Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce

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You'll love this lip-smacking Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce recipe that's made with tangy mustard, sweet honey, apple cider vinegar and bold spices!

It's the perfect condiment for barbecue pork sandwiches, roasted vegetables, and all types of meats on the grill!

a spoonful of Carolina Gold BBQ sauce over a mason jar.
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Why You'll Love It

  • Quick and Easy: in only 15 minutes, you'll create a tangy mustard-based bbq sauce that will tickle your taste buds!
  • Extreme Flavor: the combination of yellow mustard, vinegar and zesty spices creates a unique flavor that enhances many foods.
  • Versatile: use it as a marinade, dipping sauce or savory sandwich spread.
  • Make it Ahead: mix up a small batch of this delicious Carolina Gold sauce and keep in in an airtight container until ready to serve.
spoon dripping into bbq sauce in a mason jar.

Ingredients You'll Need

Find all of the ingredients in your refrigerator, pantry, or local grocery store. See quantities in the recipe card. 

  • classic yellow mustard - use a good quality product with bold flavor
  • clover honey - can substitute other types of honey or brown sugar
  • apple cider vinegar - provides a nice balance to the honey
  • tomato paste - can substitute ketchup if needed
  • Worcestershire sauce - a little goes a long way
  • hot sauce - optional, but adds great flavor
  • garlic powder - an essential ingredient in bbq sauce
  • onion powder - adds a hint of onion
  • smoked paprika - be sure to use smoked paprika for the best flavor
  • black pepper - gives this sauce its peppery taste
Barbecue sauce on a bbq sandwich.

This easy recipe has roots in South Carolina where it's still one of their most popular regional barbecue sauces. In fact, the South Carolina BBQ Association has chosen Carolina Gold sauce as the official barbecue sauce of the state!

Some folks say that German immigrants brought over the mustard that inspired southerners to make this peppery sauce. The primary ingredient is classic yellow mustard, but the addition of zesty spices and other simple ingredients make it a local favorite in South Carolina. 

Looking for another great sauce for burgers and fries? Try this Guthrie's Sauce Recipe that makes everything taste better!

Ingredients needed to make the sauce.

Instructions

In a large mixing bowl, add mustard and spices together.

Spices added to mustard in white dish.

Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk together until smooth.

Mixing bbq sauce with a whisk.

Transfer contents to a saucepan and cook on the stovetop over medium heat until it comes to a slow boil. Stir frequently for 5 minutes.

Sauce after it's been mixed together with a whisk.

Let sauce rest at least 5 minutes. Pour the tangy sauce into a pint size mason jar or airtight container.

Mason jar filled with bbq sauce.

When sauce has cooled down, store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Or, use immediately as a dipping sauce, basting recipe or marinade.

Variations

It's fun to experiment and make this recipe your own by changing up the ingredients. 

  • Switch the mustard: try whole grain, sweet and hot mustard, or dijon mustard instead, but remember this will totally alter the taste 
  • Add different spices: toss in some chili powder, mustard seeds, sriracha or jalapeños for more heat
  • Skip the honey: substitute brown sugar, maple syrup or add preserves like pineapple or apricot
  • Change the vinegar: use distilled white vinegar or another type for a completely different appearance and taste
Barbecue sauce dripping down a barbecue sandwich.

How to Serve Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce

Most local bbq joints or restaurants in my neck of the woods use Carolina Gold as a basting sauce. They slather it on everything from fall-off-the-bone ribs to pork chops and whole hogs. 

However, basting smoked meats isn't the only way to enjoy this zesty mustard barbecue sauce. Try these other serving ideas...

It's one of our favorite condiments to smother on pork tenderloin, chicken wings or a nice pork butt.

Every summer, I fill up a mason jar with this golden mustard-based sauce and store it in the refrigerator until it's time to smoke some chicken legs or serve a pulled pork sandwich.

You can use it to marinate chicken, baste barbecue ribs, or serve it with any type of meat or fish. It also tastes great as a glaze on your holiday ham!

Recipe FAQs

How long does Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce last?

As long as it's sealed in an airtight container and kept in the refrigerator, it will last 2 weeks.

Is this bbq sauce gluten free?

If it's made without Worcestershire or soy sauce, then it's gluten-free. But if those ingredients are added, there's gluten involved. You can always leave out any ingredient that contains gluten if necessary.

Is Carolina Gold BBQ sauce spicy?

The great thing about making your own barbecue sauce is that you can control the spice level. This recipe is not spicy at all, but it does have a bold flavor from the combination of ingredients. If you like tons of spice, feel free to add more!

Can you buy mustard bbq sauce in the grocery store?

Yes, most stores in the south carry a mustard-based sauce. My favorite brand is Sticky Fingers (ad) which has a real kick. In fact, the first place I ever tasted mustard bbq sauce was in a Sticky Fingers Restaurant in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

Expert Tips

  • Make the sauce in small batches. This recipe makes 1 pint. It's easier to control the flavor with a smaller portion.
  • Use the best ingredients you can find. Choose a high quality vinegar and the best prepared yellow mustard with plenty of bold flavor. 
  • The longer this recipe stays in the refrigerator, the better it tastes. It takes time for all of the ingredients to blend together. 
Mason jar filled with sauce on a spoon.

Storage and Freezing

Make Ahead - mix a batch of bbq sauce in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Leftovers - keep leftovers in a sealed mason jar or airtight container.

Freezing - this recipe can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw sauce in the refrigerator overnight and stir well before serving.

What to Serve With Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce?

If you're serving barbecue, you gotta have some great side dishes to go with it! Try sweet and spicy mustard sauce on your favorite burger with a side of creamy southern slaw and homemade potato salad. It also goes great with sweet pickled onions and pickled green tomatoes!

Dip it with fried chicken tenders served alongside macaroni salad, southern collard greens and homestyle macaroni and cheese.

This recipe also makes a great dip for southern fried squash and pan fried okra. If you're the sassy type, serve it as a dipper for smoked jalapeño poppers at your next backyard cookout.

Recipe Card

mason jar filled with Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce on a spoon.

Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce

You'll love this lip-smacking Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce recipe that's made with tangy mustard, sweet honey, apple cider vinegar and bold spices.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: BBQ, Sauces
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Resting Tiime: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings8
Calories: 101kcal

*See notes in blog post for detailed tips, photos and instructions.

Ingredients

  • 14 ounce bottle yellow mustard
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste (can substitute ketchup)

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl, add mustard and spices together.
    14 ounce bottle yellow mustard, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk together until smooth.
    ½ cup honey, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon hot sauce, 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • Transfer sauce to a saucepan and cook on the stovetop over medium heat until it comes to a slow boil. Stir frequently for 5 minutes.
  • Let sauce cool down at least 5 minutes. Pour the tangy sauce into a pint size mason jar or airtight container.
  • When sauce has cooled to room temperature, store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Or, use immediately as a dipping sauce, basting recipe or marinade.

Notes

  • This recipe makes 16 ounces, or 1 pint of sauce.
  • Make Ahead - mix a batch of bbq sauce in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  • Leftovers - keep leftovers in a sealed mason jar or airtight container.
  • Freezing - this recipe can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw sauce in the refrigerator overnight and stir well before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 101kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 577mg | Potassium: 128mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.

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6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is such an easy and delicious recipe!! I'll be using this barbecue sauce all summer, thanks for sharing it!

  2. 5 stars
    I love Carolina Gold barbecue sauce! I never thought about making it myself, but now I can't wait to try your recipe.

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