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An image of a jar of homemade rhubarb barbecue sauce with stalks of rhubarb around it.
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5 from 5 votes

Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce with Grilled Chicken

Tart and tangy, with just a little bit of sweet and smoky complexity, this rhubarb BBQ sauce is a unique and unexpected twist that is perfect for grilling season!  Delicious on grilled chicken, but equally tasty on pork, ribs, and burgers, this barbecue sauce is a savory switch-up on an ingredient that is most often found baked into pies!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 434kcal
Author: Amy Nash



  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup rhubarb chopped
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce optional
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Grilled Bone-In Chicken

  • 6 large chicken pieces bone-in, skin-on
  • Salt to taste



  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan of medium heat.  Add the onions and sautè for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. 
  • Add in all of the remaining ingredients and stir until combined.  When the sauce starts bubbling, lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently, until the rhubarb is tender. 
  • Remove from the heat and transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Be careful if the sauce is still hot as it can create pressure with the lid on.  I just cover the top of my blender with a towel while I blend the hot sauce.  The sauce will be thicken as it cools, but may be thinned with water to reach your desired consistency.
  • Store in the refrigerator and use to baste chicken,pork chops or tenderloin, ribs, or other meat on the grill, or use it with pulled pork or in any recipe that calls for BBQ sauce.

Grilled Chicken

  • Heat up the grill to medium-high with a closed lid until it reaches 400 degrees F.  Season the chicken with salt.
  • When the grill is hot, turn off one burner and brush that side of the grill with vegetable oil.  Set the chicken pieces on that side of the grill (indirect heat) skin side down and shut the lid. 
  • Cook for  7-10 minutes on the first side before flipping, closing the lid again, and cooking for another 7-10 minutes. 
  • Flip the chicken again and move to the area of the grill that is directly over the flames (the direct heat area). Grill just until the skin is well browned and crisp, about 3-5 minutes.  
  • Flip the chicken and brush with rhubarb bbq sauce, then finish cooking until the chicken reaches165 degrees for breasts or 180 degrees for legs and thighs when tested with an instant read meat thermometer.
  • Serve with extra rhubarb bbq sauce on the side.


Calories: 434kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 479mg | Potassium: 701mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 401IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 3mg