Juicy East Carolina Style Barbecue (BBQ) Sauce Recipe for Pork and More

Eastern Carolina BBQ sauce on a pulled pork sandwich
Eastern Carolina BBQ sauce on a pulled pork sandwich

This BBQ sauce has a strong vinegar flavor with a subtle spicy kick and a sweet aftertaste. Smother it over pulled pork for a juicy BBQ sandwich.


3 cups apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup tomato ketchup

5 Tablespoons light brown sugar

4 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon kosher salt

3 teaspoons finely ground black pepper

3 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes. Add more for a spicier sauce.


1. Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl, until the sugar dissolves.

2. Let sit for about 20 minutes, preferably longer. The longer the sauce sits, the spicier it gets.

3. Keep the sauce in a glass or plastic bottle and store it in the refrigerator. It will keep for months.

Barbecue Sauce
Barbecue Sauce

Why is this Eastern Carolina style?

People often call this sauce "Carolina Style", but real BBQ aficionados will let you know that this is Eastern Carolina style. It is tangy and spicy, with more of an emphasis on the vinegar.

Western Carolina sauce has more of an emphasis on the tomato base, be it ketchup or tomato sauce, and it is sweet.

Use it to make good cole slaw

You don't have to bust out the Miracle Whip every time you make cole slaw. Just grate about 6 cups of cabbage and mix it with 1 1/2 cups of this barbecue sauce. Cover and leave it in the fridge overnight for all of the flavors to blend.

Homemade Eastern Carolina Barbecue Sauce
Homemade Eastern Carolina Barbecue Sauce

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Comments 11 comments

rsusan profile image

rsusan 5 years ago from South Africa

This looks like such an easy barbecue sauce, stephaniedas. I am going to give it a try. I love the fact that you can use it for cole slaw as well, as it is fat free.

stephaniedas profile image

stephaniedas 5 years ago from Miami, US Author

Yes, that may be the best part! It is a really unique flavor, and I think its delicious. I used all of my vinegar when I made it, so I poured the sauce into the old vinegar bottle and have it in my fridge. I pull it out periodically to put on various things, like meat or potatoes. It gets spicier with the passing of time. Thanks for the comment.

vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

I love Eastern Carolina style sauce and included it in one of my hubs about BBQ. I'd never thought of using it on coleslaw, though, and really appreciate the helpful tip!

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stephaniedas 4 years ago from Miami, US Author

@Vespawoolf- Thanks for commenting, I love it too! It makes a really special cole slaw, really different from the other ones that people are used to.

Katiadejuan profile image

Katiadejuan 4 years ago from London, UK

Thanks for sharing! I also wanted to know how to make homemade barbacue sauce!

stephaniedas profile image

stephaniedas 4 years ago from Miami, US Author

@Katiadejuan- Thank you for commenting. This is just one type of barbecue sauce. There are many different types, and it seems like every family in the south has its own recipe. This one is sooooo delicious!

Robin 2 years ago

East Carolina BBQ does not have ANY tomato in it.

Scotty 2 years ago

I'm from S.C. In this state alone, we have 5 different types of sauce, it all depends on where you go.

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PipsBarbecue 11 months ago

This is a Piedmont 'dip' not an Eastern Carolina sauce.

Source: I'm an Eastern North Carolinian.

stephaniedas profile image

stephaniedas 6 weeks ago from Miami, US Author

I bet you have even more! Got any recipes to share?

stephaniedas profile image

stephaniedas 6 weeks ago from Miami, US Author

Funny thing is, I've never gotten more discussion on any of my hubs than when I said this sauce was East Carolinian :) Whats a "dip" by the way?

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