TJ Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce

It’s summer time, also known as grill season. The time of year where we Americans like taking our kitchens outdoors and spending some serious time in front of the grill. Eventually when we get talking about grilling, the topic of barbeque sauce is naturally going to arise. Who has the best? What style do you prefer. To kick off this season right, we here at Eat Like No One Else are committing to studying barbeque sauces – lot of great content to come. One of the best things about this sauce is that is it different based on where you are on the map. For a foodie with a Geography degree this is super exciting stuff. I am going to taking you on a tour across this country looking at different styles of sauces, reviews of what you can buy in the store, as well as my very own recipes. Get ready to come along for the ride as we start off with the inspiration for this exploration into barbeque sauce – Trader Joe’s Carolina Gold.

Many months ago as I was looking in the condiment section at my local Trader Joe’s, I spotted this gold colored sauce – called Carolina Gold. Not having much knowledge of sauces at the time I was intrigued by a barbeque sauce that is gold in color. Grabbed the bottle and went to reading – the bottle says “Every pat of the U.S. has its own special way of preparing barbecue. In some parts of the country, you might even find multiple styles of barbecue in the same town! We’re fans of all kinds of barbecue and Trader Joe’s Carolina Gold Barbecue Sauce is a blend that reminds us of some of the best grilled meats we’ve enjoyed in the Carolinas. It’s a golden-hue mustard-based sauce that’s sweet and smoky with a hint of molasses and just the right blend of spices. Use it as a glaze near the end of barbeucing, as a sauce for burgers and sandwiches , or as a dipping sauce for chicken or veggies.” Mustard base you say. This is my first time hearing of a mustard based barbeque sauce. I always associate barbeque with ketchup. Why not mustard? I love mustard. I was really intrigued by this sauce, and noticed it on several visits without buying it. Finally when I decided to write some features on barbeque sauce I knew the first sauce I needed to try.

What is all in this sauce:
Cane sugar, Yellow mustard (distilled vinegar, water, mustard seed), distilled vinegar, tomato puree (water, tomato past), sea salt, corn starch, Worcestershire sauce (distilled vinegar, molasses, sea salt, sugar, spices, tamarind), molasses, spices, garlic, onion, natural smoke flavor, xanthan gum

My first thought as I open the bottle, even though it doesn’t look like barbeque sauce I am use to, it sure does smell like it. It has a distinct smoky smell. It’s sweet, maybe a little more than it needs to be. That is the first thing that hits you. Then I get a smokey flavor. What I have left with is some spice on the tongue. It has a nice warmth to it that leaves a little something but not super hot where you need to down a gallon of milk afterward. All along I am tasting mustard, yet I still feel like this is barbeque. I love it. Nice work Carolina!

Other thoughts: The texture of the sauce is perfect, not too thick and too runny – thanks in part to the added corn starch and xanthan gum I am sure. Easy to pour.

If you like me looking to expand your barbeque horizons you can do well for yourself buying Trader Joe’s Carolina Gold. I am going to attempt to re-create this sauce from scratch myself, since I can improve upon with homemade mustard, fresh from the garden tomatoes, carmelized onions, and roasted garlic to add more natural sweet flavors so I can use less sugar. The TJ’s sauce is a good one when you can’t make your own.

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I'm Eric. I live in Ann Arbor, MI with my wife, 3 kids, and a flock of ducks. I love grocery shopping, trying new fruits, farmer's market, and traveling.
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