The Carolinas are known for their pork, and many believe that nothing pairs better with savory, succulent pork than mustard.
This sauce is the perfect combination of sweet and tangy, with a little kick on the tail end from a touch of cayenne pepper.
This recipe will walk you through making a classic Carolina Gold barbecue sauce that will absolutely blow your mind.
What is Carolina Gold sauce?
Carolina Gold barbecue sauce is a mustard-based sauce popular in South Carolina. Many neighbors to the North turn their noses up at the creamy, mustard-filled concoction and prefer a spicy, vinegar-based mop sauce instead.
But there is no denying that the flavors of a great Carolina Gold sauce are absolutely delicious.
It’s a little sweet, and tangy, and has a slight kick on the back end from a touch of cayenne pepper. The flavors melt together to create a unique sauce that can’t be beaten.
The origin of Carolina Gold sauce can be traced back to German immigrants that settled in parts of South Carolina.
While we’re unable to trace the history of the sauce back to a single creator, it’s most popular in the low country region, near Charleston, and up through the center of the state.
I find that Carolina Gold barbecue sauce pairs best with pulled pork. Whether it’s a plate of pulled pork, or a sandwich piled high with savory meat, this sauce compliments the smoky, savory flavor of pork perfectly.
This recipe is great for making your own, but we also have our own Mustard BBQ Sauce you can buy from the Smoked BBQ Source shop.
Ingredients you’ll need
This sauce is extremely easy to make and you probably have all the ingredients to make it right in your kitchen already.
- Yellow mustard – The base of this sauce is mustard and I like to use classic, yellow mustard. You can alternatively use Dijon mustard or a spicy brown, but I find that the simple, tangy flavor from yellow mustard really is the best option.
- Honey – To help cut the tanginess of the mustard, honey adds a little sweetness to this sauce. You can use whatever honey you prefer, but high-quality local honey will provide the best flavor.
- Brown sugar – In addition to the sweetness from the honey, a touch of brown sugar is added to double down on the sweet flavor of this sauce. You can either use light brown sugar or dark brown sugar, but I prefer light brown sugar to prevent too strong a molasses flavor.
- Worcestershire – To round out the tangy flavor from the mustard and the sweetness from the honey and brown sugar, I like to add a bit of Worcestershire sauce to add an extra dimension of flavor.
- Apple cider vinegar – The vinegar adds a little bit of acidity to the sauce and helps to balance the sweetness.
- Cayenne pepper – Adds a touch of heat that brings the whole recipe together. I use just enough to give it a little kick. If you want to increase the spice level, double the amount, and if you are not a fan of spice, cut the amount in half
Tools you’ll need
- Medium-sized saucepan or pot – You need a saucepan or a pot that is at least 2 quarts for this recipe. I like to use a pan because I find that the sauce will come to a boil faster, but a pot is also perfectly fine. Make sure that you choose one with a lid, as the sauce needs to simmer with the lid on for about 5 minutes.
- Large spoon or silicone spatula – Whatever spoon or utensil you usually use when making a sauce will work perfectly for this recipe. I like to use a silicone spatula (as opposed to a wooden spoon) because the sauce won’t stick to it.
- Wire whisk – You don’t absolutely need a whisk to mix your sauce, but I like to use one to make the process faster. This sauce whisk is a favorite of mine.
- Mason jar (or similar storage container) – You can store this sauce in the fridge for up to a week, so I recommend a container with a lid.
What to serve Carolina Gold sauce with
This sauce is the perfect combination of sweetness and tang. It pairs wonderfully with various smoked meats, but it is most classically served atop a big pile of pulled pork.
Here are some great recipes that pair wonderfully with Carolina Gold sauce:
- Competition-style pork butt (Smoked pulled pork)
- Pulled pork sliders
- Blackstone Mustard BBQ Wings
- Smoked pork belly
- Whole smoked chicken
- Pig wings
Carolina Gold Sauce
- 1 cup yellow mustard
- 3 tbsp honey
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt to taste
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine all of the ingredients. Whisk vigorously until well-combined.
- Bring to a soft boil, then reduce the heat and cover the pan. Let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Serve immediately or transfer to a mason jar (or similar storage container) and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.