Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Paleo Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce

**UPDATE: If you have found my blog through Paleo Grubs, welcome! This is an older post from my first blog. If you like this recipe, and would like to see more of the yummy things I'm cooking these days (and some MUCH improved food photography) please check out my new blog at ! Hope to see you there!

So you may have picked up on the fact that I am truly a girl raised in the south. I was born in Birmingham, AL and lived there until I was ten, and my family moved to Atlanta, GA. A little after I graduated Culinary School from Le Cordon Bleu in Atlanta, I moved with my family to Columbia, SC. Sufficed to say, I have eaten my fair share of barbecue and I appreciate all different types of sauces and styles.
                In Alabama and Georgia, most of the sauce is a sweet, tomato based red sauce. In some parts of Alabama you can get Alabama “White” BBQ sauce that is served primarily on smoked chicken, and is made from a base of – get this--- MAYONNAISE. Some people may be barfing at this idea, but I have tried it, and its delicious. In fact, if you are ever in Homewood, AL go to SAW’s BBQ and order the mixed platter, and do yourself a favor and pay for the extra serving of White Sauce to go on your chicken. You’ll thank me. My fiancé and I were introduced to that awesome spot from a few of our friends (Adam,Tiffany, Jackson, and Evelyn) who went to Samford University, and just raved about the Alabama White Sauce. Someday I need to try and make that sauce with Paleo Mayo!

                When most people refer to Carolina BBQ, they think of a thin, vinegar based sauce that is more native of North Carolina. But in Columbia, they do things a little differently. When you live in Columbia, if someone says they are going to the Carolina game, they mean the Gamecocks, NOT the Tarheels. When they say they love Carolina BBQ sauce, they mean MUSTARD based sauce, not vinegar. Before I even moved to Columbia, I was introduced to Carolina Gold BBQ sauce, and at first, I wouldn’t even try it. I didn’t think that it looked very appetizing, and I didn’t have a thing for mustard at the time. I tried a little at the end of the meal, after I had eaten my BBQ sauce-less, and was shocked to discover that it was DELICIOUS. “You chose…POORLY!”
                I love Carolina Gold sauce now, and it may actually be my favorite over the sweet red sauce I grew up on. Now that I’m paleo, I had to come up with my own recipe free of the typical white and brown sugar that are traditionally used to sweeten it. This is actually a very simple sauce to make, and doesn’t require a large amount of time on the stove, nor does it contain any tomatoes, for those who abstain from tomatoes for digestive reasons. When I made the sauce for the first time, my fiancé (a Columbia native) cried with joy, “I now declare this a staple in our household! You must always have this in the fridge!” Oh boy…. What did I get myself into? Anyway, I agree, it’s delicious, and you should try it immediately.

4 strips of nitrite free bacon, diced (preferably humanely raised and sugar free if you can find it)
½ a red onion, diced
2 – 9 oz. containers of Annie’s Organic Yellow Mustard, or approximately 2 cups of another organic, sugar free, gluten free YELLOW mustard (it must be YELLOW! Not DIJON or BROWN or any other mustard. IT. MUST. BE. YELLOW)
¾ cup of good honey (preferably raw and local)
1 tablespoon of granulated garlic
1 Tablespoon of paparika
¾ cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
  •   Sauté the diced onions and bacon in a heavy bottom pot for 15 minutes until the bacon is cooked and the onions are nice and soft. I used a Le Creuset for easy cleanup. 
  •   Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes until all the flavors have married. 
  •   Store in glass mason jars, and serve on just about anything.
     Yup, it’s delicious. I highly recommend you make some as soon as possible. Can it be made without bacon? Sure, but why would you? It might be good, but not nearly as good as the bacon version. Also, here is a little tip: it can be difficult to get all the mustard out of the plastic containers, so pour some of the apple cider vinegar into the mostly-emptied mustard bottles, reseal them, and shake them up. The vinegar is going to go in the sauce anyway, and this way you get all of the mustard. Waste not, want not! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

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  1. Thank you!! I've been searching for a tomato-free BBQ sauce and this sounds great! You can't go wrong with bacon and mustard... :)

    1. Thanks for reading! We love this BBQ sauce and so many people can't have tomatoes, that it is good to have this option around!

  2. Sounds great accept for the honey as I don't like to add sweetener. How would it be savory? Anyone try?

  3. Yeah, when I think of vinegar based, I don't generally then think of mustard based. I actually even used less mustard than the recipe called for, but it still just tastes like honey mustard.

    1. use less honey, and more vinegar. It should be a vinegary mustard with honey, not like honey mustard.

  4. As an Alabama girl myself, this is my first experience with Carolina Gold...and I love it! I made my own organic mustard using this recipe: (minus the flour, because who puts flour in mustard???). This will be a common condiment in our home now. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I have made this and it is growing on me. How long will it keep in the refrigerator?

    1. as much vinegar as is in this (between the prepared mustard and the actual vinegar...) indefinitely? or at least a few months. The food safety people would probably tell you a month.

  6. Would you marinate your meat in this? Or pour on after meat is cooked?

    1. As a South Carolina girl myself... it's traditionally basted on at the end of smoking, and served with, not marinated in. I know this is like... 2 years after you asked, but others may want to know :)

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