Move over Frank! This tangy, spicy, smoky Carolina gold BBQ sauce packs a punch. It’s a South Carolina staple tweaked to smack your taste buds around and leave them wanting more.Jump to Recipe
“Best thing to come out of South Carolina since James Brown”-fake historian
What is Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce?
Carolina gold BBQ sauce is a delicious and unique regional barbecue sauce that hails from the low country of South Carolina. It’s made with a blend of mustard, vinegar, honey, and spices, and is known for its tangy, sweet, and slightly spicy flavor.
Carolina gold BBQ sauce is typically served on pork dishes, particularly pulled pork, but it’s delicious on almost anything. So if you need a banging pork recipe to pair with this sauce, try our Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin recipe.
Besides being super flavorful, this sauce is also really versatile. It can be used as a marinade, a basting sauce, or a dipping sauce, or you can just drink it right out of the jar with a straw. But people would judge you, so don’t do that.
If you’re a fan of BBQ sauce, you definitely need to give this recipe a try. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and tangy, and it will take whatever meat you’re severing to the next level. So hold onto your butts, this sauce is about to kick it!
Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce Origins
A lot of folks want to credit German immigrants for developing Carolina Gold bbq sauce. Even the South Carolina tourism website promotes this theory.
It is well documented that in the 1700’s, they settled the middle of the state, where the sauce was originally found. And anyone thats ever had a bratwurst knows Germans love mustard on pork. At first glance the connection seems obvious.
However, the rest of the story is a bit murkier. It is true that mustard is a key ingredient in many Carolina gold BBQ sauces, and mustard is a popular condiment in Germany. And It is possible that some of the ingredients and techniques used in the creation of this sauce may have been influenced by German culture. But the story certainly doesn’t stop there.
Carolina gold BBQ sauce originated in the low country region of South Carolina, where African-American cooks developed it in the early 19th century. They used used mustard, vinegar, and other ingredients to create a unique and flavorful sauce for pork dishes.
Furthermore, the entire history of southern cooking is shrouded in a dark history of slavery. Mis credits and complete omissions of the many black contributors of BBQ is ripe even today. In response to a very prominat national paper publishing an all white list of influential BBQ postmasters, Southern Living published a much needed rebuttal. Robert Moss wrote the article “15 Most influential figures in American BBQ history“. It’s a great read and important for anyone trying to decipher the true origins of southern cooking.
Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce
Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this Carolina gold BBQ sauce recipe.
- Mustard: It’s your base, so start with a good yellow mustard. You could try and get cute with dijon or stone ground stuff, but I don’t recommend it. The tang of classic yellow mustard is key here.
- Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar adds more sour tang punch. Yum!
- Honey: Rather than using sugar we like to sweeten our Carolina gold bbq sauce with honey. All natural baby.
- Spices: We like to use cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, turmeric, salt and pepper.
- Liquid Smoke: This stuff rocks. It’s condensed smoke in a bottle and it gives a really nice BBQ flavor without having to own a big smoker.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Adds more depth to this complex bbq sauce.
How to Make Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce
Follow these easy steps to make this Carolina gold BBQ sauce recipe.
Step 1: Get your Ingredients
Okay, here we go! I like to have everything I need for a recipe out and ready to use. So go ahead and get all your ingredients out on the counter, along with a medium pot.
Step 2: Combine Ingredients
Now, over medium heat, mix all the ingredients into your pot. Stir Frequently to make sure everything incorporates.
Step 3: Simmer that Sauce
Keep stirring to ensure the bottom doesn’t brown. After 3-5 minutes remove from heat and let cool. Transfer to an airtight container and let cool.
Now you’ve got your own homemade Carolina Gold BBQ sauce! It’s that easy! Now go fire up the grill and cook some meat so you can drown it in this liquid gold!
Storing Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce
It’s not mandatory, but for maximum flavor it is best to let the sauce sleep in the fridge overnight before using it. This will give it time for all those flavors to meld together.
It should keep for a couple weeks if stored in an air together container in the fridge. Some folks say you can keep it out on the countertop because of the high acid content in the vinegar. But just put it in the fridge, why risk bacteria growth?
Now, you could freeze anything, but should you? We can’t recommend freeing this sauce. Its easy enough to just make a fresh batch.
What to use Carolina gold BBQ Sauce on
This stuff is so good we put it on everything! Carolina gold BBQ Sauce was traditionally, and still is most commonly used on pork, particularly pulled pork.
We love smothering our Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin with this Carolina gold sauce. Check out the recipe and let us know what you think.
With the leftovers we make pork sliders and use Carolina gold BBQ Sauce like a mayo on Hawaiian buns. So freaking good.
If you don’t feel like cooking and just heat up some frozen chicken nuggets or French fries, dipping them in this sauce will make you happy.
Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce FAQs
What makes Carolina BBQ Sauce different?
One of the main characteristics that sets Carolina barbecue sauce apart from other types of barbecue sauce is the use of vinegar as the main ingredient. In contrast, many other barbecue sauces are made with tomato as the main ingredient. The use of vinegar gives Carolina gold bbq sauce a distinctive tangy flavor, and it is also what gives the sauce its thinner consistency.
Another characteristic of Carolina barbecue sauce is that it is often used as a finishing sauce, rather than a marinade or basting sauce. This means that it is typically applied to the meat during the last stages of cooking, or after the meat has been cooked and is ready to be served. This allows the flavors of the sauce to penetrate the meat and enhances the overall flavor of the barbecue
Can Carolina gold BBQ sauce be left unrefrigerated?
Barbecue sauces, like this Carolina gold sauce, that are made with vinegar and other acidic ingredients have a natural preservative effect, which helps to extend their shelf life. However, if the sauce has been opened and exposed to air, it should be stored in the refrigerator to prevent the growth of microorganisms that can cause spoilage.
In general, it is best to store Carolina gold barbecue sauce in the refrigerator to ensure that it stays fresh and safe to consume. If you need to leave the sauce out for a short period of time, it is important to keep it in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources
Is Carolina Gold Barbecue Sauce Spicy?
We don’t consider this to be a particularly spicy sauce, it’s not made with hot peppers or other spicy ingredients. However, it does have a tangy and slightly spicy flavor from the spices and vinegar, which can give it a bit of a kick.
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