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Carolina Style Mustard Barbecue Sauce

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Tangy and sweet Carolina style mustard barbecue sauce is perfect for oven-baked chicken or a rack of ribs grilled over open flames. Makes a great dip for nuggets too!

What is Carolina style barbecue sauce made with?

True Carolina barbecue sauce is mostly tangy from the mustard and vinegar with just a little bit of sweetness. My version is much sweeter. Unapologetically sweeter. It’s got the required zip from the mustard with a good deal of brown sugar to beat back some of the heat. This recipe is spicy. You can cut back on the spice if it’s too much by leaving out the cayenne and reducing the black pepper.

a bottle of yellow mustard

Onion– When I was taught to make barbecue sauce by one of my dear friends, she always uses a base of sauteed onions.

Mustard– As I mentioned, the base is mustard and vinegar. Regular yellow mustard is the standard. I haven’t tried with any other mustard but if you experiment with another type, let us know how it turned out.

Vinegar– White vinegar is the most bitter and stands out best in this recipe. Apple cider vinegar is an acceptable substitute.

Sweetener– I add molasses to deepen the flavor and brown sugar for sweetness.

Spices– To spice it up, I add salt and pepper of course; smoked paprika, mustard powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. You can reduce the amount of black pepper to at least 1/4 teaspoon and leave out the cayenne if you don’t like spicy.

Ways to Serve this Delicious Barbecue Sauce

copycat chick-fil-a sauce

I use this sauce blended with mayo to make my Copycat Chick-fil-A Sauce and for oven barbecued chicken. You may also like one of these recipes from my blogging friends:

Pressure Cooker or Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork | Smack of Flavor

Honey Barbecue Glazed Chicken | Mindee’s Cooking Obsession

How to Make Carolina Style Barbecue Sauce

yellow mustard in a pot with vinegar

In a large saucepan warm olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and half of the salt, sauté until translucent. Be sure not to crisp onion. It should be cooked down until softened.
Next, pour in the mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and molasses.

liquid smoke

Stir and follow with brown sugar and spices. Whisk thoroughly and simmer on low heat for 35-45 minutes. Remember to stir frequently to make sure that it doesn’t stick.

carolina style barbecue sauce being strained through a sieve

I like to remove the onion from the sauce by straining it through a mesh strainer. You don’t have to do this but I like it better when it’s totally smooth. It’s ready for use immediately or you may store it in a glass jar with lid for a couple of months in the fridge.

carolina style barbecue sauce in a jar
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Carolina Style Mustard Barbecue Sauce

Print Recipe
Tangy and sweet Carolina style mustard barbecue sauce is perfect for oven-baked chicken or a rack of ribs grilled over open flames. Makes a great dip for nuggets too!
Prep Time:15 mins
Cook Time:1 hr 15 mins
Total Time:1 hr 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 c yellow mustard
  • 2/3 c white vinegar
  • 1 c dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 c molasses
  • 1/2 c onion grated
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke optional
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • In a large saucepan warm olive oil over low heat. Add onion and half of the salt, sauté until translucent and soft, about 5-6 minutes.
  • Next, pour in the mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and molasses. Stir and follow with brown sugar and spices. Whisk thoroughly and simmer on low heat for 35-45 minutes. Remember to stir frequently to make sure that it doesn’t stick.
  • Allow it to cool before straining the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the onion. Store in a glass jar with lid for a week or so in the fridge or use immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 104kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 672mg | Potassium: 171mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: barbecue, bbq, sauce, southern
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 104kcal
Author: Ty

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