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Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce

Introducing a classic Carolina vinegar BBQ sauce made specifically for pulled pork. The flavor is unbeatable and this sauce is so easy to make. The tangy- spicy blend adds a kick to any sandwich or a hearty pile of barbecued pork. Give your taste buds a treat they won’t forget.

East Carolina BBQ Sauce

What is Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce?

Carolina–style barbecue is a whole different breed from sweeter tomato-based sauces. First, Carolina vinegar sauce contains apple cider vinegar and has the consistency as Tabasco sauce. Don’t worry, though. While this is a tangy sauce, it is not straight vinegar. It also contains red pepper flakes and black pepper for a little heat and brown sugar for a bit of sweetness.

How to use it:

Unlike tomato or mustard-based sauces, this tangy Carolina vinegar BBQ sauce is mixed right into freshly pulled pork. This is done to add extra layers of flavor and help keep the meat from drying out. It’s best to go light with this sauce and only use enough to coat the meat before serving. Keep some in a condiment bottle and use it as a table sauce. That way, those who want more can add their desired amount.


  • Apple cider vinegar
  • White vinegar
  • Ketchup
  • Brown sugar (dark brown sugar for a richer molasses flavor)
  • Tabasco Sauce 
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
Vinegar BBQ Sauce

Making a Tangy Vinegar Sauce

  • Combine sauce ingredients in a bowl and set it aside for 10 minutes until the sugar and salt have dissolved. 
  • Transfer the Carolina vinegar BBQ sauce to a condiment bottle or jar.
  • Use immediately or place into refrigerator for up to 2 weeks after preparation. 
  • This sauce is also great on pulled chicken! Read our informative guide on Smoked Chicken for more information.
Carolina vinegar sauce


  • This Carolina vinegar BBQ sauce gets better with time. Make it 2-3 days ahead of time and store it in your refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature before using it. Sauce will stay good for 14 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Start small. Use a small amount to coat the pulled pork. If it needs more, add a little bit more.
  • Before using the sauce, give it a good shake. Since it is thin, ingredients like black pepper and red pepper flakes will sink to the bottom of the bottle or container.
  • Use this sauce on pulled chicken sandwiches. Start off with a light coating. Chicken and pork hold flavors differently, so keep that in mind before using.
  • If you find that this sauce has too much vinegar flavor, add a tablespoon more of ketchup to round it out.
learn how to make the best pulled pork.
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East Carolina BBQ Sauce

Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce

Introducing a classic vinegar sauce from East North Carolina, made specifically for pulled pork. It's simply unbeatable.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Sauces
Cuisine: American BBQ
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 Cups
Calories: 85kcal


  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (use more if preferred)
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco Sauce (use more if preferred)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Combine sauce ingredients in a bowl and let sit for 10 minutes until the sugar and salt has dissolved. Transfer to a condiment bottle or jar.
  • Use immediately or place into refrigerator for up to 2 weeks after preparation. Can also be used on pulled chicken.


Calories: 85kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2627mg | Potassium: 218mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 370IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg
Derrick Riches
Derrick Riches

I began writing about Barbecue & Grilling in 1997 with one mission, to help the backyard chef have the best experience possible.



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