South Carolina-Style Mustard BBQ DIY



Alrighty, last week I shared my favorite eastern Carolina sauce with you and while it’s still my all-time, favorite, go-to sauce for smoked meats and earthy greens, I also like a good mustard-based BBQ sauce now and then.  Another quick and easy holiday gift for your foodie friends for Christmas, this sauce also has it’s roots in the immigration of the 1700s.

During the early days of South Carolina’s statehood, the rich soil along the Santee/Broad River watershed was available via land grants to German immigrants wanting to establish family farms (as opposed to English plantation-style farming).  Along with their Lutheran faith and European farming methods, the German settlers also brought mustard with them, which they adapted to fit the smoked and grilled meats they encountered in the Carolina Lowcountry and Coastal Georgia.  And so, South Carolina BBQ sauce was born. There’s your history lesson for today, boys and girls! 

While slightly sweeter than it’s eastern cousin, South Carolina sauce packs a 1-2-3 punch of vinegar + yellow mustard + hot sauce that is only slightly mellowed by the addition of brown sugar.  Amazing on beef brisket, roasted chicken, pulled pork or any other smoked meat, it’s also delicious on fried potatoes and served on a cheese plate with crackers, cheese and sliced meat.  I don’t discriminate, my friends: I’ll eat this stuff on anything.

Now if you try this and you find it’s a bit piquant, it’s so easy to adjust the flavors.  Adding a touch of molasses or honey will both sweeten and add an earthy flavor.  Tomato paste will add body and sweetness.  Chipotles in adobo sauce will add a kick of smokiness and extra heat.  What I’ve posted below for you is a basic, all-purpose sauce, but you can doctor it anyway you want to make it suit your palate.

To make a South Carolina BBQ sauce you need the following ingredients:

3/4 cup of cider vinegar

3/4 c prepared yellow mustard (any brand)

1-2 T light brown sugar ( to your taste)

1 1/2 T butter or oil

2 t salt

2 T Worcestershire sauce

1/4 t fresh ground black pepper

2 t hot sauce to taste (we like Texas Pete’s)


Combine all ingredients in small saucepan. Whisk to combine and stir occasionally while simmering for 20-30 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste.  Let cool and refrigerate overnight before using.  You’ll want to use this within 2 weeks, give or take.    To preserve it, simply ladle into 1/4 pint jars, cap with plastic storage lids and freeze.

This recipes  DOES take a little more time than the vinegar-based eastern Carolina sauce, but it can easily be doubled and frozen in Mason jars for use later, so it’s worth your trouble.   And like the eastern Carolina BBQ sauce, this isn’t found in most national grocery store chains, so it will be a real treat to friends who enjoy tastes of other regions!

Now if you’re planning on giving this as a gift, you’ll need to keep the BBQ sauce frozen til last minute.  (This could probably be safely canned, but given the variation in the acid levels of prepared mustard, it’s best just to freeze it.)  To gift this sauce, I’d create a simple cheese plate with crackers, sharp cheese, pickles,  smoked sausage and a jar of the sauce tucked into a basket with a cheese knife and a small Cutting Board.  OR, go the BBQ route and stock a small Grilling Basket with a BBQ mop, bar towel, a thermometer and a jar of last week’s eastern Carolina sauce.  Both are very inexpensive, very practical gifts that you can personalize for the lucky individual you’re giving it to.

Shared on Simple Life Mom Homestead Blog Hop