Carolina-Style Barbecue Sauce

Carolina-Style Barbecue Sauce

Carolina-style barbecue sauce is vinegar and mustard based, quite the opposite of the thicker and sweeter molasses-based sauces used in the South and Midwest. Use this sauce both on the traditional Carolina pulled pork and on grilled chicken. The tanginess from the mustard and vinegar and a hint of liquid smoke complements grilled meat beautifully. The sauce is also a tasty addition to fries and potatoes and other classic side dishes.


  • 1 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp mild chili powder 
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp freshly ground white pepper
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke, hickory flavor


  1. Combine all the ingredients, except the soy sauce, butter, and liquid smoke, in a medium saucepan. Add the cayenne, if using. Simmer on low for 20 minutes, making sure to stir occasionally.
  1. Add the soy sauce, butter, and liquid smoke and simmer for 10 more minutes. 
  1. Remove the sauce from heat and allow the mixture to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before using it in your favorite barbecue recipe.


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