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A North Carolina Barbecue Sauce Recipe is regional!

The ancient feud of the North Carolina Barbecue Sauce Recipe continues, as it has since the early 1800's. Eastern North Carolina Barbecue Sauce or Western North Carolina Barbecue Sauce lovers say the twain shall never meet.

Although basically similar vinegar barbecue sauce recipes, the addition of tomato sauce (ketchup) used in the traditional Western North Carolina barbecue sauce, fires the East/West North Carolina barbecue sauce rivalry every time. But, the "Cookin' Cousins" love them all!

They love their Carolina Style Pulled Pork! Whether it is the Eastern North Carolina preference for roasting a whole hog, or the Western North Carolina "druther" for the pork shoulder, pick a North Carolina barbecue sauce recipe that "tickles your fancy" and you will discover just why this 400 year old tradition is alive and kickin'!

The old southern saying "the secret is in the sauce" seems to defy our ("The "Cookin' Cousins") motto "Barbecue is the Mystical Communion of Fire, Smoke and Meat". But with pork barbecued southern style, basted periodically with a wonderful North Carolina barbecue sauce, we find both are true and we make the exception gladly.

The Carolina folk call their favorite North Carolina Barbecue Sauce Recipe "finishing sauce", as it is served after roasting the meat, in bowls at the feast, to be applied by the ravenous guests. So whip one up, experiment to make it your own "secret sauce". Your barbecue fame is secure!


Old Time Eastern North Carolina Barbecue Sauce Recipe


  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (white will work also)
  • 3 tblsp lemon juice (approx. 1 lemon)
  • 1 1/2 tblsp Worcestershire sauce (preferably Lea & Perrins)
  • 1 tblsp honey
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper (fresh ground if you have it)

Once the butter is melted in a sauce pan, stir in all but the vinegar and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the vinegar, allow the sauce to cool.


Restaurant Style Eastern North Carolina Barbecue Sauce


  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar (white will work also)
  • 3 tblsp lemon juice (approx. 1 lemon)
  • 1 1/2 tblsp brown sugar (or Turbinado sugar)
  • 1 tblsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tblsp hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper (fresh ground if you have it)

You don't have to cook this one! If you wish, just combine the ingredients, put in a jar with a tight lid (for occasional shaking), place in the refrigerator for a couple of days before the feast, and give it a vigorous shaking once in a while.

You may simmer the ingredients for about 25 minutes to serve immediately if you are in a hurry.


Western North Carolina Barbecue Sauce


  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (3 lemons approx.)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Combine all in a sauce pan, bring to a boil, simmer for 25-30 minutes.


East Meets West North Carolina Barbecue Sauce


  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar (white will work also)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tblsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper

No cooking required! Just stir until the sugar is dissolved and serve. Although this one will stay fresh in the refer "'til the cows come home", we have virtually never had any left over!





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