It’s rhubarb season and I found myself wondering if there are any options for this gorgeous vegetable, other than the usual jellies and pies. I’ve made the vegan rhubarb cheesecake but I wanted a recipe for the main course. Buried deep in the rhubarb “tarts and crisps” categories was an original option with a bonus new word: rhubarbeque. And it called for bourbon. How could that not be amazing?

It was, though the recipe called for way too much sugar (and honey and maple syrup–geeze people!) Indeed, the final product was delicious but too sweet as expected. So I made it again, substituting Medjool dates for the sugar (and still only added half of what the substitution would have required). The final product was delicious and definitely beats anything you can find in a store. It didn’t take long to make, and I doubled the recipe and made enough to last through summer grilling season. 

Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator as you would any other sauce. For long term storage, freeze.

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Bourbon Rhubarbeque Sauce
Colleen Kachmann is a certified integrative nutrition health coach and author of Life Off the Label: A Handbook for Creating Your Own Brand of Health and Happiness. See more at
  1. In a large sauce pan, combine rhubarb and strawberries. Add just enough water to cover. Boil uncovered for 8-10 minutes. Use a colander to drain. (Option: If you don't mind a thinner sauce, retain the water and the nutrients.)
  2. Mash or blend the mixture. Return to the sauce pan.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to blender. Blend on high. Add to sauce pan.
  4. Combine ingredients and simmer for 8-10 minutes. (Note: simmer for 30 minutes if adding sauce directly to food so the alcohol cooks off and no one gets drunk.)
  5. Use as you would a traditional barbeque sauce. Grill meat, veggies, tofu or tempeh, make sloppy joes or use for stir-fry's.
Recipe Notes
  • Rhubarb stalks vary from red to pink and may also be speckled or green. This does not indicate ripeness. Choose stalks that are free of blemishes, crisp and fresh-looking. Smaller diameter stalks are younger and generally more tender, but if you're cooking them, thick (mature) stalks are fine. 
  • Limp or split stalks usually mean rhubarb isn't fresh or hasn't been stored properly.
  • Rhubarb leaves are toxic and should not be consumed. (Unlike beet greens and carrot tops, these go directly to the compost pile!)
  • Rhubarb can be eaten raw. Taste the tart!