July 23, 2015

Sweet and Tangy Mustard BBQ Sauce

Tangy and Sweet Mustard BBQ Sauce

I don’t think there is any meal that says summer quite like BBQ does. I mean, sure, you can eat BBQ any time of the year, but it just feels so right in the summer. Served alongside fresh-picked corn on the cob, and followed by a plate of juicy watermelon - for me, that’s what summer eating is all about!

This BBQ sauce is a little different from the usual sweet, tomato-based sauces. Although my inspiration for this sauce comes from a fantastic little BBQ joint up in the mountains of North Georgia, this type of BBQ sauce actually has its origins in South Carolina. It’s based on mustard, instead of ketchup (or tomatoes), and has a sweet, and vinegary tang. Yes, it is a little different, but it is totally delicious. In fact, I keep a batch in the fridge at all times lately, because my husband has decided that it is perfect as a dipping sauce for almost everything, including egg rolls!

We like this Mustard BBQ Sauce so much, we had it not once, but twice in the past week. First we poured it over some smoky beef brisket:

Carolina - style Mustard BBQ Sauce

Then I baked some chicken, and basted it with the Mustard BBQ Sauce:

Carolina - style Mustard BBQ Sauce

And then, because there are so many ways to use BBQ sauce before the summer is over, I made a triple batch just to store in the fridge:

Carolina - style Mustard BBQ Sauce

Now I have to give a little confession here, and I make no apologies: this recipe uses a tiny amount of liquid smoke. I know, I know - there are purists out there who wouldn't dream of using liquid smoke. The recipe will still work if you omit it, but it really helps to gives an extra boost of BBQ flavor to the sauce. If you want to substitute, you could get a bit of smokiness from using some smoked paprika or smoked salt. It is my belief, however, that liquid smoke gets a bit of a bad rap. Contrary to popular belief, liquid smoke really isn't an artificial flavor, but is actually condensed smoke from hardwoods: see Serious Eats - Pantry Essentials: All About Liquid Smoke. So I recommend using the liquid smoke, but you are your own bbq pitmaster, so it's totally up to you!

Either way, don't fear the mustard - give this sauce a try!

Makes about 1 1/4 cups


  • 1/2 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Hot chili flakes or hot sauce to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (use an all-natural brand)


  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together all of the ingredients, except for the butter and liquid smoke. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients, and simmer for 10 more minutes, or until the sauce is thickened to your liking. 
  3. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. If not using right away, store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. 


  1. My family really likes the Sticky Fingers BBQ sauce, so I'll be making this for them soon. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Is this sauce very sweet? I'd like to try it but I'm not a fan of sweet bbq sauce.

    1. It's only a little bit sweet - not as sweet as a typical bbq sauce.

  3. We will just love this delicious sauce! Hope you are having a wonderful day and thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen

    1. Thank-you, Miz Helen, for a great party! See you again soon!


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