Early Season Barbecue

We have been talking about breaking in the new grill for weeks now, but the weather and/or our schedules have not been cooperative.  Over the weekend that finally changed and so grilling season has officially started here at the Bucarpenter household.  I had a couple of fully-cooked half ducks from Maple Leaf Farms and I knew that they would be the main event, so from there it was just a matter of seeing what looked good in the early-season garden and in the greenhouse.  I picked some rhubarb for the barbecue sauce, a bunch of French radishes to snack on raw as a side dish, and a large bunch of baby shallots and a few green onions to put on the grill.  The baby shallots are the new, green growth from a bunch of little shallot bulbs that I scattered last fall, and they are frankly amazing on the grill.  If you have never tried grilling green onions, green shallots, and/or green garlic you should give it a try.

Grilled Duck with Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

If you want to try the grilled green shallots/onions, all you do is trim off the root ends and give them a good rinse, then drizzle them with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Use a vegetable grill pan so they don’t fall through the grates, and cook them until the green tips start to blacken (they get crispy and delicious).  They are fantastic dipped into a Romesco sauce.

Since the duck was fully cooked it just needed to be crisped up on the grill and then sauced with the simple rhubarb barbecue sauce.  Duck on the grill is pretty wonderful because it doesn’t readily dry out, so it provides a larger margin of error than chicken.  There are also few things better than crispy duck skin.  For the barbecue sauce I should have blended it a bit longer to avoid the stringy look of the rhubarb, but that was an aesthetic issue, not a taste issue. I used mature, purple shallot in the sauce recipe, not the green shallots that we grilled.  Onion will work just as well.  This is the basic sauce and you can adjust it however you like–if you like sweet sauce, add more honey, if you like a really mild sauce, omit the crushed red pepper, etc.   Here’s how I put together the tangy sauce:

Easy Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce
Recipe type: Condiment
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-8
  • 2 cups chopped, fresh rhubarb
  • 1/4 cup chopped purple shallot (or onion)
  • 1/4 cup organic tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 cup water
  1. Place all of the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and cook it over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the sauce gets too thick, add a little more water. The cooking step is to remove the raw taste of the shallot and the rhubarb, so taste it after five minutes to see if you think it needs more time.
  2. Remove the sauce from the heat and taste to adjust the seasonings, if needed. This makes about two cups of sauce.

Grilled Duck with Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

I am thrilled to be back into the time of year when I can plan meals around what is growing around the yard!  It looks like we will have a bumper crop of strawberries this year, so I am already anticipating some sweet and savory strawberry recipes.  What’s growing at your house this time of year?  I’m always curious about other people’s garden lives 🙂

Thanks for reading,


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13 Responses to Early Season Barbecue

  1. Karen Harris May 19, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

    I love that new grill. You should see ours, horrible, but I refuse to buy one thinking I will surely win one sooner or later. You are my role model. Now I want to win a new grill and some duck. You just upped the ante for me. This barbecue sauce looks great.

    • Angela May 19, 2014 at 9:54 pm #

      Ha! I’ll tell you, that is a super nice grill, but it is the first thing I have won in a looooooong time. I need to get back into it. The duck was wonderful.

  2. Beth Lichty May 19, 2014 at 9:50 pm #

    Looks delicious, Angela!

    • Angela May 19, 2014 at 9:55 pm #

      Thank you, Beth! The duck was wonderful. Cannot wait to meet you all in June.

  3. Nancy May 19, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Sadly, all I can grow is herbs in pots on my driveway, and a little lemon tree that in a good year cranks out 3 lemons. We don’t have room for a garden. I think it’s partly why I get so excited about the farmers market. Your garden sounds great.

    • Angela May 19, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

      Well I killed our little lemon tree, unfortunately! When we lived in Boulder we just had a little balcony and I had it crammed full of pots with herbs and such. I grew up with a huge garden (my parents still have a huge garden), so it was nice to get a little garden space when we bought the house. But yes, Farmers’ Markets make all the difference!

  4. Janet May 20, 2014 at 12:59 am #

    The BBQ looks so good. So did the duck. That’s a new way of using rhubarb and will definitely give this a try. We have rhubarb most of the year in our garden here in sub tropical Oz.
    We also have lemons at the moment, helped along by our chooks foraging beneath. Also harvesting kale, eggplants and capsicums. Have just planted our “winter” crops of garlic, spinach, brocoli, beans and various lettuces.

    • Angela May 20, 2014 at 9:51 am #

      We are still struggling to get our rhubarb to produce well, so if you have any tips let me know. I think it might be due to the dry climate, but I would imagine that’s what you have too (only imagining, though!). And Janet, I am going to have to Google “chooks” 🙂

  5. Christine from Cook the Story May 20, 2014 at 7:40 am #

    I love your grill, and the rhubarb in your sauce sounds so intriguing!

    • Angela May 20, 2014 at 9:51 am #

      I’m so happy with the grill!

  6. Bonnie Banters May 20, 2014 at 8:59 pm #

    Never occurred to me to barbecue duck…what a marvelous way of cooking it! Of course, your sauce is absolutely perfect for grilled duck!

    • Angela May 20, 2014 at 10:05 pm #

      Thank you, Bonnie!


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