Spicy Rhubarb-BQ Shrimp Tacos

Spicy Rhubarb- BQ Shrimp Tacos

Spicy Rhubarb- BQ Shrimp Tacos

Rhubarb what the hell is it and how did it find its way into my BBQ sauce..
Let me tell you.. I was raised the Southern Baptist Methodist AME Zion eat your collards way..
There was chicken
There was rice
There was potato salad 
There was not Rhubarb..
I’ve challenged myself with giving some soul food classics new life. This had me standing in front of a pile of Rhubarb at Whole Foods.
I thought of all the dishes that I’d had in my lifetime.
All the first Sunday fish fries
Aunt Mabel’s Easter Sunday Potluck
Granny’s bingo night crawfish pie
Mr. Zechie's going home service..
Sunrise –Sunset
I got nothing..
I got the rhubarb anyway..
And to prove Jesus thought I was an idiot, the cashier asked me what I planned to do with it as I was checking out.
My answer was that I wasn’t sure; her response was to run down a list of suggestions.
My struggle was to not give her my best “did I ask you face”

Spicy Rhubarb- BQ Shrimp Tacos

When I got home, I was still unsure of what to do with it..
So I fried some chicken and invited my neighbor over so we could gossip about the weirdo that moved in down the street.
I told her about my dilemma, she told me about this recipe she saw in Cooking light magazine..
Rhubarb-BQ sauce..
It happened instantly, it happened 4 times.. and it’s happening again.
It also happens to be sitting in my fridge right now to later find itself covering just about every dish I cook until I run out and have to make more.
This one sauce became the one thing that was my base for 3 different recipes..
One for 3.. 3 for one..
This is like a math problem.. If 2 trains leave Boston and the same time……
Never mind.. Let me get to the point.
These Spicy Rhubarb -BQ Shrimp Tacos and how in the process of chowing down like it was our first meal since vacation bible school ended last summer- I remembered I’d forgotten to take the photos..
Then I sat there thinking, well damn I’ll get it next time … Then, well damn let me go get my camera..
This was a battle that went on in my head for about 10 minutes until the food was almost gone and I started slipping into that sleep like state you feel after you’ve eaten too much. 
So forgive my lack of pictures, at least I did snap a few before the food coma fog settled in..

This was after I licked the Rhubarb-BQ sauce off my fingers cause I’m classy like that.

A Bit Of Soul Food History: My Great Uncle Shorter was a proud oysterman and shrimper. He was proud of his longevity in this field as an African American , his boat “ My Girl Josephine” named after a classic Fats Domino song and his dear friends near Pointe √† la Hache..
It was during a trip there that I learned to not be intimidated by the heads on the shrimp, how oysters are better with hot sauce and the greatness of peanut and whiskey roasted shrimp. They were a tight knit community with a group of black fisherman that would divide up their catch and set aside enough to ensure everyone had food to eat and no one went hungry. Which lead to gatherings in the backyards of community churches and tables overflowing with seafood.

“All I know is that water, this seafood and my people.. We gotta do our best to take care of all of it or our heritage will wash away with the tides”

Spicy Rhubarb- BQ Shrimp Tacos

Spicy Rhubarb- BQ Shrimp Tacos 
Prep Time- 35mins Cook Time- 15mins Yields- 6 servings

This sauce recipe was adapted from Cooking Light 

2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
½ cup onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups of rhubarb, cut into ½ inch slices
½ cup water
3/4 cup ketchup 
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt

In a large saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add rhubarb and cook for 3 minutes or until rhubarb is translucent, stirring occasionally. Add ½ cup water, sugar, ketchup, vinegar, chile powder, mustard and salt; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for about 6 minutes until rhubarb is tender-continuing to stir occasionally.
Remove from heat .
Place the rhubarb mixture in a blender and blend until smooth.  
At this point, I divided the sauce in half adding one half to a medium size bowl and storing the other half in the fridge in a covered container for later use.
Now in the bowl with the rhubarb sauce add the shrimp -cover and let marinade in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Using a stovetop grill pan- grill shrimp over medium high heat until cooked through, about 3 minutes on each side. I added the shrimp to the grill pan as well as some of the sauce to make the shrimp extra saucy.
Divide shrimp evenly between tortillas, top with your favorite taco toppings. The topping in these photos are 1 ½ cups fresh cilantro, 1 cup radishes, sliced-2 tablespoons lime juice and salt & pepper to taste. Mixed all together in a bowl.. So good

Now proceed to get down with some rhurbarb-bq shrimp tacos…


  1. I love the idea of a spicy rhubarby sauce - I'm so used to rhubarb in sweet applications that this sounds like a great way to change it up!

  2. That is a genius recipe! I can definitely see this finding it's way to our table soon. Love your little bit of Soul Food History too, it's what it's all about.

    1. Gotta share that history right.. I've got tons more to share.. Thanks my dear!

  3. This just blew my mind. And then combining rhubarb and barbecue into rhubarb-bq blew my mind again. This is AMAZING. Making me so hungry right now girl. And the photos are beautiful -- I would have never guessed you were slipping into a food coma ;)

    1. Thanks Cynthia, I'm still thinking about those pancakes. :)

  4. Oh I am so getting down with these tacos, stat.

  5. Perfect in every way, Erika. I wish that bite in the first photo was mine :)

  6. Genius! I love a savory take on rhubarb - it already has so much tang to it!

  7. I'm starving right now and reading this post is torture! In the best possible way...

  8. I love everything about this! The use of rhubarb, the tacos, and that shrimping story. Too good.

  9. What a creative way to use rhubarb! I have never actually had rhubarb, so I should probably make these tacos. :) Loved reading this post!

  10. I love when rhubarb is used in a savory dish like this! You are so creative and talented Erika.Definitely, sharing this.

  11. Yes, yes and another yes to rhubarb bbq sauce! Genius..

  12. I never know what to do with rhubarb either, other than stuff it in pie. Which is awesome but not exactly original. Rhubarb-BQ, eh? i feel like that must be so good I could DRINK IT. And would.

  13. Oh, how I love this post. The recipe sounds fantastic, the writing is stellar (as always), and the soul food history part just roped my heart!

  14. How did I miss this post for a whole week? I WANT. Rhubarb in bbq sauce sounds so freakin' good. Thanks for sharing your lovely soul food history, too!

  15. How much ketchup goes in the sauce? you forgot to mention that part! Wow that sauce sounds really good! i don't do shrimp (those are like the cockroaches of the sea.. bottom-feeding decaying-sludge suckers.. yikes.. sorry, TMI? lol) but i definitely would love to try this yummy sauciness on something else... mmm i have rhubarb in the freezer right now.. on another note, i must say your tortillas in the pics look super perfect too! Are those homemade? :)

    1. Thanks for catching that.. Updated the ketchup.. it was 3/4 cups.. and the tortillas were store bought. annnddd tell me how you really feel about shrimp... LOL thanks for stopping by.

  16. Perfect, I just bought a bunch of rhubarb with no particular plan. I've used it to make chutney in the past, but never BBQ sauce. Yum!

  17. Such a lovely story, the soul food history part. This sauce sounds great! Will make soon...

  18. Hi Erika, this is a lovely rhubarb dish. I hope you'll add it to the Food on Friday collection over at Carole's Chatter


Thank you so much for your comments... I read each one with a kool-aid smile..