Rhubarb on it’s own is very tart and quite stringy, which is why it’s mostly found cooked or baked. When the stalks break down, they leave a wonderful sweet-meets-tart flavor. I’ve used it in muffins, in no-bake cheesecake, even cooked down to a sauce (like applesauce) and served by the bowlful. This time I wanted something to accompany all the meats we’ve been grilling this summer. This rhubarb barbecue sauce is a nice change of pace from a traditional smokey sauce. The rhubarb provides thickness and a fruity flavor. It starts with classic BBQ sauce ingredients like tomato sauce, brown sugar and vinegar. Then it transforms into a zesty zingy sauce with the addition of rhubarb, onions and garlic, cinnamon and Dijon. Use it to dress up your next burger, or baked onto chicken or pork.
Look for rhubarb stalks that are firm and blemish-free. If the leaves are attached, they should look fresh and not wilted.
Combine the chopped rhubarb, onion, garlic, olive oil, tomato sauce, cinnamon, sherry, vinegar, mustard, sugar, honey, and salt in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer over low heat until all the ingredients have broken down, about 30 minutes.
Let cool slightly and then puree until smooth in a blender or food processor.
I am mesmerized by the ping pong of sweet, tart, and tangy flavors.