South Carolina-Style Barbecue Sauce

In my old age, I’ve become a huge fan of vinegar. I don’t know how it happened, but I love anything with that unique sour taste. As a result, I’ve grown to really like the vinegar-based barbecue sauces that are so prevalent in the Carolinas.

In North Carolina, most people make a simple cayenne pepper-infused white vinegar sauce that they drizzle over the meat. I’ve made it before, and it’s okay. In South Carolina, that basic sauce is augmented with mustard. If you ask me, this is the best sauce for barbecue that’s already flavored with a rub. Think of it like ketchup for a stack of french fries. A little goes a long way.

I’ve tried several variations on the theme, and this is the recipe I’ve come to love the most. Here’s everything you need:

South Carolina-Style Barbecue Sauce

  • 1/2 cup coarse ground mustard
  • 1/2 cup yellow mustard
  • Almost 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

There’s nothing really to say. Just mix everything together in a bowl.

I add a little less than a third of a cup of apple cider vinegar so I can add more if it needs it. It’s not an exact science. If the sauce is too sour for your taste, add a little ketchup until the sugar masks some of the bitterness. Then again, if you don’t like the sour taste of vinegar, you probably should just go buy a bottle of KC Masterpiece. This is a dipping sauce for simple barbecue, not a basting sauce for grilled meats.

South Carolina-Style Barbecue Sauce
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