This North Carolina barbecue sauce, made with apple cider vinegar, is not too tangy and not too sweet and juuuuuuuuuust right.
This vinegar barbecue sauce is sweet, spicy, tangy, and begging to be drizzled over many things you’ll be pulling off the grill or smoker this summer. It’s also incredibly easy, coming together in literally seconds with only stirring, no simmering. Enough said.–Angie Zoobkoff
WHAT IS “VINEGAR” BARBECUE SAUCE?
This North Carolina vinegar barbecue sauce is not your typical barbecue sauce. It’s a thinner consistency than most barbecue sauces that’s adept for mopping meat while it’s on the grill or smoker or for dipping and dousing meat—especially richer cuts of meat—that you’ve pulled off the heat (we’re looking at you, pulled pork). Vinegar barbecue sauce is actually a classic North Carolina thing. As Matt Moore, author of The South’s Best Butts, explains, “North Carolina is a state that has the battle lines firmly drawn when it comes to barbecue, not to mention barbecue sauces. If you were in eastern North Carolina, this sauce would be almost translucent (void of all tomatoes) and accompany a whole hog feast. If you found yourself in western North Carolina, your pork shoulder would arrive with a ruby red sauce that packs a vinegar punch. We’ve combined the best of both worlds for a veritable North Carolina sauce that pairs well with pulled or chopped pork.”
North Carolina Vinegar Barbecue Sauce Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 5 M
- 1 H, 15 M
- Makes about 1 1/4 cups
- 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar (177 ml)
- 1/2 cup tomato paste (132 g) or ketchup (78 g)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed (20 g)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (15 ml)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (4 g)
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (1 to 2 g)
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1. In a small bowl or jar with a lid, stir together the vinegar, tomato paste or ketchup, brown sugar, lemon juice, salt, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and cracked black pepper. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or, preferably, overnight before using.
- 2. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding additional cayenne pepper if desired. Slather it on everything in sight.
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