fulfill that need! (No rhubarb left behind in my house.)
This is a mostly-baking blog, and rhubarb desserts are so on point this kind of year. Buuuuut… we’re doing something a little different. This year, we’re going savory instead. And spicy.
Chipotle rhubarb BBQ sauce. Spicy, sweet, rhubarb-y barbecue sauce. It’s possible I first made this solely because I love puns so much that I wanted to get to tell people they were eating RhubarBBQ sauce. But then I kept making it because it’s actually really delicious.
Here’s what I love about this rhubarb barbecue sauce: it’s the perfect combination of tangy and spicy, with just a little sweetness mixed in. It tastes a little fruity, but not in a cloyingly-sweet way since rhubarb itself is not sweet. It’s a more complex flavor than just tomato based BBQ sauce (and I’m truthfully not a big fan of Carolina-style sauces).
How to Make Chipotle Rhubarb BBQ Sauce
Want to know my favorite thing about this barbecue sauce? It’s so EASY. I normally don’t make my own BBQ sauce, but this is so easy, I can’t help but wonder why I haven’t been doing it all along!
All we need to do is add everything to saucepan and cook for 20ish minutes, until the rhubarb is soft. Blend everything together (using a traditional blender, an immersion blender, or a food processor) until smooth and pour in a little water or chicken stock to thin to your desired consistency.
That’s it. And then the fun part: slathering it all over whatever you’re going to grill or bake!
How to Use Chipotle Rhubarb BBQ Sauce
Rhubarb BBQ sauce is also completely versatile: it’s delicious on grilled chicken or pork, which is how we usually use it. It’s also fantastic on fish, used as a marinade for some tofu, and when left on the thicker side, it’s perfect to spoon on top of burgers.
And the best part of homemade barbecue sauce? Totally customizable! Make it spicier (or not). Leave it a thicker or dilute it to a thinner sauce for a glaze. The world is your (rhubarbecue sauce covered) oyster!
How to Store Chipotle Rhubarb BBQ Sauce
Once your batch of homemade barbecue sauce is ready and cooled, you can freeze it for a few months or store it in the refrigerator. From a food safety standpoint, you should use this within 5 days in the fridge — but since we live dangerously, I’ll admit that we used ours 2 weeks after making it to grill some chicken, and it was still perfectly fine (and delicious!).
Tips and Tricks for Chipotle Rhubarb BBQ Sauce:
- Fresh rhubarb has a pretty short shelf life, so you’ll want to make this within 3-5 days of getting your rhubarb. But the great news is that rhubarb freezes beautifully, so you can toss your rhubarb stalks in the freezer and make this sauce anytime in the future!
- Continue to cook until the rhubarb stalks are soft. While the blender will do the hard work of breaking it down, both the flavor and the texture are significantly improved if the sauce simmers until the rhubarb stalks are soft.
- Don’t like spicy? Leave out the chiles in adobo. Can’t find them at your grocery store (they’re sold in a can) — ground chipotle powder brings a similar heat; stir in while you simmer and add to taste.
- Freeze your leftovers! This barbecue sauce freezes well and is perfect to pull out of the freezer months after rhubarb season has passed.
Love rhubarb? Don’t forget to make these, too!
- Almond Rhubarb Cake
- Blueberry Rhubarb (Bluebarb) Pie
- Cinnamon Streusel Rhubarb Bread
- Strawberry Rhubarb Oatmeal Bars
- Rhubarb Collins
Chipotle Rhubarb BBQ Sauce
Elevate your summer grilling with homemade spicy chipotle rhubarb BBQ sauce, packed full of fresh rhubarb!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 4-5 long stalks rhubarb, chopped into quarter inch pieces (2-3 cups)
- 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2-3 chilies in adobo
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 to 1 cup water or chicken stock
- Add olive oil to a small, heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat. Saute the shallots and garlic until soft and fragrant. Add in the remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until rhubarb is soft and cooked through.
- Pour mixture into a blender or use an immersion blender to thoroughly blend ingredients. Add water or chicken stock, a quarter cup at a time, while blending. Continue to add water until desired barbecue sauce consistency is reached. Blend until completely smooth.
Barbecue sauce should be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 6 months.
A Bunsen Burner Bakery Original Protocol
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 32 Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 29Total Fat: 0.94gCarbohydrates: 4.8gProtein: 0.45g
Love this fun savory twist on using up rhubarb! Would never think to use it in a BBQ sauce…looks delish. Can’t wait to try!
I’ve never had rhubarb BBQ sauce and now I’m dying to trying it! Sounds like it would be the perfect flavor booster for grilled/smoked meats. YUM!
A chipotle rhubarb BBQ sauce sounds amazing! Rhubarb is in everything these days but I never thought of putting it in a BBQ sauce! SO trying this and those tips are amazing!
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Made this sauce tonight. Easy to change and balance out as well. Will be bbqing chicken tomorrow with this! *I added a but more sugar*
Glad you liked the BBQ sauce, Ashley! (We definitely err on the side of less sugar in our sauces – glad you were able to adjust it to your liking!)
Uhhhh this is so good. I used two dried guajillo chilis that I rehydrated in the stock, and I harvested a little more than three cups of rhubarb from my garden. I changed nothing else, though I used smoked sea salt. It’s sweet with the perfect amount of heat. The texture is great. I am going to make this every year with my rhubarb harvest! I can’t wait to grill with this. Thank you!
I’m so glad to hear how much you liked this, Michele! I’m so envious that you grow rhubarb — with the farmers’ markets closed this year, I don’t think I’ll be able to get my rhubarb fix!
This sauce hits all the right notes! I made one slight change. I cooked the chilies in adobo sauce in the sauce until it was time to blend, and then I removed them, just so I could control the spiciness for my kids. I would totally leave them in if it was just for me. The sauce is the perfect blend of sweet and savory – with a little kick of heat. Will definitely make again.
So glad you liked this, April – and such a good idea to cook the sauce with the chilies and pull them out before blending to get some of that smokey flavor without the extra heat!
Made this yesterday with the plentiful rhubarb outside. Used it on chicken breasts & it was delicious! Chipotles I’mm Adobo sauce is my new go-to. I buy at least 3 cans per week because it makes everything better.
Fun to try rhubarb in a new direction and this was super easy!
I’m glad you liked it! And I LOVE chipotles in adobo, too – we always have a few cans around at all times!
Thank you for this great looking recipe. Maybe I missed it, but I don’t see specific canning instructions, and I always get a little nervous about canning something that I’ll give out as gifts without knowing for sure I’ve done it safely. Would you use water rather than chicken broth if canning? Would appreciate any specific canning information you can provide for this recipe.
Thanks so much!!
Hi Mimi – I don’t include specific canning instructions because I’m not a canner! The pH SHOULD be low enough that it is safe to can, but this is more of a can-if-you-know-what-you’re-doing sort of recipe. I’ve always frozen it for long term storage!