When it comes to amazing bbq sauces, the smooth piquant flavor of mustard-based bbq sauce, also dubbed Carolina Gold, may be my favorite. There’s something about how it coats smoked pulled pork piled high on a sandwich that balances everything out perfectly, making every bite finger-licking good.

Spoon drizzling mustard based sauce over pulled pork sandwich.

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What is Carolina Gold Sauce?

This tangy sauce is a smooth, bright yellow condiment that combines a mustard base and vinegar for a unique and incredible barbecue sauce.

Mustard-based bbq sauce is from South Carolina. And according to Eater’s in-depth article on regional barbecue sauces, German settlers in the middle of South Carolina added mustard to the already established vinegar-based bbq sauce for a rich, silky smooth alternative.

Because we are all very passionate about our BBQ, it became a defining characteristic of South Carolinian barbecue and a sauce you’ll find in bbq joints in central SC to Georgia.

Jar of bright yellow mustard barbecue sauce on black linen near buns and pulled pork sandwich.
Ingredients for mustard based bbq sauce.

Mustard BBQ Sauce Ingredients

  • Yellow Mustard – this is a mustard-forward sauce, and you want to stick with classic yellow mustard for the best flavor. Avoid grainy, dijon, or anything that deviates too far.
  • Honey – this adds sweetness, but brown sugar will also work as a substitute (see my notes in the recipe card below for a keto mustard bbq sauce).
  • Apple cider vinegar – thins out and adds more tang to this sauce.
  • Ketchup – just a little ketchup adds a slightly sweet umami depth to this recipe
  • Worcestershire – soy sauce or coconut aminos work in place of the Worcestershire.
  • Hot sauce – Or red pepper flakes
  • Garlic powder & Onion powder 
  • Black pepper
  • Ancho chili powder – this isn’t typically in bbq sauce, but ground ancho chili powder adds an earthiness with a hint of heat that I feel is spectacular at making a unique version of this.
Close up of yellow mustard based sauce on a pile of shredded pork on a bun.

How to make Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce

1. Bring to simmer over low heat in a pan.

2. Stir until the bubbles around the edges form, and all of the ingredients are smoothly combined.

3. Chill and store 24 hours before using BBQ Sauce

Recipe Tips

This sauce is best prepared the day before and allowed to cool in the fridge until ready to use for the best flavors.

When making shredded pork, I toss the meat in my vinegar-based sauce while shredding it and then serve it with this Carolina bbq sauce recipe so that people can pour on as much as they’d like.

Overhead shot of yellow mustard sauce on pulled pork and in a jar, more pulled pork and buns near by.

Storing Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce

Once cooled and sealed in jars or air-tight containers, this sauce should be stored in the refrigerator. It will last two weeks, stored in the fridge.

We do not recommend freezing this recipe. Just make a fresh batch when needed.

Drizzling Carolina gold bbq sauce over pulled pork sandwich.
Drizzle on that bbq mustard sauce!

Ways to use this Mustard BBQ Sauce Recipe

This Carolina mustard bbq sauce is a personal favorite, but it won’t be for everyone. It’s very mustard-forward, and I find the tang and acidity are wonderful with fatty smoked barbecue.

Slather this over pulled pork, smoked chicken, or even a burger from time to time. If you want to stretch things, you can also add a little of this mustard sauce to your potato salad or slaw for some zing!

Over head shot of jar of mustard based bbq sauce with buns and pulled pork piled near by.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it spicy?

Carolina gold sauce is a bit on the spicy side when it comes to sauce recipes, but it’s milder than our vinegar-based recipe. You can make this recipe sweeter by adding more honey or brown sugar to cut back on the heat. Or start with honey mustard and add a hint more vinegar.

Is mustard bbq sauce keto?

Most Carolina Gold BBQ sauces have honey or brown sugar in the ingredients. Check out our notes n the recipe card below on how we make this bbq sauce recipe keto friendly.

What mustard to use?

For a classic mustard barbecue sauce, we recommend using old-fashioned yellow mustard. That’s it. No grainy, nothing fancy. Yellow mustard. It has the best smooth consistency for this sauce.

Msaon jar of bright yellow mustard barbecue sauce next to buns.

More homemade barbecue sauces

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Mustard BBQ Sauce Recipe

5 from 14 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 8
When it comes to classic barbecue, South Carolina dominates with mustard base bbq sauce made to slather over smoked meats! This recipe is quick, easy, and begging for to try!


  • 1 cup Yellow mustard
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Ketchup
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1 tsp Hot sauce
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Onion powder
  • 1 tsp Black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Ancho chili powder


Simmer the Sauce

  • In a small pan whisk the mustard and all of the remaining ingredients.
  • Bring to a simmer over low heat, whisking constantly. Adjust heat to avoid a boil.

Chill and Store

  • Remove the sauce from the heat and allow to cool before transferring to a mason jar, sealing well.
  • Chill and store 24 hours before use.



For Keto Carolina Mustard Sauce, substitute Golden Monkfruit sweetener with Erythritol for the honey or use keto honey.
This sauce tastes best if made 24 hours before using to allow time for the flavor to mellow. 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 41kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.004g | Sodium: 385mg | Potassium: 77mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 72IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American, barbeque
Author: Kita Roberts

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Well, Hey, Y’all.

Kita is a multi-talented individual, boasting numerous accomplishments such as being an award-winning recipe developer, world-traveled professional photographer, and journalist. As the lead creative force behind Girl Carnivore®, she is widely recognized as an authority on all things meat.


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5 from 14 votes (14 ratings without comment)

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