Carolina-style Barbecue Sandwiches Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Carolina-style Barbecue Sandwiches

A tangy mustard-based sauce distinguishes Carolina-style barbecue from its sweeter Kansas City cousin. This recipe makes 2 cups of sauce, leaving plenty to serve on the side. For crunch in your sandwiches, buy coleslaw at the deli, or make Deep South Slaw.



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1 cup apple cider vinegar
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⅔ cup no-salt-added ketchup, such as Heinz
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¼ cup yellow mustard
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3 Tbs. dark brown sugar
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1 Tbs. molasses
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2 tsp. Louisiana-style hot sauce
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2 tsp. black pepper
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1 tsp. salt
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12 oz. seitan, cut into thin strips
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4 hamburger-style buns
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12 pickle chips, optional
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1 cup prepared coleslaw, optional


Bring vinegar, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, molasses, hot sauce, black pepper, and salt to a simmer in saucepan over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes. Transfer 1 cup sauce to bowl, and set aside. Add seitan to saucepan, and cook 10 minutes. Divide among buns. Serve with pickle chips, coleslaw, and extra sauce, if using.

Nutrition Information: 

29 g
Total Fat: 
2 g
Saturated Fat: 
1 g
47 g
0 mg
766 mg
2 g
15 g
Serves 4

Comments on this Recipe

The mustard BBQ sauce is prevalent in Columbia SC. Maurice's there is famous for it.

I was really excited to try this recipe. I followed the recipe, but the sauce has a really strong vinegar flavor. It was definitely too much vinegar for my liking. Unfortunately, we did not end up finishing our whole sandwiches because of the vinegar problem. I had doubts about ucing a whole cup of vinegar, but I followed the recipe despite my reservations.

I just made this recipe and after reading the above posting I reduced the apple vinegar to around 1/4 C. I still had to add more ketchup...I then added a little agave and let me tell kids loved it. I have been struggling with recipes that they like at age 4 and 5 so I am happy with this and will continue to add the agave and possibly omit the vinegar. My husband loved it as well and he has been a challenge as well. Good luck!

I just made this today and as the suggestions above I modified it to 1/4C Apple Cider Vinegar. I did not have molasses so I used dark corn syrup. This sauce is amazing. I LOVE it! And it would be great on anything you'd like bbq sauce on. We had tofurkey burgers. Happy Eating.

Agree about the vinegar! I should have read these reviews before I made the recipe.

The Vinegar base is what makes it Carolina-Style. I followed the recipe and added a little extra brown sugar to cut the vinegar taste just a bit. It was pretty good.

I couldn't let this slide, having spent way too many years in NC. This is not "Carolina" style BBQ sauce which is based on a combo of spices and vinegar (no mustard). There are several varieties of Carolina style: South Carolina, eastern NC and western NC. This recipe is the South Carolina variety of "Carolina" style which combines vinegar, mustard, brown sugar, etc for a yellow sauce.

I used the Field Roast Company's Vegan Classic Meat Loaf for the "meat", sliced it thin, then sauteed it lightly on both sides in some cooking spray before adding it to the sauce. This worked great, but I have to say that I also thought the sauce was much TOO vinegary for my taste (glad to see everyone is agreeing). Great idea though, and the recipe will inspire me to research the various styles of BBQ and find a sauce that suits my own liking!

My whole family loved this dish even my 7 year old. I even loved the vinegar. I couldn't find seitan so I used Morningstar Farms Chick strips. I'm going to make it again for a large group (where half of them are meat eaters). I plan on making the sause on the chick strips mild and the extra sause really spicy.

I've been vegetarian for a little over 5 weeks. I've been looking for tasty recipes and I believe I've found one. I tried this out for dinner last night and it was great. I followed some of the suggestions and I only used a 1/2 cup of vinegar. I also used Morningstar Chk'n Strips. The only draw back to this recipe is that the sauce is messy. Make sure you have a few napkins close by if you plan on tackling this with your hands. Happy eating.

I used apple juice not apple vinegar taste way better.

I agree with heddy. Carolina barbeque has different varieties, but the vinegar is a must in those recipes. Even the Carolina slaw that I've eaten is heavy on the vinegar. :)

Hey all watch what vinegar you are using because that will make a huge difference. Get Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar, not filtered vinegar which has a sharp flavor.

Carolina BBQ is a vinegar and mustard based sauce, I did not try the recipe yet, but I have many carolina BBq recipes and the vinegar is the dominate flavor profile. MelC.'s comment is correct as well! Happy eating

I know that Carolina BBQ is vinegar/mustard based, but even using Bragg's and me loving the vinegar stuff normally, this was way too strong. Hard to get through one sandwich. Raw skin in mouth afterwards and husband with an upset stomach. Doesn't even seem like 1 cup could possibly be correct.

I've lived in north carolina my entire life and have never heard of a carolina barbeque sauce that had mustard in it.

I accidently added way too much hot sauce the first time but everything tasted great (spicy = good for inflammation, right?!). A million times better than store-bought bbq sauce that's pumped full of HFCS.

What is seitan

This sounds delicious, but be advised that mustard-based sauce is SOUTH Carolina style. If you serve a mustard sauce in NC and call it "Carolina style" they'll run you out of town.

Wonderfully delicious!

I have made this on numerous occasions and it is totally delicious. I don't understand why so many people are getting hung up on if the mustard in this recipe is appropriate or not. Who cares if it tastes good,,which it does.. If you don't like the mustard then don't put it in. This is the best BBQ sandwich made with seitan that I have ever had

What could be substituted for the seitan?

Sorry Vegetarian Times, REAL Carolina style is Vinegar based. This was the BBQ created by pirates in Eastern NC. Western Carolina BBQ is mustard based. This state is very divided on its BBQ. It would be best not to pick sides (unless you pick Eastern, then you'd be correct).