BBQ Sauce Types: North Carolina Barbecue Sauce
If you enjoy BBQ fresh out of the smoker, one of the best BBQ sauce styles are the Carolina's vinegar based sauces. Vinegar based barbecue sauces are a regional specialty of North and South Carolina, with each claiming their own version is the best. The weekend is here and the meat is almost ready for the smoker, it's time to test out those claims.
This thin tangy sauce is best when drizzled lightly over pulled and chopped pork or fresh steaming brisket. The addition of a spicy apple vinegar tang with little chili pepper heat keeps pork and brisket moist and easy to devour. Give the classic version a try first, you may find it is a new favorite!
Classic recipes for North Carolina BBQ sauce include:
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Crushed Red Peppers
- Cayenne Pepper
- Brown Sugar
- Black Pepper
These basic combinations can be mixed up and used without cooking, simply letting them soak for a couple of hours will combine the flavors nicely. The vinegar based sauce is also great to baste on your meat during smoking. There is less sugar than the tomato based sauces so it doesn't add much of a burnt crust, and the vinegar really soaks in and tenderizes the meat while it's cooking. Mix up a batch the day before to really add some tang to your next BBQ!
Some of the more experienced cooks like to add to the classic recipe. These added ingredients come from tried and true restaurant recipes, competition winning recipes, and backyard experimenters looking to create their own signature flavor. After mastering the basic sauce, throwing in a bit of your own favorite flavors is only natural.
Some of the more exciting recipes add in:
- Chopped Garlic
- Minced Onion
- Cracked Pepper
- Hot Sauce or Salsa
- Worchestershire sauce
- Soy sauce
The main difference with these more complicated recipes is cooking time, with most of them suggesting simmering the sauce and additional ingredients for 20 minutes to combine the flavors.
Here is a good collection of Carolina vinegar based BBQ sauce recipes to sample from:
A video tutorial for the youtube inclined:
And a step by step recipe for smoking a Pork Shoulder, pulling the pork, and making the sauce.
Time to make some sauce and get that smoker going!