Light and tangy, Carolina Mustard Barbecue Chicken is the best way to mix things up at your next cookout. A mustard based sauce that’s a little sweet with a pleasant tartness is absolutely perfect for your grilled chicken. Ready in minutes!

Sweet and tangy, this Carolina Style Barbecue Chicken recipe is a fabulous addition to every cookout or picnic! |

Happy Monday, y’all! I hope you had a great weekend! Saturday was kind of a washout but we took a trip to the mall and stocked up on a few vacation essentials because we’re days away from our trip to the Caribbean!

I’m super excited to soak up the sun and just laze around for a few days….it definitely couldn’t come at a better time. But today, I’m taking you back to the south again….I simply can’t help myself. I guess I’m just a southern gal at heart dreaming of long summer nights batting away the gigantic palmetto bugs and chasing down teeny lizards.

I really do love it there, prehistoric bugs and all….nothing beats the leisurely southern pace and the food…..oh, the food.

Sweet and tangy, this Carolina Style Barbecue Chicken recipe is a fabulous addition to every cookout or picnic! |

Carolina BBQ Chicken

My last trip to South Carolina included a trip to a rib joint that was simply spectacular in every way. From the fall off the bone racks of ribs to the crispy, crunchy hushpuppies…everything was a big bite of comfort food that forced you to change into stretchy pants as soon as you got home. 

My favorite part about this restaurant was all the different sauces they had piled on the table. From the super, insanely spicy to something so sweet you could actually eat it for dessert. It was so much fun to try a variety of sauces and narrow down your favorite….which was nearly an impossible task.

They were all so good. But, I managed and my hands down favorite was the Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce (AKA, Carolina GOLD Barbecue Sauce)….which inspired this Carolina Style Barbecue Chicken. (But you probably already knew that was coming, right?)

Sweet and tangy, this Carolina Style Barbecue Chicken recipe is a fabulous addition to every cookout or picnic! |

What is Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce?

This Carolina BBQ Sauce is more of a vinegar/mustard based sauce rather than the tomato-y sauce that is so common to many of us. There are so many variations of Carolina Barbecue Sauce and many people will say it’s just vinegar based…no mustard and others will totally say they’re sooooo wrong…mustard is a necessity.

Well, to me…for the purpose of barbecue, I like my sauce a little thicker so I use mustard to give it a little body and help it adhere to the chicken better. Plus, it’s a very lovely color….and since we eat with our eyes this Carolina BBQ Chicken recipe is basted several times to ensure it develops that gorgeous golden color. So delish!

Sweet and tangy, this Carolina Style Barbecue Chicken recipe is a fabulous addition to every cookout or picnic! |

What does Carolina BBQ Sauce taste like?

With much less sugar than traditional BBQ sauce recipes, Carolina BBQ Sauce is much more tart and vinegar-y in flavor. Depending on the spiciness of the mustard you use, you can also have a much more pronounced peppery bite. A little of everything dances around in the BEST BBQ sauce recipe ever made…in my opinion.

How do you make Carolina BBQ Chicken?

This Carolina Style BBQ Chicken recipe couldn’t be simpler to make. The sauce whips up in about 10 minutes and you don’t need to wait for it to cool to use it. You could also make the sauce in advance, I like to mix up a big batch and store it in the fridge for barbecue chicken emergencies.

There are a lot of those here….more like, we have nothing to make for dinner so I pick up some chicken on the way home and have a finger licking good sauce to slather on at home. Don’t forget the coleslaw!

Always be prepared. This is definitely one of my favorite barbecue chicken recipes but I’m also a huge fan of this spicy barbecue chicken….and leftovers are totally FAB in this Cobb Salad!!!

Barbecue Chicken Cobb Salad with Avocado Ranch Dressing |

If you’re looking for a few more easy BBQ recipes, we are also making this Blueberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce a ton and this Spicy BBQ Sauce is nothing short of miraculous. We also LOVE this Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce and, literally, put it on just about everything.

Honey Chipotle BBQ Chicken being basted with a green basting brush from

You’re going to love this one as much as we do, I promise you that!

Sweet and tangy, this Carolina Style Barbecue Chicken recipe is a fabulous addition to every cookout or picnic! |

Get the Recipe: Carolina Style Barbecue Chicken Recipe

A lighter sauce you will fall in love with, this Carolina Style BBQ Chicken is what Southern life is all about.
5 from 3 votes


  • 1 1/2 cups yellow mustard
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 4 chicken legs


  • Preheat the grill.
    In a medium saucepan, whisk together the mustard, brown sugar and cider vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn the heat to low and simmer.
  • Stir in the butter, water, fish sauce, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes until the mixture has thickened a bit. Turn off the heat and cool to room temperature.
  • Place the chicken on the grill skin side down and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over and baste with the barbecue sauce. Cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  • Turn the chicken again and baste with the sauce. Cook for an additional 3 minutes. Repeat two more times.
  • Transfer the chicken to a platter and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
    Serve immediately with extra sauce on the side, if desired.


Sauce can be made up to 5 days in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container.
Calories: 609kcal, Carbohydrates: 41g, Protein: 29g, Fat: 36g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 173mg, Sodium: 1367mg, Potassium: 525mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 36g, Vitamin A: 950IU, Vitamin C: 1.3mg, Calcium: 90mg, Iron: 2.8mg