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10 July 2020

Get your smokers and grills ready for summer with this classic Carolina mustard bbq sauce recipe from South Carolina. It goes perfectly with pork or grilled chicken.

South Carolina has a rich and proud history in barbecue. Growing up, I only knew of tomato-based barbecue sauces. Sadly, they were all I’d ever been introduced to.

Little did I know there were so many other types of barbecue sauces out there, and a practically infinite variation of them, but each with their own unique base. This mustard-based barbecue sauce is one of them.

Mustard, you say? In barbecue sauce?

Absolutely. If you’ve never encountered a barbecue sauce recipe made with mustard, you’re in for a taste bud awakening because it is truly a revelation.

Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce in a bowl

A History of Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce

Mustard-based bbq sauce is tied back to the Germans who populated South Carolina in the 1700s.

Germans are fond of their mustards, which accounts for its early introduction, but its overall flavor is the reason for its enduring popularity. I’ve seen many variations of this sauce, with a smattering of other ingredients included. This is the version I personally enjoy at home. It pairs ideally with pork – think ribs, pork chops, pork shoulder that’s been smoked to tender perfection.

You’ll find it all over South Carolina, though it has found its way up through North Carolina as well, and is offered along with other barbecue sauces at many BBQ restaurants. North Carolina is known more for their ketchup based bbq sauces with molasses and brown sugar and their vinegar based sauces as well, but they’ve made plenty of room for this mustard bbq sauce, which is also known as Carolina Gold Barbecue Sauce.

It’s great stuff, my friends!

It’s also incredibly easy to make. First off, you only want to use yellow mustard. No brown mustard here, my friends. You MUST go with the classic recipes. Trust them in the south. They know what they’re doing.

Toss in your ingredients and whisk away. A little bit of heating and you have a sauce ready to go. I like to make mine a day ahead to allow the flavors to mingle a bit. The choice is yours.

Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce, ready for a sandwich

What Does Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce Taste Like?

This mustard bbq sauce is a wonderful mix of sweet and tangy and spicy. You get a double whammy of tang from the mix of apple cider vinegar along with yellow mustard, which has a respectable level of tang on its own. You’ll find a wonderful sweetness from the brown sugar and honey, a welcomed savory taste from the seasonings, as well as enticing spicy notes from the cayenne.

If you’d like to up that overall heat factor, you can easily include extra cayenne pepper in the mix, or introduce some spicy chili flakes. If you’d prefer a no-heat version, simply omit the cayenne and focus on the other ingredients.

Let’s talk about how we make it, shall we?

South Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce Ingredients

  • Mustard. Use ¾ cup yellow mustard. Yellow mustard is standard and preferred, though you can use others if you’d like.
  • Sweet Factor. I use both ½ cup honey and ¼ cup brown sugar. Adjust to your own preference.
  • Vinegar. Use ½ cup apple cider vinegar, though you can use other vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has a nice sweetness and tang.
  • Ketchup. 2 tablespoons ketchup, or more to preference.
  • Worcestershire Sauce. Use 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Seasonings. I use 1 teaspoon garlic powder, a pinch or more of cayenne (usually more for me) and ½ teaspoon salt. If cayenne is too spicy, use paprika.
  • Hot Sauce. I like to add in a few dashes of hot sauce, though this is completely optional.

How to Make Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce

Gather Ingredients. First, add the following together in a mixing bowl: yellow mustard, honey, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and hot sauce.

Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce Ingredients

Whisk. Whisk everything together until very smooth.

Swirling my Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce Recipe

Simmer. Next, add to a small pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool.

A fresh batch of Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce

Refrigerate. Pour into a jar and cover. Refrigerate at least one day to let the flavors mingle.

Serve. To serve, warm it up in a small pot and get eating! Or enjoy it straight out of the refrigerator! So good.

Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce in a bowl and a squeeze bottle

Time to get the smokers and grills going. Here’s another barbecue sauce to add to your arsenal. Enjoy!

What to Serve with Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce

Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce is particular delicious when served with pulled pork on a bun, topped with crunchy coleslaw. It is also wonderful spooned over grilled pork chops or grilled chicken. I’ve also enjoyed it over smoked pork ribs, where the tanginess really shines.

Still, personally, there’s nothing better than smoking up a couple pork butts until they’re pull apart tender, then smothering the meat with this outstanding bbq sauce. So flavorful and infinitely enjoyable. I love to eat pulled pork.

Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce being squirted onto a pulled chicken sandwich

Try Some of My Other Popular BBQ Sauce Recipes

Best Mustard BBQ Sauce Recipe – Ever!

I love this sauce! Such a great recipe. So tangy, wonderfully sweet, just a touch spicy. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce Recipe
Print Recipe
4.93 from 26 votes

Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce Recipe

Get your smokers and grills ready for summer with this classic Carolina mustard bbq sauce recipe from South Carolina. It goes perfectly with pork or grilled chicken.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Main Course, sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bbq, Buffalo sauce, mustard, spicy
Servings: 16
Calories: 58kcal


  • ¾ cup yellow mustard
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch or more of cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Dash of hot sauce


  • Whisk all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.
  • Add to a small pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool.
  • Pour into a jar and cover. Refrigerate at least one day to let the flavors mingle.
  • To serve, warm it up in a small pot and get eating!



Heat Factor: Mild, though it is nice and juicy-tart.
Makes about 1 cup of bbq sauce.


Serving: 1tbsp | Calories: 58kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 231mg | Potassium: 46mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 18IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg

This recipe was updated on 7/10/20 to include new information, video and photos. It was originally published on Jun 15, 2016.



  1. It was really good. I brined pork chops, barbecued the chops, and served the chops with this delicious sauce. Side was vegetable kabobs (peppers and mushrooms)

    Thank you!

  2. Dan Kitley

    5 stars
    Delicious bbq sauce! Works great with pulled pork. My daughter and I had a great time making it together.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Awesome, Dan! Thanks. Yes, this is PERFECT for pulled pork. Definitely a favorite of ours.

  3. Lori Shields

    5 stars
    I omitted the honey b/c my husband doesn’t like a sweet sauce, and it was just perfect, thanks!

  4. I’ve made this and added a couple tablespoons of butter. Turned out really good. If I’m using for hamburgers or grilled chicken, I add liquid smoke.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Very nice! Love the butter addition!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Dan! Definitely a favorite here!

  5. 4 stars
    I would have given this 5 stars, but it was way too sweet for me. I ended up almost doubling all the ingredients except for the honey and brown sugar. Most people love all the sweet sauces, but I am weird. I love my sauces more on the savory/tangy side. Plenty tangy this sauce definitely is and it actually tasted really good made according to instructions. I just need something less sweet for my BBQ cravings. Next time I will cut the sweet ingredients in half. Other than that this recipe provides a great road map.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      5 stars
      Kathrin, yes, next time you can easily adjust to your own preferences by reducing the sweeter elements. Thanks for sharing.

  6. 5 stars
    We absolutely love this sauce. I am making our 4th batch today for some smoked ribs tomorrow.

    Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Sarah, no, you can use it as-is before simmering. Simmering melds the flavors together, but if you like the flavor beforehand, go for it! Enjoy!!

  7. 5 stars
    We are Eastern North Carolina bbq sauce loyalists but….OH MAN!! I put it on a spatchcocked grilled chicken but I do believe you could put this stuff on cardboard and it would taste divine. I’m thinking about making a big batch and putting it in my goodie baskets for Christmas. So if you are on my goodie list…you’re welcome. Yummy yummy.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Outstanding, Leah! I know, this stuff is addictive, right? Great present idea.

  8. 5 stars
    South Carolinian here. Needed a good mustard sauce for some hash and didn’t want to run to the store. Can’t believe how easy and delicious this recipe is. Tastes amazing!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Excellent, Kayla! This stuff is addictive. I love it.

  9. 5 stars
    This is fantastic! I want to make some and age it in my used mini whiskey aging barrel. Is it okay to not refrigerate? If not, what ingredients would I need to omit? I assume the ketchup shouldn’t be added, but I’m not completely sure.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Mike. I would refrigerate it. It’s pretty acidic, so might be fine out of the fridge in a cool, dark place. To keep it out, I would UP the acidity, like more vinegar.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      It’s more commonly used on pork, but I do enjoy it on beef. I had some the other night with smoked brisket. YUM. Works for me!

  10. 5 stars
    Great recipe. I take the Boston butts and have the butcher saw them into country style ribs. I smoke them with Mesquite smoke and
    this combination of East meets West really works great together. Taste like candied bacon. 275 degrees 2 hours turning after first hour, then 1/2 hour to set the glaze.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Great, Dan! Super happy you enjoyed it! This is one our favorite recipes for sure.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Ross! We really LOVE this sauce. Yummo!

  11. Richard Seaton, Jr

    5 stars
    Excellent sauce as a mop on shoulder. I used only brown sugar, no honey and Marie Sharps Garlic Habanero for the cayenne and hot sauce. Fabulous.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Pat. Yes, this can be canned. I would use a simple water bath method for long term preserving. Enjoy.

  12. I made this today and I absolutely love it. How long will it keep in the fridge?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Great, Tanya! Glad you love it. It will last quite a long time, as it’s mostly mustard and vinegar, seasonings and condiments. Many, many months. Enjoy!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      5 stars
      Mary, sure, you can use this as a marinade. It would add a lot of flavor. Let me know how you enjoy it.

  13. Dorothy Bevill

    5 stars
    Sounds about right. You do need to check out Eastern NC bbq sauce; you’ve offended a big portion of the state. I never learned to appreciate it; too much S.C. in me!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Dorothy. I do LOVE the BBQ sauce offerings in NC for sure. Considering that I now live here in NC, I’ll be happily getting my fill! Love it.

  14. 5 stars
    Seriously, I never say things like this but when I tasted this, all I could say to my husband was “Slap your mama”. The best mustard bbq sauce I’ve had and also use ut as a salad dressing and dipping sauce.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      That’s awesome! Yes! We REALLY love this BBQ Sauce. So unique, and SO GOOD!

  15. 5 stars
    I was making Cuban quesadillas for dinner and wanted BBQ like my favorite restaurant uses for them, not just plain yellow. This was delicious! It kicked the quesadillas to a whole other level of awesomeness! Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Awesome! Glad you enjoyed it, Jeni! I do appreciate it!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks Tawnya! Glad you love it! It’s one of our favorites as well.

  16. WelshBird

    What is the shelf life once made up? Looking to make it to take on a week’s long camping trip in the summer

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      WelshBird, if you store it properly in the refrigerator, it should last a good 6 months for you.

  17. 5 stars
    I needed a mustard bbq sauce for a recipe, and was so glad to find this because I had everything on hand. And it’s so delicious! I am going to make it and have it on hand all the time. Tonight its going on a chicken dish, can’t wait to try it on pork chops! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      That’s great, Julia. Yes, I LOVE this mustard bbq sauce recipe as well. Outstanding on chicken and pork chops for sure!

  18. Carole Bara

    5 stars
    I made this today for our Thanksgiving dinner (we have Thanksgiving in a October in Canada) to go with our ham….. amazing! Everyone raved about it! Thanks for a fantastic recipe!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      That’s great, Carole! Glad you enjoyed it! Happy Thanksgiving!

  19. 5 stars
    Im from jville Florida but i live in Phoenix Az and this is the closest to Jenkins bbg sauce lve made this sauce neice and nephews wont eat anything else on their pig my sister puts it on her rice..needless to say we love this sauce

    REPLY: Great to hear, Alexis! Thanks for sharing! — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  20. 5 stars
    have you ever canned this? How hot have you made it?

    REPLY: Theresa, no, I have not canned it though you can can mustard. It normally isn’t very hot, but you can easily heat this up with extra hot peppers. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

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