How to Make Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce: A Tangy Southern Classic

Published By Kevin Turner

Last Updated Feb 12, 2024 is reader-supported. If you buy something using the links on our site, we might earn an affiliate commission at no added cost to you. This helps us pay our staff to keep making awesome content for you!

tangy BBQ sauce
Table of Contents

    Are you on the hunt for that BBQ sauce that really brings your cookout to life? Believe me, I understand the quest! It can feel endless, flipping through recipe after recipe. But at long last, I stumbled upon a Southern standout—Carolina Gold.

    This article is like striking flavor gold; it’s packed with insider tips on crafting that irresistibly tangy and sweet mustard-based sauce you’ve been yearning for. Prepare yourself to drench your dishes in taste-bud-awakening goodness!

    Key Takeaways

    • Carolina Gold BBQ sauce originated in South Carolina and was influenced by German settlers who introduced mustard to Southern cuisine.
    • The sauce is unique for its tangy and sweet flavor, using ingredients like yellow mustard, honey, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar.
    • It’s versatile in cooking and can be used as a marinade, glaze, dipping sauce or ingredient for various dishes including meats or vegetables.
    • To make the sauce at home combine mustard, honey, vinegar, pepper ketchup Worcestershire sauce simmer until thickened; then adjust flavors as needed.
    • Great for grilling or as a dip this homemade BBQ sauce pairs well with chicken pork other meats enhancing meals with traditional Carolina flair.


    The History of Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce

    Originating in South Carolina, Carolina Gold BBQ sauce has a rich history influenced by German settlers and their traditional mustard-based sauces. The tangy and sweet flavor of this Southern classic has made it a beloved staple in barbecue cuisine.

    Originated in South Carolina

    South Carolina takes credit for the birth of Carolina Gold BBQ sauce, a regional staple with a storied past. This tangy Southern classic traces its roots back to the early settlements in America.

    German immigrants moving into South Carolina during the 1700s brought with them a tradition that would influence Southern cuisine forever. They introduced their love for mustard and applied it to the preparation of barbecue sauce, crafting an original recipe that would become a hallmark of Carolinastyle BBQ.

    Not only did these settlers create a new culinary tradition, but they also paved the way for this homemade BBQ sauce to gain popularity across the region. The unique blend of tangy mustard, sweet honey, and rich spices quickly caught on, establishing itself as an essential part of traditional Carolina barbecue.

    Its distinct flavor profile has made it renowned throughout Southern cooking circles and beyond, solidifying its place in American culinary history as more than just another condiment; it’s part of our shared heritage.

    Influence of German settlers

    German settlers brought their culinary traditions to South Carolina, which significantly influenced the development of Carolina Gold BBQ sauce. Their preference for tangy and mustard-based flavors shaped the distinctive taste that sets this Southern classic apart from other regional BBQ sauces.

    The addition of ingredients such as mustard, vinegar, and honey reflects the German influence on the sauce’s flavor profile, creating a unique and beloved condiment that has stood the test of time in Southern cooking.

    The German settlers’ culinary legacy is evident in many traditional Carolina recipes, including this iconic BBQ sauce. Through their cultural contributions to Southern cuisine, they have left an indelible mark on the region’s food culture that continues to be celebrated today through dishes like Carolina Gold BBQ sauce.

    What Makes This Sauce Special?

    The Carolina Gold BBQ sauce is special because of its unique tangy and sweet flavor that sets it apart from other traditional barbecue sauces. Its versatility in cooking makes it a staple in Southern cuisine, with a rich history and influence from German settlers.

    Tangy and sweet flavor

    Infusing the Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce with a tangy and sweet flavor is essential to capturing its traditional taste. The balanced combination of yellow mustard, honey, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar creates a flavorful profile that perfectly complements various grilled meats.

    This classic sweetness is tempered by the tanginess of the mustard, resulting in a versatile sauce that can be used as both a grilling marinade and a dipping sauce.

    The harmonious blend of tangy and sweet notes in Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce makes it an ideal accompaniment for barbecued dishes, adding depth and complexity to each bite. Its unique flavor profile sets it apart from other Southern-style sauces, making it an indispensable component of any barbecue spread.

    Versatile uses for cooking

    This Carolina Gold BBQ sauce is incredibly versatile in the kitchen. It’s not just for grilling; you can use it to marinate chicken, pork, or even tofu. The tangy sweetness of the sauce also makes it a fantastic glaze for roasted vegetables or as a dipping sauce for appetizers like chicken wings or spring rolls.

    When experimenting with different recipes, try using this mustard-based BBQ sauce as an ingredient in homemade salad dressings and marinades to bring a unique sweet and tangy flavor to your dishes.

    Infuse your favorite classic recipes with the traditional Carolina-style taste of this versatile Southern tradition.

    Ingredients Needed for Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce

    To make Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce, you’ll need yellow mustard, honey, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, pepper, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce. These ingredients come together to create a tangy and sweet flavor that is perfect for grilling and dipping.

    Yellow mustard

    Yellow mustard is a key ingredient in Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce, contributing to its distinct tangy flavor. The use of yellow mustard also gives the sauce its signature golden color and adds a subtle spiciness that balances out the sweetness from the honey and brown sugar.

    When combined with other ingredients like apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup, yellow mustard creates a well-rounded flavor profile that is perfect for grilling, dipping, or incorporating into various recipes.

    In making Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce, I begin by adding yellow mustard along with honey and the other essential components. I then mix them together before simmering to achieve the ideal consistency and depth of flavor.


    I include honey in the Carolina Gold BBQ sauce to add a natural sweetness and depth of flavor. It balances the tanginess of the mustard and complements the other ingredients, creating a harmonious blend that sets this sauce apart from others.

    The honey also helps to caramelize and give a rich color when grilling or glazing meats, adding an appetizing finish.

    Now let’s dive into how we use brown sugar to enhance the complexity of flavors in this traditional Carolina Gold BBQ sauce.

    Brown sugar

    I include brown sugar to balance the tangy and acidic flavors of the mustard and apple cider vinegar. It adds a delightful hint of sweetness, enhancing the overall taste of the Carolina Gold BBQ sauce.

    The brown sugar melts into the sauce, creating a rich caramel undertone that complements the savory elements perfectly.

    Apple cider vinegar

    To make Carolina Gold BBQ sauce, apple cider vinegar is an essential ingredient that provides the tangy flavor characteristic of this Southern classic. When combined with yellow mustard, honey, and brown sugar, apple cider vinegar creates a unique balance of sweet and tart flavors that elevate the taste of the sauce.

    A key step in using apple cider vinegar is to allow it to simmer along with the other ingredients, infusing its distinct tang into the mixture. Adjusting the amount of apple cider vinegar allows for customization based on personal preference, ensuring that the sauce reaches the desired level of tanginess.

    Moreover, apple cider vinegar serves as more than just a flavor agent; it also aids in tenderizing meats when used as a marinade or basting liquid during grilling. Additionally, its acidity plays a crucial role in balancing out richer and fattier meats like pork shoulder or chicken thighs when used as a finishing glaze.


    To make Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce, I add a touch of pepper to give it a mild kick and depth of flavor. The pepper adds a subtle heat that complements the tangy sweetness of the mustard and honey, creating a well-balanced sauce that tantalizes the taste buds.

    It’s important to use freshly ground black pepper for the best flavor and aroma in every batch of this classic Southern BBQ sauce.


    I add ketchup for a hint of sweetness and richness. It complements the tanginess of mustard and balances out the flavors.

    Worcestershire sauce

    To add depth and complexity to the Carolina Gold BBQ sauce, I include Worcestershire sauce. This savory condiment contributes a rich umami flavor that enhances the overall taste profile of the sauce.

    A small amount goes a long way in balancing out the sweetness and tartness, giving the Carolina Gold BBQ sauce its distinctive tangy yet robust flavor.

    As we move on to the step-by-step guide for making this classic Southern barbecue staple, you’ll see how Worcestershire sauce plays a crucial role in elevating the overall taste of our Carolina Gold BBQ sauce recipe.

    Step-by-Step Guide on How to Make Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce

    Mix the yellow mustard, honey, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, pepper and Worcestershire sauce together before simmering and thickening to create the perfect tangy Southern classic BBQ sauce.

    For more detailed instructions on making Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce, keep reading!

    Mixing ingredients together

    I combine yellow mustard, honey, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, pepper, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl. I whisk the ingredients until they are well blended and smooth.

    Then I taste the mixture to ensure it has the perfect balance of tanginess and sweetness. Finally, I’m ready to simmer and thicken my Carolina Gold BBQ sauce.

    After combining yellow mustard, honey, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, pepper,

    ketchup and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl; these are whisked together until smooth.

    Simmering and thickening

    I simmer the Carolina Gold BBQ sauce over low heat for about 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together and the sauce to thicken slightly. I stir occasionally to prevent sticking and ensure even heating.

    Once it reaches the desired consistency, I remove it from the heat and let it cool before using or storing.

    After thickening the sauce, I taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, adding more honey for sweetness or a dash of vinegar for tanginess. This step allows me to customize the flavor according to my preferences, resulting in a perfectly balanced Carolina Gold BBQ sauce that’s ready to elevate any dish with its sweet and tangy goodness.

    Adjusting flavors

    Taste the BBQ sauce and adjust the flavors as needed. Add more honey for extra sweetness, or a splash of apple cider vinegar for a tangier kick. If it’s too thick, pour in a bit more water to reach your desired consistency.

    Keep tasting and adjusting until it’s just right.

    Now that the flavors are perfect, it’s time to move on to serving suggestions for Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce.

    Serving Suggestions for Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce

    Ideal for grilling and dipping, Carolina Gold BBQ sauce pairs perfectly with a variety of meats. Its tangy sweetness also makes it a versatile ingredient in recipes, adding a unique flavor to any dish.

    Ideal for grilling and dipping

    Perfect for grilling, Carolina Gold BBQ sauce adds a tangy and sweet flavor to meats like chicken, pork, and ribs. Its smooth texture makes it an ideal marinade or glaze, infusing your favorite cuts with a delightful Southern flair.

    For those who prefer dipping their grilled treats, this sauce is also perfect for serving on the side – its balanced flavors make it an excellent complement to the smoky char of grilled meats.

    If you’re looking for a versatile and flavorful addition to your meals, Carolina Gold BBQ sauce is not only great for grilling but also serves as an excellent dip for appetizers and finger foods.

    Pairings with different types of meats

    When I use Carolina Gold BBQ sauce, it pairs well with various types of meats. The tangy and sweet flavor complements grilled chicken, pork chops, and even beef brisket perfectly. This mustard-based BBQ sauce adds a unique twist to traditional barbecue dishes and enhances the classic BBQ flavor with its Southern-style sweetness.

    For those looking to elevate their grilling game, Carolina Gold BBQ sauce is an ideal match for ribs, pulled pork, or smoked sausages. Its versatility allows for creative uses in recipes such as marinades or glazes for meatloaf and kebabs.

    Whether it’s a summer cookout or a cozy indoor dinner, this tangy mustard sauce brings out the best in different types of meats with its traditional Carolina flavors.

    Creative uses in recipes

    Get creative with Carolina Gold BBQ sauce by using it as a marinade for grilled chicken or pork. It adds a tangy kick to skewers, turning them into crowd-pleasing party appetizers.

    Another inventive use is mixing it into coleslaw for a zesty twist that pairs perfectly with barbecued meats.

    For a unique flavor profile, incorporate the mustard-based sauce in your homemade meatloaf or glaze roasted vegetables for an unexpected burst of Southern flair. Elevate your sandwich game by spreading it on toasted bread before piling on deli meats and veggies for a delectable meal.


    In conclusion, Carolina Gold BBQ sauce is a tangy and sweet Southern classic that adds a zesty kick to any dish. The influence of German settlers on this traditional recipe gives it a unique and versatile flavor profile.

    Making this mustard-based sauce at home is simple and allows for creative uses in grilling, dipping, or as an ingredient in various recipes. Whether you’re a fan of Carolina-style BBQ or looking to try something new, mastering the art of making this classic sauce will elevate your culinary skills and impress your guests.


    1. What is Carolina Gold BBQ sauce?

    Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce is a classic Carolina-style sauce that’s sweet, tangy, and made with a mustard-based mixture.

    2. How do you make traditional Carolina Gold BBQ sauce?

    To make traditional Carolina Gold BBQ sauce, mix mustard, honey or sugar for sweetness, vinegar for tanginess, and spices to create this Southern-style barbecue favorite.

    3. Can I use honey in my tangy mustard BBQ sauce?

    Yes! You can stir in honey to add a smooth sweet flavor to your homemade tangy mustard BBQ sauce.

    4. Is the Carolina Gold recipe considered a traditional BBQ sauce?

    Yes, it’s a traditional recipe known for its unique mustard base and tangy profile that sets it apart from other typical barbecue sauces.

    5. What makes the taste of Carolinastyle BBQ sauce different from others?

    The bold combination of sharp mustard with balanced sweetness and vinegary tang gives the must-based Carolina gold bbq sause its distinctive Southern flair.

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    Kevin Turner
    Hi there, I'm Kevin Turner, Founder and CEO of I started this website to share my passion and knowledge with you. You can leverage my years of experience as a pit master and professional to grill great food!

    About The Grilling Master

    Hi there, I'm Kevin Turner, Founder and CEO of

    My passion has always been grilling, smoking and BBQ delicious meats that satisfy my inner carnivore!

    I started this website to share my passion and knowledge with you, the hungry reader who wants to prepare the perfect meal. 

    You can leverage my years of experience as a pit master and professional. 

    Send me a message and let's connect on Twitter here.

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