"Barbecue sauce is like a beautiful woman. If it's too sweet, it's bound to be hiding something."Lyle Lovett
As a remnant of its German heritage, South Carolina is known for its BBQ sauces made with mustard (see South Carolina Yellow Mustard Sauce), especially in the belt between Columbia and Charleston. Most are simply yellow mustard, cider vinegar, hot peppers, and sugar. Others are variations on the honey-mustard theme. I love these classic South Carolina sauces, but I wanted something a bit more interesting and complex.
Savory herb flavors are great with pork, so I started with the classic SC mustard recipe and added layers of complexity by adding rosemary and other more subtle flavors. If the classic SC mustard sauces are trumpet solos, this is a full orchestra. There's a lotta stuff in this recipe, but try not to leave anything out.
When I served it to Keith Miller, a good friend who has reviewed many of my recipes, he said "Wow, this is a mustard sauce for grownups!" And it had a name. Alas, it does not have the sheen of a typical tomato-based sauce, but it sure does taste good!
This sauce is fine for ribs but it is especially good on pulled pork, pork chops, and most anything porcine. I love it on baked potatoes, for dipping pretzels, on hot dogs and other sausages, or as a mustard substitute in most recipes. Make a batch and keep it on hand for whenever you need mustard.
Grownup Mustard Sauce Recipe
In South Carolina BBQ sauces feature mustard. Here's a recipe that amps up the flavor with herbs. This sauce is fine for ribs but it is especially good on pulled pork, pork chops, baked potatoes, pretzels, hot dogs, and so much more.
Yield. Makes about 2 cups. Click here to calculate how much you need and for tips on saucing strategies.
Preparation time. About 30 minutes.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup onions, finely minced
3 tablespoons sweet red pepper, finely minced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoons ground celery seed (not celery salt)
1 teaspoons finely ground black pepper
1 teaspoons hot pepper flakes for mild sauce
1 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon whole dried rosemary leaves crushed in a mortar and pestle
1 cups prepared Dijon-style mustard
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 cups dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon powdered mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon of chicken bouillon granules or 1 cube dissolved in 1 ounce of water
About the hot pepper flakes. Double the amount for medium heat, and triple it for hot.
Optional. Garnish with minced fresh sweet red bell peppers or, if you like the heat, minced red jalapeñoñ. In the picture above the ribs are also garnished with caramelized onions.
1) Put the oil into a quart sauce pan, and warm it on a medium-low heat. Add the onion and sweet red peppers and sweat them until the onions are limp. Add the garlic and cook it for about a minute.
2) Add the dry ingredients except the sugar. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes in order to develop and extract their flavors.
3) Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Bring to a low boil for 3 minutes, stirring frequently to keep the sugar from burning or sticking to the bottom. Simmer on low for another 15 minutes.