Sweet and tangy mustard-based South Carolina BBQ sauce is my favorite sauce for pulled pork! Try it – you won’t look back!
When I think of barbecue, there’s only one thing that pops into my head.
It’s not a glossy red sauce brushed on a piece of grilled chicken or baby back ribs coated with a tangy vinegar sauce. Nope.
It’s a big heap of pulled pork, either piled on a bun or straight on the plate, not just drizzled with but completely mixed and smothered with mustard-based South Carolina BBQ sauce. Drizzled with more mustard BBQ sauce on top. And maybe dipped in some on the side for good measure.
While pretty much every BBQ joint in the state serves mustard-based sauce, to me, there’s one sauce that is the quintessential South Carolina BBQ sauce for me, and that comes from a place called Bessinger’s. We grew up going to their buffet on special Sundays, full of Southern classics like macaroni and cheese, fried okra, and the reason everyone went there to begin with — the pulled pork.
Y’all. It’s so good my husband and I even got a big tray of Bessinger’s pulled pork, coleslaw, mac and cheese, and of course several bottles of sauce, to serve at our casual backyard wedding rehearsal dinner. And I sometimes wish we had served it at our actual wedding!
When I went to college in Arizona, I got my mom to send me a bottle of Carolina Gold BBQ sauce (as it is sometimes called) in a care package, and celebrated by commandeering the dorm oven for about five hours while I slow roasted a pork shoulder to shred. It was miraculous — and also gave me an opportunity to introduce my friends to not only my beloved South Carolina BBQ sauce, but also sweet tea.
Nowadays, I make my pulled pork in the slow cooker but mustard-based BBQ sauce is the only kind of sauce I’ll buy.
I’m lucky enough to have Bessinger’s (yup, the same one from my childhood) about 10 minutes down the road from me, and they sell Bessinger’s BBQ sauce in all our regional grocery stores, but I know you probably don’t have that same luxury.
But I did it.
I made my own copycat Bessinger’s mustard-based South Carolina BBQ sauce.
I took a bottle of real Bessinger’s sauce, consulted the ingredient list, and played with the ratios until I had something that tasted the same. Then, I mixed it in with a pork shoulder I had slow-cooked and shredded. It was delicious, and I completely forgot I wasn’t eating the real thing.
Maybe you’re Carolina born and raised and are living in another state or country and miss the taste of your hometown BBQ. Maybe you’re a barbecue aficionado. Or maybe you’ve never been here and are simply curious to try a new kind of sauce that’s not readily available where you are.
Go on, give this a shot. You probably have all the ingredients you need already!
Mustard-Based South Carolina BBQ Sauce
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Use immediately or refrigerate several hours or overnight to allow flavors to blend better.