Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

Adam Hegsted

Coeur D’Alene Casino and Resort - Worley, ID

This unusual smoky sauce uses rhubarb’s natural tartness in place of vinegar, making it a bold accompaniment for grilled meat. While chef Adam Hegsted cold-smokes his rhubarb, home cooks can use the faster hot-smoke method.


  • 1 1/2 cups applewood smoking chips
  • 1 pound rhubarb, cut into 6-inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon diced sweet onions
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary


Line a large stockpot with 2 layers of aluminum foil. Place the wood chips in the pot. Put a round wire rack over the chips. (There should be some space between the surface of the rack and the chips.) Place the rhubarb on the rack, spreading it out evenly. Cover the pot tightly with more aluminum foil. Warm the pot over medium heat until you can smell smoke from the chips. Turn the heat to low and smoke for 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and pull back the foil cover in a well-ventilated area. Use tongs to remove the rhubarb. Let cool, then roughly chop. Set aside.

In a small pot, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the rhubarb, orange juice, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and rosemary. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring often, until the rhubarb has broken down and the sauce has reduced by half, approximately 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Transfer the contents of the pot to a blender and purée until smooth. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve. Use immediately or refrigerate.


2 cups