What is East Carolina Barbecue Sauce?
East Carolina–style barbecue is a whole different breed from sweeter tomato-based sauces. For one, this tangy East Carolina vinegar sauce is largely comprised of apple cider vinegar and has the same consistency as Tobasco sauce. Don’t worry, though. While this is a tangy sauce, it is not straight vinegar. It also contains flavorful ingredients like red pepper flakes and black pepper for a little heat and is tempered with the addition of brown sugar for a subtle sweetness.
How to use:
Unlike tomato or mustard-based sauces, tangy East Carolina vinegar 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.
-This 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.
-This sauce can also be used on pulled chicken sandwiches. Start 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 mellow it out. Eastern Carolina sauce traditionally contains a strong vinegar flavor that some are not used to consuming. Work your way up. Think of it as taste bud training!
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Tangy East Carolina Vinegar Sauce
- 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.