Barbecue meat with sauce on the side
The 4 Kinds Of South Carolina Barbecue Sauce, Explained
South Carolina is home to four major barbecue styles, each with a signature sauce, including mustard barbecue sauce, vinegar sauce, light tomato sauce, and heavy tomato sauce.
Mustard Barbecue Sauce
Often called Carolina Gold thanks to its yellow color, mustard sauce typically consists of yellow mustard and apple cider vinegar, mixed with sugar for some sweetness.
The sauce can also incorporate Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne or hot sauce, and is traditionally paired with pulled pork.
Vinegar Sauce
Also known as "mop sauce," vinegar and pepper sauce is thinner than some other sauces. It's used to baste the meat as it cooks, in addition to its use as a condiment.
The simple sauce is made of distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. It lets the smoky flavor of barbecued meat shine.
Light Tomato Sauce
Also known as Lexington Dip, light tomato sauce is a thicker, sweeter variation of vinegar sauce, thanks to the addition of ketchup into the mix.
The sauce can be brushed on meat or served as a side dip. It pairs best with pork shoulder, and may also contain cayenne pepper or hot sauce for a spicy kick.
Heavy Tomato Sauce
Heavy tomato sauce is a sweeter and thicker sauce that includes more tomato, less vinegar, and extra ingredients like molasses, brown sugar, Worcestershire, and mustard.
You can also add hot sauce, honey, chili powder, onions, or garlic. This sauce pairs well with any kind of meat, but should be used sparingly, as it is very thick and flavorful.