Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce gets a keto makeover! This tangy, sweet sauce is easy to make and adds a delicious twist to your grilled favorites. And it’s totally sugar-free.
My classic Easy Sugar Free BBQ Sauce is a fan favorite, but this is another great sauce to add to your summer line up.
Okay, there’s a reason they call this Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce. Because it truly is like liquid gold! It’s tangy, sweet, and a little bit spicy. And at 2 grams of carbs per serving, you can afford to slather it on!
Most of us are much more familiar with tomato based sauces, and I had honestly never even tried Carolina style sauce until I made this sugar-free version. But now I am completely hooked. And I am confident you will be too.
What is Carolina BBQ Sauce?
There are actually a couple of varieties of Carolina style barbecue sauce. They are both quite different from the thicker tomato or ketchup based sauces.
One is heavily vinegar-based and quite thin and watery. It’s very tangy and acidic, and is usually served with pork.
The other is based on yellow mustard with vinegar, honey, brown sugar, and spices. That’s the variety I upon which I based this Keto BBQ sauce. Switching out the brown sugar and honey for keto-friendly sweeteners, of course. It’s tangy and sweet, but also thicker. And oh, so flavorful!
I had a hard time not just spooning it directly into my mouth. Okay, I admit it, I may have taken a few extra licks of the spoon.
What do you serve it with?
Honestly, this sugar-free Carolina BBQ Sauce goes well with all meats. I paired it with some easy grilled chicken this time, but it’s also perfect for:
- Slathered on my fall off the bone keto ribs
- Drizzled over instant pot pulled pork
- Brushed over keto meatloaf
- Used as a sauce on grilled pork tenderloin
- Brushed on any kind of grilled chicken (before grilling and after!)
- Drizzled over your favorite burgers
How to make sugar free Carolina BBQ Sauce
This fabulous mustard bbq sauce is so easy to make, there’s simply no excuse not to. Here are my best tips for getting it right:
- Yellow mustard: This is the base of the sauce, and you want just regular yellow mustard. Skip the Dijon or spicy brown mustard this time as they will change the unique flavor.
- Brown sugar replacement: I like Swerve Brown for this, as it’s the closest in taste and texture to real brown sugar. You can use regular granulated Swerve or any granulated sweetener instead. You can add a teaspoon of molasses to get that brown sugar flavor (it will only add about 5g of carbs to the entire recipe).
- Honey replacement: Replacing the honey is a bit more tricky. I used an allulose-based honey flavored syrup and it worked perfectly. However, I realize that’s not available to everyone. My best suggestion is to use regular allulose or BochaSweet in order to keep the sauce from re-crystallizing as it cools.
- Whisk the ingredients together. Just add in the vinegar, spices, and other ingredients and whisk to combine.
- Bring to a simmer: I consulted quite a few different recipes, some of which were cooked and some of which were not. I found that by simmering it for 5 minutes or so, I got a thicker sauce and the sweeteners dissolved more easily.
- Store in the fridge. This is a great make-ahead recipe. Nothing in it spoils easily so you can make a big batch and store in the fridge for several weeks. Because it’s a bit acidic, I recommend storing it in glass jars.
How simple is that?
More keto grilling favorites
- Grilled Keto Zucchini Boats
- Fajita Stuffed Grilled Flank Steak
- Keto Chicken Yakitori
- Brie and Caramelized Onion Stuffed Burgers
- Spinach and Feta Lamb Sliders
- Shrimp and Sausage Skewers
Sugar Free Carolina BBQ Sauce
- ¾ cup yellow mustard
- ¼ cup Swerve Brown
- ¼ cup allulose honey
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce or coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon chipotle powder (or 1 teaspoon chili powder)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, whisk together all of the ingredients except the chipotle powder and the salt and pepper.
- Bring to a simmer and cook 3 to 5 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in ¼ teaspoon of the chipotle powder. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
- Store in a glass jar in the fridge. It will keep for several weeks.
Michele D says
This recipe is really heavy on the mustard, if that is your preference you may like this but we felt it was way to sharp for our liking
Great recipe. I made this for the first time last week and my family liked it so much that I’m mow making it double sized. Thanks
Cassie Remington says
This is technically a South Carolina BBQ sauce. The vinegar based sauce is “Eastern North Carolina” BBQ sauce. We’ve lived all over NC and currently live in SC. I’m excited to try this! It’s my favorite on ribs! The vinegar based is best on pulled pork shoulder/ Boston butt. Feel free to email me for eastern NC vinegar sauce recipe!
Theresa K says
Hey Caroline, thank you for your hard work and dedication to your craft! My question is, if I am substituting Boca Sweet for the honey… Is it also 1/4 of a cup? Thanks ????
You can sweeten to taste… since there is nothing in this that needs to be cooked.
I made your regular keto BBQ sauce and loved it. It was so good everyone bypassed the regular jar sauce for it. I’ve also tweaked it and halfed the swerve and added yucon syrup. More of a molasses flavor. I am so excited to try this one. We bbq and smoke meat all year long and I have been missing Carolina Gold. Thank you!!
Leslie Hilton says
delicious, my husband loves this recipe.
Finished my first batch and looking up your recipe to write down for the second! So yummy and I’ve always LOVED mustards so this is perfect! Never even heard of it before, so thank you! FYI for anyone struggling to find allulose syrup, I just used 1/4 cup of E.D.Smith nsa pancake syrup. And I used 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper. Worked a treat!
The problem with a lot of bbq sauces is the sugar content, so I love how this one still has all the flavor without all the sugar!
Mmm!! The fact that this is sugar-free, makes it a hit in my book! It brings so much flavor to anything you add it on!
Wow! This sauce is incredible & so full of flavor! I will be making a ton to keep in the fridge! We bbq all the time, so this will come in so handy!
Christine M. says
This was great! We didn’t have yellow mustard and so I used Dijon. I also didn’t have the allulose honey, so I just left it out. It was a perfectly balanced flavor and will go great with the ribs i smoked today.
So glad you liked it!
Anne Tippens says
Thanks for all of your wonderful recipes! We are loving them. Cannot wait to try this BBQ sauce. I have a question about your ice cream recipes. One recipe we particularly love is the Jamoca almond Fudge ice cream. We add the vodka as you have suggested, but our ice cream still freezes rock solid and is not easy to dip as you suggest it will be. What can we do to get that result? Add more vodka? My husband suggested that we drink lots of vodka and then we won’t care about the hardness. Ha ha. Thanks.
Are you using the suggested sweeteners?
Carolyn Thurston says
You are so creative . . . thank you for all you do to restructure recipes to make them sugar free or keto friendly. Had never heard of allulose honey – have now ordered it from amazon through your link – and then I’ll give this barbecue sauce a try. Have to buy some regular old-fashioned yellow mustard too – I never keep that on hand as I don’t really like it.
Me neither! I much prefer Dijon but my kids like the plain yellow…
Hi Carolyn !
This sounds yummy! As you suggested trading out the allulose honey for allulose (or Bochasweet) , would I use the same amount of allulose ? would there be any added liquid?
thanks for the clarification
No need for added liquid, just use the same amount.
If using the bocha sweet , do you still use 1/4 cup ?
This is based on the famous smoky sweet mustard sauce from Eastern South Carolina and it is delicious, as is your de-carbed recipe for it. I absolutely love this and it goes well on chicken and pork chops, too! Thank you!
Just little trivia: There is no place called simply “Carolina’–There is North Carolina and South Carolina and the two states are very different. And you are right, their sauces for pulled pork are different from state to state and even across the states. My grandfather owned a bbq restaurant on the coast of NC where he made pulled pork dressed with Eastern North Carolina bbq sauce–vinegar-based with red pepper flakes and black pepper, (and shhh, a hint of catsup, but such a small amount you’d never guess it was in there–his secret!) And to boot, there are other sauces in both NC and SC, including sweet ones with ketchup and honey or molasses. So many to choose from!
Michelle D says
I am SO going to have to try this!! Love me some Carolina style BBQ sauce.
I know you don’t live in North Carolina! If you did, you would title this recipe Western Carolina Barbecue Sauce! Where I live in Eastern North Carolina we use a vinegar based sauce. No tomatoes, no mustard, just vinegar and spices.
Did you read the section where I talk about that???