North Carolina BBQ Sauce is well known to be made with very basic ingredients of vinegar, ground black pepper, and hot chile pepper flakes making it a Vinegar based BBQ Sauce. It is used as a “mopping” sauce to baste the meat while it is cooking and can be used as a dipping sauce when it is served.
This first of our 3 BBQ sauce recipes is an Eastern North Carolina BBQ Sauce recipe. By someone from North Carolina, it was described as the closest to what you will find in any of the BBQ Restaurants in North Carolina. Now, there’s no doubt, this is a HOT BBQ sauce, so be careful!
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco™), or to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Combine all of the ingredients, put in a jar with a tight fitting lid.
- Refrigerate for 1 to 2 days before using so that the flavors will blend.
- Shake occasionally; you can store and use for up to 2 months in the refrigerator.
Here’s another, but as you can tell, a very simple but very standard version of North Carolina BBQ Sauce.
- 1gallon cider vinegar
- 1⅓ cup crushed red pepper
- 2 tablespoons black pepper
- ¼ cup salt
- Mix all 4 ingredients together and let stand for at least 4 hours. You want the spices to mix in and flavor the vinegar.
This traditional North Carolina BBQ sauce recipe was probably was most likely developed for North Carolina Pulled Pork recipes. Again, a very simple Vinegar based sauce with good heat!
- 2 cups Apple Vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Fresh Red Chile Pepper, crushed or minced
- 1 teaspoon Black peppercorns ground to medium-coarse
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Chop the fresh red pepper to split most of the seeds, and then crush them.
- Add all ingredients in a bottle or jar with a sealable lid then shake well to blend everything.
- Let sit overnight (keeps well outside the fridge), shake regularly.
Memphis barbecue sauce has its own distinctive flavor, as well. Though the specific ingredients will vary from cook to cook, Memphis sauce is usually made with tomatoes, vinegar, and any countless combination of spices. It is generally thin, tangy, and somewhat sweet. Memphis sauce is poured over pulled pork or served along side of dry ribs. Memphis style seems to be a thinner and not as sweet version of Kansas City style sauces.
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- ¼ cup of chopped onion
- 1 cup of tomato sauce
- 1 cup of vinegar
- ¼ cup of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- A dash of Tabasco sauce
- Sautee the onion in butter until golden brown, then add the remaining ingredients.
- Heat the mixture for fifteen minutes until it thickens in texture.
- So there you go, give it a try. If all else fails well you can always buy a good jar of gourmet barbecue sauce.
Lexington Dip (a.k.a. Western Carolina Dip or Piedmont Dip) – In Lexington, and in the “Piedmont” hilly areas of western North Carolina the sauce is often called a dip. It is a lot like the East Carolina Sauce (above) with tomato paste, tomato sauce, or ketchup added. The tomato softens the vinegar. Lexington Dip is still thin, never thick like a Kansas City style sauce.
- 1 cup distilled vinegar (do not use cider vinegar)
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup apple juice
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- ½ tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- Whisk together all the ingredients and let them sit for at least three hours to allow the flavors to meld. Overnight is better. A week is best. Mop it on the meat with a basting brush once every hour while cooking.
- Before serving, take the remaining mop and boil it to sterilize it. With a clean brush, to prevent contamination by a brush used on uncooked meat, mop the meat one last time. Serve the sauce in a cruet on the side so your guests can drizzle on more if they wish.