We can all agree that Smoked Pork Ribs are amazing, but the technique and sauce/dry rub is what makes this classic bbq a debatable topic! I have a love for all the flavor profiles and I wanted to share my Smoked Ribs with Carolina Mustard Sauce recipe. 


Carolina ribs are vinegar-based bbq sauces and they can be mustard vinegar based as well. The vinegar helps tenderize and cut through all the fat from the pork ribs. The fat from the ribs will be rendered and it will help keep the pork ribs juicy and tender. One last thing, they also contain some heat!

smoked ribs on the smoker

I made a delicious dry rub but first I used the hot sauce as a binder. A binder is used to keep the seasoning to stick to the meat and during the smoke, it will help draw the seasoning into the meat. The most common binders are yellow mustard (no, you can not taste the mustard) and hot sauce (you can taste the tang from the hot sauce). 

Okay, let’s jump into cooking.

dry rub for the ribs

Smoked Ribs with Carolina Mustard Sauce

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6


  • 3 racks Pork ribs
  • Hot sauce as a binder
  • Brown sugar
  • Honey

Dry Rub

  • ¼ cup Smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp Light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Mexican chili powder
  • 2 tbsp Cumin
  • 2 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp Turbanado powder
  • 1 tbsp Dry mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp Black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Cayenne

Mustard Vinegar Sauce

  • 2 cups Yellow mustard
  • ¾ cup Apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup Honey
  • ½ cup Brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Ketchup
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp Garlic Paste
  • 1 tbsp Red pepper flake
  • 2 tsp Black pepper
Keyword carolina mustard sauce, easy pork ribs recipe, mustard sauce, pork ribs recipe, smoked pork ribs


  1. Start off by firing up your smoker to 275 degrees F. Add apple or hickory wood chunks for a subtle smokey flavor.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add the ingredients for the dry rub: Smoked paprika, brown sugar, Mexican chili powder, cumin, turbanado sugar, dry mustard powder, salt, pepper and cayenne. Hand mix for a nice combined dry rub.
  3. Prep your ribs by removing the silver skin from the back and removing any silver skin. You can shape them if you like that style. Now, apply a tablespoon of hot sauce on each rack of ribs, bone side up and rub it to cover the whole surface area. 
  4. Season generously with the dry rub you just made. Flip the racks and repeat the process with the hot sauce and seasoning. Let them sit and sweat for 45 minutes.
  5. Place on the smoker and let them ride for 2 1/2 – 3 hours. At the 45 minute mark you can begin to spritz with apple cider vinegar. Spritz every 45 minutes.
  6. At the 2 1/2 – 3 hour mark remove and place them in aluminum foil, bone side down, and add  4-5 tabs of butter, sprinkle brown sugar on top and then drizzle honey. Wrap them in the foil and place back on the smoker for 1 1/2 –  2 hours. smoked ribs in aluminum foil
  7. Make the mustard vinegar sauce. In a bowl add these ingredients: mustard, apple cider vinegar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic paste, red pepper flakes and pepper. Whisk the sauce until it has all devolved into one delicious consistent sauce. 
  8. Remove the ribs from the smoker and open them up, leaving in the foil (create a foil boat) and then sauce your ribs with the sauce. Place back on the smoker and let them smoke for another 20-30 minutes.
  9. Remove and serve, enjoy with family and friends!


Pork Recipes

Items used in this recipe

Hasty-Bake Grill

Knitted Gloves

Mixing Bowls

Nitrile Gloves

Food Processor

Cast Iron Skillet 

Meater +

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