Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce

Hello and happy August!  Amazing that summer is winding down.  Mom and I both noticed this week that the light outside now looks more like Fall than Summer.  It is cooling down a little - it was 68 when I went to walk a couple of mornings ago.  I have to admit, I don't miss the hot humid weather of Houston.  Many things I miss, but not that.  I hate that summer is winding down because that means the end of peach season!  Peaches are just about my favorite fruit and here is SC they are tremendous!  I eat at least one peach every day and would eat them every meal except I don't think that qualifies as everything in moderation! 

Summer also means BBQ.  BBQ here is SC is serious business. There is a whole section of the SC website dedicated to BBQ.  Find it here.  In SC, BBQ always means pork. You can get beef or chicken but that is not BBQ. In Texas, it is just the opposite.  BBQ always means beef, and you can also get pork, sausage, turkey.  There is a whole culture and controversy around BBQ, even if you can agree on the meat.  What kind of wood to cook over, dry rub or slather on sauce while cooking, how long to cook it, and then of couse what kind of sauce to eat with it.  Here is SC the type of sauce varies with the region of the state. 

Can you believe that graphic? Poor pig. We technically live in the light tomato section, but I grew  up eating lots of the mustard sauce.  We would visit relatives in that area and that is what we ate.  Even though I don't eat meat, I do love BBQ sauce.  When Tom would want BBQ I would eat a big baked potato with cheese, chopped onions, dill pickles, and jalapeños, topped with lots of BBQ sauce.  Yum. 

That said, BBQ is not a healthy food.  Charred meat is linked to cancer.  At MD Anderson they were doing a study where they had participants look at all these different pictures of cooked meat.  It was a meat continuum from lightly cooked to fully charred.  They were using the data in a large study to evaluate the contribution of the meat/fat on cancer.  So interesting. Anyway, charred meat, sugary sauce….not much healthy about it.  It should definitely be a food that you eat rarely, as a special occasion.  

In honor of Summer and SC, this week I made a mustard based BBQ sauce. And yes, that means just plain old yellow mustard, not anything with fancy mustard seeds.  You just mix up mustard with some sweetener, vinegar, Worchestershire sauce and hot sauce.  You don't even have to cook it.  Just mix it together, let it sit in the fridge for 24 hours and eat to your heart's content.  Use on cooked meat if you will, but we ate it on some pan fried tofu with coleslaw.  It was a totally delicious sandwich.  I think it would make a great sauce drizzled on a southern buddha bowl….if you aren't familiar with a buddha bowl that is a kind of generic name for a meal made up of a cooked grain, cooked veggies, some kind of legume, drizzled in sauce.  I think brown rice, with lima beans or blackeye peas, and cooked collards drizzled with this mustard sauce would be divine.  You could put it on grilled pork chops, grilled chicken, or even some cooked broccoli.  The options are endless.  At the Whole Foods in Charlotte and WInston-Salem, they have chicken fried tofu on their hot bar, and a bottle of mustard sauce in their eat-in condiment section.  I ate more than I like to admit to on both occasions that I stopped there for lunch!  (If you like the sauce and want to try it without making it, you can buy it bottled at Whole Foods and Trader Joes.) As a note, this has honey in it, so it would not be vegan.  I actually don't love the taste of honey so I think this would be better with another sweetener.  Maybe half maple syrup and half brown rice syrup.  I am going to try that next time.  Anyway, I hope you will try it.  It sounds strange but is so good. 

Carolina Mustard Sauce

by Catherine Craig

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: none

Keywords: sauce gluten-free vegan

Ingredients (1 3/4 cup)

  • 3/4 cup prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsps Worcestershire sauce (vegan and/or gluten free as you desire)
  • 1 tsp hot sauce


Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Cover and store in the refrigerator for 24 hours to allow flavors to meld. Store up to 2 weeks.

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