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Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce is tangy, slightly sweet, and super easy to make from scratch! The perfect pairing for pork, chicken, ribs and more! It takes only 20 minutes to whip up a batch and you can store it in the fridge all week long.

Carolina gold bbq sauce being spooned onto a shredded chicken sandwich.

Carolina BBQ sauce is mustard-based so it has a golden yellow color. It contains much less sugar than other barbecue sauces and is wonderfully tangy. Pour it over BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches or serve with Instant Pot Shredded Chicken.

Why We Love This Recipe

  • Tangy and Just Slightly Sweet – Mustard BBQ sauce is tangy from the vinegar and has a subtle sweetness.
  • Ready in 20 Minutes – Super quick to mix up!
  • Make Ahead Friendly – Store in the fridge all week long to have ready for serving.

Ingredients For Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce

You only need 5 simple ingredients plus a few spices to make a tangy, homemade BBQ sauce!

  • Yellow Mustard – The basic kind you put on your hot dog!
  • Honey
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Brown Sugar – You can use dark or light brown sugar.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Spices – Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, Cayenne Pepper.
Ingredients for Carolina gold bbq sauce.

How To Make Carolina Gold Barbecue Sauce

See the recipe card below for full, detailed instructions

  1. Cook BBQ Sauce – Add all of the ingredients to a small pot and whisk together. Heat over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for about 5 minutes, whisking and stirring often.
  2. Cool – Remove from the heat and let cool.
  3. Serve or Store – Serve the bbq sauce or you can store in the fridge to enjoy later.
Saucepan with  ingredients to make mustard bbq sauce inside.
Carolina bbq sauce in a saucepan with a wooden spoon.


What makes Carolina BBQ Sauce different?

Compared to other barbecue sauces, Carolina gold sauce is mustard and vinegar based. Other barbecue sauces contain more sugar and are very sweet while Carolina BBQ Sauce contains less sugar and is much tangier.

Is there ketchup in barbecue sauce?

This Carolina-style sauce does not have ketchup or tomato in it. But, the sweeter Kansas City-style barbecue sauce does typically have a ketchup or tomato base. Here is a recipe to make a ketchup-based barbecue sauce.

Serving Suggestions

Sandwich bun with pulled chicken and mustard bbq sauce.


  • Spicy – As written, this sauce is mildly spicy but you can add more cayenne pepper if you prefer a spicier sauce.
  • Sweeter – Try adding more honey to make a sweeter version.
  • Vegan – To make this vegan, just swap maple syrup or coconut sugar for the honey and use a vegan Worcestershire sauce.

Leftovers and Storage

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. You could also freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Jar with Carolina gold bbq sauce and a spoon.
  • Adjust to Taste – This sauce is so easy to adjust to your preferences. Like it sweeter? Add a little more honey. Like it tangier? Add a little more vinegar.
  • Prep in Advance – The great thing about this recipe is it can be made a week in advance so it’s ready when you need it.

More Easy BBQ Recipes


Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce

Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce is tangy, slightly sweet, and super easy to make from scratch! It's the perfect pairing for pork, chicken, and more.
Servings 12 servings (2 tablespoons)


  • 1 cup yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
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  • Whisk all ingredients together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
  • Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  • Serve as desired – we love it with pulled pork and pulled chicken.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.


Recipe makes about 1 ½ cups of sauce. A typical serving is 2 tablespoons. 
Keyword Carolina gold bbq sauce


Calories: 34kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.003gSodium: 248mgPotassium: 53mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 34IUVitamin C: 0.3mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 0.5mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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