In the Carolinas, vinegar based barbecue sauce and pulled pork go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. And this Carolina Barbecue Sauce Recipe is so easy, cheap, and fast to make, there is NO reason to buy it.
Pork Shoulders on the Green Egg
My husband makes the BEST Pulled Pork.
I am so spoiled and ruined. I have never been at any other restaurant that can even come close to his beautiful hunks of meat. And I am not just saying this because he is incredibly cute and the father of my child… I am saying this because he really makes the BEST Pulled Pork ever… And when he makes his beautiful Pulled Pork; I use my homemade Carolina Barbecue Sauce Recipe.
I remember the first time as a child being told by my grandmother that we were having Barbecue for dinner at her house. I was so excited. I love Barbecue. So when she plated a sandwich with hamburger meat, I was in complete dismay . I did not want to eat it. I said, “This isn’t Barbecue!”
You see, in the South, Barbecue is generally defined as “Pulled Pork.”
We are very, very proud of our Pulled Pork Barbecue, as we should be; because if cooked correctly, it is AMAZING! In Wisconsin, and I assume other northern states, they define Barbecue as what we call a “Sloppy Joe;” consisting of a very tasty mixture of slowly cooked hamburger meat, a tomato based sauce, an assortment of seasonings, and onions.
Now, my grandmother’s Sloppy Joes are fantastic. And I do love them. But they are NOT BARBECUE! Just saying…
The secret to my husband’s beautiful Pulled Pork is Time, Patience, Babysitting, Salt and Pepper, and a Green Egg.
My husband salts and peppers heavily a Boston Butt Pork Shoulder. He heats his Green Egg Grill to 220 to 250 degrees. Then he cooks the pork shoulder real slow until meat temperature gets to 195 to 200 degrees. The grill’s temperature can go up and down, so this requires his babysitting. When the meat is the temperature he wants, he wraps it in tinfoil and lets it rest. This step is very important to keep the moisture and juice to settle in the meat. If you cut it too quickly, the juice will run out of the meat and the pork will not be as juicy and tender. We know from experience. When you see that beautiful meat, you loose all patience and want to tear into it immediately. But as the saying goes, “The best comes to those who wait!”
If done correctly, you can pull the pork apart easily with a fork, hence “Pulled Pork.”
*This post contains affiliated links.
Us Southerners are CRAZY over the sauce.
There is the mustard based sauce, the sweet and tangy sauce, the tomato based sauce, the brown sugar and molasses sauce, the smokey spicy sauce… I could go on and on… Honestly, we are very serious about our sauces and if you can find one in the store that is local, BUY it! Those are the best. Skip the chain, massed produced stuff. Our favorite store bought for the sweet tangy sauce is Old Mule BBQ Sauce. That stuff is like crack it is so good! It is made here in North Carolina and when we put it out at our cookouts, the jar goes empty.
My Southern friend Karrie Holland (She lives in New Hampshire, but is originally from Florida) makes a really good sweet and tangy sauce for the crock-pot. If you want to create your own Sweet & Tangy sauce, check out her Slow Cooker BBQ Sauce recipe.
But just as much as we like the sweet stuff, we also like the vinegar based sauce.
In the Carolinas, vinegar based barbecue sauce and pulled pork go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. And the homemade stuff is so easy, cheap, and fast to make, there is NO reason to buy it. I am sharing my spicy, tangy, vinegar-based recipe with you. I hope you love it as much as we do!
* I put my sauce in a mason jar. Old salad dressing bottles are also great for storing your sauce.
By the way, my Bacon Ranch Potato Salad and Southern Baked Beans Quintet would make awesome side dishes to any pulled pork!!! Both dishes are a favorite at any cookout I have and I never have leftovers. Add in a couple of vegetables or a salad and you have a wicked good spread!!!! Just saying…..
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon of ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Place all ingredients in a pan.
- Cook on stove top at Medium heat.
- Bring to a boil.
- Whisk together until sugar and salt are completely dissolved. Remove from heat.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Pour sauce into a jar or bottle. For best results, refrigerate one day before serving.
- Shake well before serving.