South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce

carolina_bbq_sauce-6 squareI have always been a lover of barbecue sauce. From the time my mom and I went to Wendy’s for the first time after a rained-out elementary school carnival and I dipped my first chicken nuggets in my first barbecue sauce ever, I have been ensnared by its sweet, sweet spiciness.

As I got older, my tastes matured (well, my taste in barbecue sauce and romantic comedies…in other realms, I’m hopelessly…um…childlike) and I kind of fell in love with mustard-based barbecue sauces. They’re spicy and tangy and bright and the perfect match for the natural sweetness in pork. Or chicken. Or tiny licks from a spoon. Whatever.

I adapted this South Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce from Cook’s Country. Although I totally respect their extensive testing process, I scaled back a little on the hot sauce and the Worcestershire Sauce because I found the flavors overwhelming, but, the beauty in starting out small is that you can always add more if you want (the strength of those flavors will depend a lot on the brands of sauces that you use.) It has become one of our family favorite–it literally comes together in just a few minutes, my husband is a huge sucker for sweet mustardy anything, and it’s delicious mopped onto grilled meats as as a sauce on grilled chicken sandwiches or chicken nuggets.

South Carolina BBQ SAuceYou’re going to need yellow mustard, brown sugar, white vinegar, hot sauce (like Tabasco), Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper.

carolina bbq sauce ingredientsHave weever talked about how brown sugar is one of, like, my top 5 things in the universe?

brown sugar

Ever since I was little, The simple pleasure of patting brown sugar into a cup and then it holding its shape when I dump it out brings me infinite joy. I’m a tiny bit weird.

Now this is fairly tricky. Combine all the ingredients.



Whisk them together. And you’re done. We drizzle this on Kalua Pork or brush it onto ribs or Fauxtisserie Chicken (or rotisserie chicken from the grocery store)–my favorite is to add just a little while it’s still cooking and then serve it on the side (or drizzle it on pulled pork or chicken sandwiches (if I’m planning on using the leftover meat for something else, I’ll reserve some that doesn’t get any sauce.)

South Carolina Mustard Bardbecue Sauce



Sara Wells
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Made this sauce for my pulled pork dinner & it was delicious. I’m keeping this recipe forever! YUM & THANKS!????????????

  2. OH wow I made it and it’s Delicious! I’m from the very south (Louisiana) I’m use to our red sauce which my favorite is the sweet n spicy Which I got all of that in this recipe sauce as well as the Mustard I was craving to Try I will add I don’t know where that craving come from lol But I’m sure glad I Now have New Favorite sauce Thank You! For sharing

    1. I wish I were a canning expert, but unfortunately I’m not! You might want to consult someone who would know…when it comes to canning, I’m hesitant to give advice due to safety issues.

    2. Pitmaster Myron Mixon had a similar recipe of his Dad’s in his “BBQ Rules” book. According to him the sauce will keep, refrigerated, for up to a year. It’s the vinegar that retards spoilage… think pickles. Besides, if you can’t eat this within a year, I regret to inform you that we’re revoking your BBQ card.

  3. I love the Carolina Gold sauce from Trader Joes but I live in Canada and can’t get down to the States often enough. So I went hunting for a clone recipe and found this one. This stuff is delicious and I put it on everything! I have to keep sharing this recipe with people because everyone thinks it’s delicious. Great on pork and equally good on chicken. Yum.

  4. I made this with cider vinegar because that’s what I had. I think it was a mistake. This is way too vinegarry for my family. I even added more brown sugar and some honey to try to balance it out, but no go. I like it, but I’ll have to eat it alone.

  5. This sauce was so good and so easy to make. I think the simplicity of its ingredients is what makes this recipe so awesome. It was tangy and spicy and had such a great taste. I poured it over my pulled pork and I can’t wait to try it on chicken! Thanks!

  6. In the summer of 2012, Camden, my youngest, didn’t make the Cal Ripken all star team for the first time in several years (much to our chagrin), but that opened an opportunity and a free summer to do whatever we wanted. My wife, Heather, suggested we have our own Summer BBQ Tour (see link to read more) of barbeque restaurants around SC. Turned out to be a fantastic experience and we had the chance to experience a lot of different BBQ in a relatively short time period.

    As a native South Carolinian, I would tell you that I liked mustard sauces. I was wrong. Most of them aren’t very good from what we’ve tasted. Often, they are too “mustardy,” ironically.

    My wife’s mustard sauce was taken from a recipe she found online. Big Daddy’s, I think it was. It is unbelievably good:

    1 cup prepared yellow mustard
    ½ cup sugar
    ¼ cup light brown sugar
    ¾ cup cider vinegar
    ¼ cup water
    2 tablespoons chili powder
    1 teaspoon black pepper
    1 teaspoon white pepper
    ¼ teaspoon cayenne
    ½ teaspoon soy sauce
    2 tablespoons butter
    1 tablespoon liquid smoke (hickory flavoring)
    Mix all except soy, butter and smoke. Simmer 30 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer for 10 more minutes. Vinegar taste may be very strong until completely cooled. Refrigerating overnight is best and allows flavors to blend.

    Add a few drops of Louisiana Hot Sauce at the end if additional heat is desired.

  7. Loved this! Love the brown sugar, love the Worcestershire sauce, mustard.., everything! Congrats! 🙂

  8. Ok, sooooo, I am in the middle of cooking 80 lbs. if pork butt for my sister’s wedding on Friday (two days and 80 people, GAH!). I have a standard bbq sauce that is amazing, but I wanted to give our guests a choice. I only eat mustard on hot dogs really, but I know that Carolina mustard bbq sauce is supposed to be amazing with pulled pork. I searched for a recipe, and believe me, I do my research! I found several, but most had a crap ton of ingredients. I am cooking for 80 people, I don’t have time for that! This recipe spoke to me with it’s simplicity. Sometimes simple is just best.

    Although I am still in the middle of cooking a thousand pounds of pork, I have started my first huge batch of this sauce, and it tastes AH-MAZING! Literally, soooo good. The dark color, the visible coarse pepper, the sweetness, it all just plain worked. I haven’t even tasted it with meat yet, but my step-kids are raving that it is awesomesauce, literally. Thank you so very much, this one is definitely a keeper!

  9. I was wondering how long this can sit? I want to make it for fathers day for my dad 🙂

  10. I just made this and it DELICIOUS. I also tried it with a little added honey, and it was great! It provided just a tiny bit of sweetness to balance the mustard and vinegar. I think this is going to be my new go to!

  11. I’m from SC and ran out of our beloved sauce. I tried the recipe and it was dead on it! Loved it! Thanks for saving our dinner tonight (and all of the other nights we use your recipes)!!!

  12. I don’t have a recipe like this in my book of tricks. In fact I don’t think I even knew mustard bbq sauce existed. Well I guess that why one takes the time to read food blogs. I am pinning this one. I don’t want to lose track of it. Thank you.

  13. This recipe is the epitome of why I love your blog: Having lunch at my desk yesterday at work and looked on the OBB site (a M/W/F ritual) to find this recipe. Immediately, I knew I would be able to transform the longely whole chicken in my fridge waiting to be roasted into something special. When I got home, my 5 year-old helped me whip it together, proclaimed it to be “terribly good!” and my family raved about it! Paired with cornbread and coleslaw and voila! Wednesday night dinner was a hit.
    Thank you for always giving us reliable, easy, and delicious recipes to infuse our boring weeknight meals with excitement!

  14. What is the meat in the picture with the sauce on it? This looks so good, I need it now!

  15. This doesn’t have anything to do with the yummy recipe above, but I was wondering how to get the our best bites app. I had it once, it didn’t work and I deleted it, then I noticed my mom had it and it worked on her iPad.

    1. We actually had a lot of problems with iOS7, so we’re in the process of completely reworking it, but hopefully sometime in the near future it will be available!

  16. I can’t make this and it’s really bumming me out. I love mustard BBQ sauce too! But I have a newborn and let’s just say that things that color do not look like food to me these days. Maybe in a few months.

  17. Oh I am so trying this one. Decades ago we had neighbors who made the most delicious sauce for grilling chicken and they would not share the recipe. We new mustard was involved, so maybe…

  18. Oh my gosh, Trader Joe’s makes a similar sauce called Carolina Gold Barbeque Sauce that my husband and I are obsessed with. I’m so excited to try this recipe!

  19. I was raised on Mustard Sauce 45yrs. & I live in Pittsburgh, PA. Pittsburgh had a major population boom of southerners between 1930-1960. Woodside’s owners were from the south. A little BBQ joint named Woodside that closed it’s doors in 1995 Was King! Everyone put that sauce on EVERYTHING! Ribs, Pulled Pork & Fried Chicken.
    DELICIOUS! P.S. I’ve reviewed a lot of recipes online but your recipe is the ONLY ONE that resembles the real deal. The secret is to achieve the darkness !!!WITHOUT THE KETCHUP or Tomato Paste!!! You nailed it! Great job Kate!

  20. I have been looking for a good BBQ sauce and can’t wait to try this out! Thanks so much!

  21. Looks delicious!! Will definitely be making it this week to go with our smoked pork! Where did you get those awesome measuring cups?