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Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce (Carolina Gold)

Bring a little South Carolina to your dishes with this sweet, tangy, finger-licking delicious, Carolina mustard BBQ sauce! Made with a powerhouse combination of flavors, they don’t call it Carolina gold for nothing. This quick and easy recipe comes together in minutes and is something you’ll want on everything!

Try it on Oven-Baked Ribs or as a spread for sandwiches like our Cubano sliders for game-day snacking or alongside anything for your weeknight dinners!

Close up of the BBQ sauce - bright yellow color mustard sauce

Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce is one of those unforgettable condiments you taste for the first time and it stops you in your tracks. You keep eating even when you’re full just to finish the sauce! And then even after that, you’re still going to lick your fingers!

A vinegar-based sauce, made with garlic powder, apple cider vinegar, chili garlic sauce, and honey among other ingredients, this liquid gold is perfect on everything from pulled pork to grilled chicken to salads!

It’s not every day we find the perfect blend of ingredients that mimic a recipe you once found and thought you’d never find again. So, when we do, it’s worth celebrating and sharing!

This BBQ sauce recipe is a copycat recipe of a lady named Mary whose restaurant we stopped at during a cross-country trip when my friend was moving to South Carolina. She called the sauce Carolina Gold, and I soon found out why. Although we had so many variations on our drive across the country, hers was hands down the best.

Like, I wanted to drag everything in it, pour it on everything and jump in a pool of it. I know you know what I mean!

Since I found the recipe, I have used it on literally everything. Ham, pork butts, pork chops, pulled pork, air fryer ribs (link) beef ribs, on a burger, and yes, you can even use it on your macaroni and cheese.

For lighter use, without sacrificing the bold delicious flavor, dilute it with a little oil and make it into a salad dressing! It works great as a dipping sauce for french fries or mozzarella sticks too! I am not kidding when I say EVERYTHING.

pinterest image for carolina BBQ sauce

History of South Carolina Mustard Sauce

This sauce is usually associated with South Carolina. It is said that it was created by some German settlers. It is a vinegar and mustard-based BBQ sauce, that uses plain mustard, preferably, and no ketchup.  If the recipe has ketchup in it (and most often molasses), then it’s more of a North Carolina Vinegar sauce. Both are great, but Mary’s version of the highly addictive sauce has all of my attention at the moment.

Once you’ve tried it on pulled pork or kalua pork you won’t be able to imagine having either one without it. 

I’ll be sharing the North Carolina Version real soon because the only thing better than having one BBQ sauce recipe on your pulled pork is getting to choose between two. Or better yet, using both!

ingredients to make mustard BBQ sauce


  • Plain yellow mustard (not Dijon) – Dijon has a much sharper taste, but it’s also the texture of the seeds that we’re not looking for in this sauce.
  • Honey
  • Brown sugar – Can use light or dark.
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Chili garlic sauce – Spicy, tangy, and delicious. It is awesome on its own, so if you don’t have any, pick some up because you’ll definitely find other uses for it later on!
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Liquid smoke – This is optional but it does add a lovely smoky note.
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
all ingredients in a pan to be stirred

How to make Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce

This is one of the easiest BBQ sauces ever, it doesn’t even require a bullet list of steps! Simply stir all of the ingredients together until all incorporated into a sturdy velvety consistency. It doesn’t require any heat or cook time, which makes an easy sauce even easier.

after stirring, the sauce in a pan

Tips for this Barbeque Sauce Recipe:

  • This sauce is delicious right after you make it, but the taste improves if you give it a little time to meld. Make this the day before, pour it in a jar for a pretty presentation, and have it ready when you need it!
  • Get some small mason jars to store it in. They seal really well and are easy to clean when you’ve devoured its contents.
  • I use these adorable 8-ounce jars to store them and gift them when I’m looking for cute neighbor gifts!
  • Use it wherever you would normally use hot sauces. While this isn’t an overly spicy sauce, it will add immense flavor to everything.
  • This sauce makes a great gift. Tie a ribbon on the mason filled jar and give some to your neighbors!  They will LOVE it (and you!) 
  • Add a little olive oil to the sauce, and you’ve got a nice mustard salad dressing.
  • The next time you host a backyard cookout, pour different barbeque sauces into squeeze bottles and allow people to enjoy a flight of sauces! Being able to sample different condiments is the BEST part about enjoying anything on the grill!
  • This sauce will keep in the fridge sealed in a jar/container for up to 1 month. Make a big batch and have some handy at all times!
pinterest image for carolina BBQ sauce

Common Questions in making a vinegar based sauce

Can I sub the vinegar for it? White Vinegar and Apple cider vinegar can both be used. Even rice wine vinegar will work. What won’t work is balsamic vinegar. The color will ruin the deep golden color and the taste will vary a little bit between the white and apple cider, but not enough in either direction to be successful.

Can I use dijon mustard or brown mustard instead of yellow mustard? If you are making a true version of a Carolina= Mustard BBQ sauce you need to use plain yellow mustard. The dijon will work taste-wise, although it will be quite a bit sharper and the color will be a little darker. It’s the texture that just doesn’t bode well with all of those little seeds in there.

How long will this vinegar-based mustard keep? I have kept it in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Mary swore it would last a month in the fridge in an airtight sealed jar or sealed squeeze bottle but we used it all before the month was up! 

Recipes this Mustard BBQ Sauce is great on:

Yield: 1 cups

Caroline Mustard BBQ Sauce

Close up of the BBQ sauce - bright yellow color mustard sauce

Carolina mustard BBQ sauce! Made with a powerhouse combination of flavors, they don't call it Carolina gold for anything. This quick and easy recipe comes together in minutes and is something you'll want on ribs, sliders, fries, pork chops or ANYTHING!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • .75 Cup Yellow Mustard (plain, not dijon)
  • .25 cup Honey
  • .25 Cup Brown Sugar (light or dark is fine)
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Garlic Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Worchestershire Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Liquid Smoke (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper


  1. Place all ingredients into a small bowl and using a whisk stir until completely combined. Store in a sealed jar/container in the fridge for up to a month. Brush on chicken, ribs, or pork. Also great to dip french fries into.
  2. Can also use this to add to a little olive oil to thin it for a nice mustard salad dressing.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 Tablespoon

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 36Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 216mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 1g

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. Please calculate your own nutritional information if you want it exact to what you make and use my calculations as a guide only.

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