By Vida Gustafson

Contributing Writer

I’ve been having a blast exploring the history and origins of American barbecue and whether you’re grilling or smoking, these sauces will liven up your cookout! What I especially love is that not a one of them requires any cooking at all and they are made up entirely from pantry staples. 

Carolina Gold 

1 C yellow mustard

1/2 C vinegar (I like use apple cider vinegar here)

1/4 C honey/maple syrup

1/4 C packed brown sugar

2 tbsp molasses

1/2 tsp cayenne/ a couple shakes of hot sauce

1 tbspn Worcestershire sauce

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for when you need it. Be sure to taste and adjust to your palate — I like a little more vinegar in this one myself. This sauce is tangy and sweet and goes great on grilled or smoked chicken, brats, lamb or pork chops. If you’re using it to cook with, be sure to put it on in the last minutes of cooking — due to the sugar content it will burn.  

Alabama White

1 C mayonaise

1/2 C vinegar (again apple cider works great here, but white distilled is fine)

2 tsp black pepper

2 tbsp hot horseradish

1 clove very finely chopped garlic

1/2 tsp salt

cayenne pepper or hot sauce to taste

Combine and mix all ingredients until smooth and taste to adjust the seasoning. I always add more garlic and horseradish! This white sauce is the absolute best on smoked chicken or turkey. It can also be used as a marinade to keep your meat moist and flavorful. 

Vinegar and Pepper (Eastern North Caroilina)

1 tbsp honey

2 tbsp black pepper

2 tsp crushed red pepper ( thai chillies, bird’s eye or whatever sppicy dried pepper you prefer)

1 C white vinegar or apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

This is the only one you might want to make a little ahead of time, the flavor is fully developed after a day in the fridge. As with the other, test for seasoning and heat level. I’ve found that purists add no sweetener whatsoever to this sauce, but some people go as far as a 3-to-1 sugar to vinegar ratio. It’s completely up to you, both are delicious. This sauce is amazing on pulled pork, brisket and wings. The zesty vinegar really compliments fattier meats. You can also use this one as a basting sauce (aka mop sauce) while cooking, to amp up the flavor.