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.
What Is Carolina Gold Vinegar-based bbq 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.
- 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.
How to Make mustard based bbq sauce
Bring to simmer over low heat in a pan.
Stir until the bubbles around the edges form, and all of the ingredients are smoothly combined.
Chill and store 24 hours before using 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.
How to use / what to serve with this sauce
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!
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
More homemade barbecue sauces
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Carolina Gold Mustard-Based BBQ Sauce
- 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.