Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce

Fire up your grill or smoker with this irresistible Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce(Mustard Based Barbecue Sauce) from South Carolina that goes perfectly with smoked pork or chicken.

Carolina Gold BBQ sauce is known for its distinctive yellow color and tangy, sweet profile. Originating from South Carolina, this mustard-based sauce is a staple in Southern barbecue culture.

What Makes This So Great?

Carolina Gold BBQ sauce stands out for several reasons. Firstly, its base is yellow mustard, which sets it apart from the more common tomato-based barbecue sauces. This gives it a vibrant yellow hue and a unique tanginess. The combination of mustard with brown sugar, honey, and a hint of spice creates a perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and slightly spicy. This sauce is incredibly versatile, pairing well with a variety of meats, particularly pork and chicken. Its bold taste can elevate any barbecue dish, making it a favorite among BBQ enthusiasts.

What Kitchen Items Do You Need To Make This?

To make Carolina Gold BBQ sauce, you don’t need any specialized equipment. Here’s a list of the basic kitchen items you’ll need:


  • Small saucepan
  • Whisk
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Jar or container for storing the sauce

These common kitchen tools are likely already in your kitchen, making this sauce easy to whip up anytime you’re in the mood for some Southern-style barbecue.

What Ingredients Are Needed For This Recipe?

The ingredients for Carolina Gold BBQ sauce are simple and readily available. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • ¾ cup yellow mustard: The base of the sauce, providing its distinctive color and tang.
  • ¼ cup brown sugar: Adds sweetness and a bit of depth.
  • ½ cup honey: Enhances the sweetness and balances the tanginess of the mustard.
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce: Adds a savory depth.
  • 1 tsp garlic powder: For a subtle garlic kick.
  • Pinch or more of cayenne: Adjust to taste for a bit of heat.
  • ½ tsp salt: To enhance all the flavors.
  • Few dashes of hot sauce (like Texas Pete): For an extra layer of heat and flavor complexity.

These ingredients come together to create a sauce that is both flavorful and versatile.

How To Make It

Making Carolina Gold BBQ sauce is straightforward and quick. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Combine Ingredients: Whisk all the ingredients together in a small saucepan until well combined.
  2. Heat: Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a gentle boil.
  3. Simmer: Lower the heat so it simmers gently. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Adjust: Taste the sauce and adjust the heat and sweetness as desired by adding more cayenne or honey.
  5. Cool: Transfer the sauce to a jar, cover it, and let it cool before using.

This process takes about 15 minutes and yields a delicious homemade BBQ sauce that you can use right away or store for later.

What Is The History Behind This Recipe?

Carolina Gold BBQ sauce has deep roots in South Carolina’s barbecue traditions. Its origins can be traced back to German immigrants who settled in the region in the 1700s. They brought with them a love for mustard, which eventually found its way into their barbecue sauces. Over time, the mustard-based sauce evolved, incorporating local ingredients like honey and brown sugar to create the sweet and tangy profile we know today. This sauce is particularly popular in the Midlands and Lowcountry regions of South Carolina, where it is a staple at barbecue joints and family gatherings.

What Can I Switch Up To Make This Different If I Have Dietary Needs (Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten Free)?

Carolina Gold BBQ sauce is relatively easy to adapt for various dietary needs:


  • Honey Substitute: Replace honey with agave syrup or maple syrup.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: Use a vegan Worcestershire sauce to avoid any animal-derived ingredients.


  • Worcestershire sauce is the only non-vegetarian ingredient in the original recipe, so using a vegetarian version will make the sauce vegetarian-friendly.


  • Ensure that the Worcestershire sauce and mustard are gluten-free. Many brands offer gluten-free versions of these products, so check the labels.

These simple swaps make it easy to enjoy Carolina Gold BBQ sauce no matter your dietary restrictions.

What is Carolina Gold BBQ sauce?

Carolina Gold BBQ sauce is a mustard-based barbecue sauce originating from South Carolina. It is known for its yellow color and a balance of tangy, sweet, and spicy notes. The main ingredients include yellow mustard, brown sugar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, cayenne, salt, and hot sauce.

What makes Carolina BBQ sauce different?

Carolina BBQ sauce, particularly the Gold variety, differs from other barbecue sauces because it uses mustard as its base instead of tomatoes. This gives it a distinct color and a unique tangy taste. It is also typically less thick than tomato-based sauces, making it a lighter option that complements the rich flavors of smoked and grilled meats.

What flavor is Carolina Gold BBQ?

Carolina Gold BBQ sauce offers a combination of tangy, sweet, and spicy flavors. The mustard provides the tang, the brown sugar and honey add sweetness, and the cayenne and hot sauce contribute a touch of heat. The Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder add depth and complexity, making it a well-rounded sauce.

What does Carolina Gold BBQ sauce taste like?

Carolina Gold BBQ sauce tastes tangy and sweet with a mild spiciness. The mustard gives it a sharp tang, which is balanced by the sweetness of the brown sugar and honey. The cayenne and hot sauce add a bit of heat, while the Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder provide savory undertones.

What is the difference between Carolina and Kansas City BBQ sauce?

The primary difference between Carolina and Kansas City BBQ sauces lies in their base ingredients and flavors. Carolina Gold BBQ sauce is mustard-based, with a tangy and sweet profile, while Kansas City BBQ sauce is tomato-based and typically sweeter, thicker, and smokier. Kansas City sauce often includes molasses and a variety of spices, resulting in a rich, deep flavor compared to the lighter, tangier Carolina Gold.

How Should I Store This?

To store Carolina Gold BBQ sauce, transfer it to a clean, airtight jar or container. Keep it in the refrigerator, where it will stay fresh for up to two weeks. If you make a larger batch or want to extend its shelf life, consider freezing the sauce in small portions. When ready to use, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and give it a good stir before serving.

Carolina Gold BBQ sauce is a delicious and versatile condiment with a rich history and a unique flavor profile. Making it at home is simple and allows you to adjust the ingredients to suit your taste and dietary needs. Whether you’re a barbecue enthusiast or just looking to try something new, this mustard-based sauce is sure to add a tasty twist to your meals.

A close up of carolina gold bbq sauce.

Mustard Based Barbecue Sauce

Author: Maddy & JD – Them Bites
Fire up your grill or smoker with this irresistible Mustard Based Barbecue Sauce from South Carolina that goes perfectly with smoked pork or chicken.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 16 servings
Calories 54 kcal


  • ¾ cup yellow mustard
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch or more of cayenne
  • ½ tsp salt
  • few dashes of hot sauce like Texas Pete

Recipe Instructions

  • Whisk all the ingredients together in a small saucepan. Turn the heat to medium high and bring to a gentle boil. Lower the heat so it simmers for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust heat/sweetness as desired.
  • Transfer to a jar, cover, and cool.


Need a great pork recipe? Check out our Smoked Pork Butt recipe for easy to follow, step-by-step instructions.


Calories: 54kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 1gFat: 0.4gSaturated Fat: 0.03gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.3gTrans Fat: 0.001gSodium: 212mgPotassium: 36mgFiber: 1gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 9IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 12mgIron: 0.3mg
Keyword mustard based barbecue sauce
Tried this recipe?Mention @thembitesrecipes or tag #thembites

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