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Barbecue sauce, the soul of a Southern BBQ feast, comes in various forms and flavors. From the rich and smoky tomato-based sauces of Kansas City to the sweet and tangy offerings of the Carolinas, there’s something special about the diverse world of BBQ sauces. 

This easy recipe shows you how to make the most tangy and delicious Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce, also known as South Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce, and explore why this mustard-based BBQ sauce should find a place with your favorite grilling and barbecue recipes.

Pouring homemade Carolina mustard bbq sauce onto pulled pork sandwich.
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Carolina’s Mustard BBQ Sauce Tradition

The roots of mustard-based barbecue sauce can be traced back to South Carolina. This state has a rich history when it comes to barbecue, influenced by the German immigrants who brought their love for mustard with them. 

The result? A tangy, golden sauce that perfectly complements smoked or grilled meats.

Key Ingredients 

  • Yellow Mustard: The main ingredient, yellow mustard, provides the sauce with its distinctive color and tangy kick.
  • Honey and Brown Sugar: These sweet ingredients balance the tanginess of the mustard, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Adding a touch of acidity and fruity notes, apple cider vinegar is a crucial element in this recipe.
  • Chipotle Pepper in Adobo: For a hint of smokiness and a touch of heat, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are a secret weapon.
  • Ketchup: Though not a traditional Carolina ingredient, ketchup adds depth and richness to the sauce.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: This umami-rich sauce contributes to the savory complexity of the mustard sauce.
  • Garlic and Black Pepper: Garlic powder and black pepper provide layers of flavor and a little kick to the sauce.
ingredients used to make Carolina mustard bbq sauce.

Why This Recipe Works

  • No Cooking Required: One of the fantastic aspects of this mustard sauce recipe is its simplicity. Unlike other BBQ sauces that require simmering for hours, this sauce is a breeze to make. Simply mix the ingredients together, and you’re good to go.
  • Tangy and Sweet: The combination of yellow mustard, honey, and brown sugar creates a sauce that’s both tangy and sweet. It’s the perfect balance that tickles your taste buds.
  • A Touch of Heat: With the addition of chipotle peppers in adobo and black pepper, this mustard-based BBQ sauce has a touch of heat that’s sure to please spice lovers.

What Does It Taste Like?

Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce has a unique flavor profile.

It’s tangy, slightly sweet, with a touch of smokiness and heat. 

The mustard base gives it a bold and zesty character that sets it apart from a traditional tomato-based sauce.

Why You Should Make It

  • Versatility: This mustard-based BBQ sauce isn’t just for pulled pork sandwiches; it goes well with a variety of grilled meats, from chicken and ribs to pork chops.
  • Authenticity: If you’re looking to capture the essence of traditional Carolina BBQ, making your own version of this mustard sauce is the way to go.
  • Customization: Feel free to tweak the recipe to suit your taste. You can adjust the sweetness, heat, or smokiness to create your personal favorite.
  • Easy to Store: Once prepared, you can store this sauce in an airtight container for future use. It only gets better with time, allowing the flavors to meld together.
Pouring Carolina mustard bbq sauce onto smoked pulled pork sandwich.

Serve This Sauce With

If you enjoy making your own sauces, you may want to also make my Whiskey BBQ Sauce.

mason jar with homemade Carolina mustard bbq sauce next to pulled pork sandwich.

So, the next time you fire up the grill, consider adding a touch of Carolina gold to your favorite meats and savor the magic of homemade mustard BBQ sauce.

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Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Prep5 minutes
Cook5 minutes
Total10 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce is the easiest homemade BBQ sauce recipe you'll find! This mustard BBQ sauce is so easy to make, spicy, and flavorful!



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  • Mix all ingredients well.
  • For best results, refrigerate in an airtight container overnight to allow the flavors to develop.
  • To serve, warm in a pot over very low heat and use on grilled meats like pulled pork or chicken.


Makes about 2 cups


Calories: 57kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 1g, Sodium: 269mg, Potassium: 52mg, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 40IU, Vitamin C: 0.4mg, Calcium: 16mg, Iron: 0.4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this? Leave me a comment below

This post was originally created in April 2015 and has been updated with photos and helpful information. Don’t worry – I didn’t change the recipe!

Hi! I’m Krissy.

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  1. You did good I have a 4 year degree in culinary arts and was looking for a new Bqu sauce. Found yours.i forgotten about mustard base.i added 2 small ingredients to fit my tast my wife and 40 year old son loved it I’ve been cooking for 55 years and worked for some 4 * restaurants you have some nice recipes. I love people who cook from the hart.

  2. I grew up on Jonny Harris out of Savana GA. I then moved to Blue Front out of West Palm Beach. In later years I moved to a brand called Carolina Gold. All three are close to this recipe. I make my own now. Forget the Chipotle crap. Just use hot sauce.

    Sweeter add more brown sugar or honey.
    Less mustard taste add some tomato paste.
    Add minced onion and garlic.

    I like the mustard sauce. Its a southern thang.

    North Carolina you can stick to your mayo based sauce. The gold is from South Carolina.

    1. I look forward to trying out some of your recommendations next time I make it! I love tweaking my recipes based on readers recommendations. Thanks! And I’m glad the recipe is closed to what you’re used to!