Aledo’s Rhubarb Festival set for June 2-3

And get some creative rhubarb recipes from the chair of the event’s cook off
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 6:19 PM CDT
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ALEDO, Ill. (KWQC) -Rhubarb Fest is a whole lot more than delicious pie. It’s two days filled with fun in historic downtown Aledo, given the title Rhubarb Capital of Illinois in 2007 by the state’s General Assembly.

This unique event is a celebration of all things rhubarb and is always held the first Friday and Saturday of June. Admission is free and main events run 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.

Thousands gather for the homemade pies (and other unique baked goods, foods, and beverages made with the vegetable), rhubarb tastings, free rhubarb seed giveaways, crafts, plentiful family activities, music, entertainment and more.

Stephanie Godke (known as “Chef Steph” is the Rhubarb Cook Off chair. She highlights several creative ways to use the vegetable rhubarb.

Godke features both savory and sweet recipes (since most people use rhubarb as a fruit) including Rhubarb Chili, Rhubarb Upside Down Cake, Rhubarb Strawberry BBQ Sauce, and Strawberry Buckle. Scroll down to get the recipes that appear below.

The Rhubarb Cook Off is set for June 3 and visit here for more information and contest guidelines with participants of all ages. Among the celebrity judges for the cook off is TV6′s Cyle Dickens.

More information can be accessed at the festival’s website at

About the guest: Stephanie Godke’s home base of operation is at Mississippi River Distillery, 303 North Cody Road, Le Claire. For more information, visit the website at or call 563-484-4342.

Rhubarb Chili

• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

• 3 cups chopped fresh rhubarb (1/2-inch pieces)

• 1 onion, chopped

• 1 large red bell pepper, chopped

• 1 teaspoon sea salt

• 1 1⁄2 pounds ground turkey

• 3 cloves garlic, minced

• 2 tablespoons chili powder

• 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

• 1 tablespoon white sugar

• 1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cumin

• 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice

• 1⁄8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

• 2 (15oz) rinsed and drained beans (I used posole)

• 1 cup frozen sweet corn

• salt and ground black pepper to taste


1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add rhubarb, onion, red bell pepper, and salt; cook and stir until tender, about 5 minutes. Add ground turkey and garlic and cook until turkey starts to brown, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir chili powder, cocoa powder, white sugar, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, and cayenne pepper into the pot; cook and stir for 3 minutes. Add beans and corn; mix well to combine. Bring chili to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, until thickened and flavors are combined, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.

Rhubarb Strawberry BBQ Sauce

2cups sliced fresh strawberries

2 cups fresh sliced rhubarb

1/3 cup Pride of the Wapsi Strawberry Vodka

1/2 cup chili sauce

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Put the strawberries and rhubarb in a food processor and add the vodka. Processing until smooth. Pour the purée into a saucepan and add the other ingredients. Bring the sauce to a simmer to melt the sugar and meld the flavors. Store the sauce in the refrigerator for use on chicken or pork.

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake (or Muffins)
  • 1(18 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 3 LG eggs(or as called for by your cake mix)
  • 1⁄3cup oil (or as called for by your cake mix)
  • 1 1⁄3cups warm water (or as called for by your cake mix)
  • 1⁄2cup brown sugar
  • 3⁄4cup white sugar
  • 4 cups thinly sliced rhubarb

Grease a 9 x 13 cake pan with butter or use release spray. Prepare cake mix as directed on package. Sprinkle brown sugar on bottom of buttered pan. Put cut up rhubarb on top of brown sugar then sprinkle white sugar on top of rhubarb. Pour mixed cake mix batter on top of rhubarb sugar mix. Bake at 350 degrees according to cake mix box directions. When firm to touch remove from oven. Cool for 5-10 minutes then flip over onto serving plate.

Strawberry Buckle

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan 1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1/4 cup Pride of the Wapsi Strawberry Vodka

1/2 cup milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered 1/4 cup

Pride of the Wapsi Strawberry Vodka

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish with butter. Add the butter and sugar to a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the egg and Pride of the Wapsi and continue to stir to incorporate. Add the milk and stir to combine. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until fully combined. The batter will be thick, like for drop biscuits. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Place the strawberries on top and gently push them down into the batter. Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Drizzle more Pride of the Wapsi over the hot buckle dessert.

Serve with strawberry whipped cream or ice cream.