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East Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce and Mop Recipe

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East Carolina BBQ Sauce

Ribs and pulled pork are rich, and the best way to balance and cut the silky fatty mouthfeel is with acid.

Along the coasts of North and South Carolina, “East” Carolina or the “Low Country”, where BBQ probably began in the US, the locals figgered this out a long time ago. They developed a simple vinegar based sauce, probably the oldest BBQ sauce in the nation, to cut through, cleanse the palate, and enhance the flavor. The original was probably just a kiss of hot peppers and vinegar, and some pitmasters use only those two ingredients to this day.

Low Country vinegar sauce is used on naked meat, without a rub, and it does double duty as both a baste (a.k.a. mop) and a sauce. A mop is brushed on the meat while it cooks to cool it and flavor it. Because it is so thin, it penetrates deep.

For people like me who love vinegar and a bit of heat, this simple sauce is all you need on a properly smoked shoulder or whole hog (in the eastern part of NC, whole hog is the cut of choice). Many of you will find it a bit severe and will want to use it as a mop in place of a rub, finishing the with a thicker, sweeter, more conventional Kansas City style sauce.

Best of all, this stuff keeps for months in the fridge, so make a gallon.

East Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce Recipe


Whole hog mopped with East Carolina Vinegar BBQ sauce
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4.37 from 225 votes
Create your own amazing East Carolina vinegar BBQ sauce and mop with this simple to follow recipe. Tangy and spicy, Low Country vinegar sauce is great for finishing fatty pork and does double duty as a baste (or mop) for adding layers of flavor to the meat as it cooks. Because it is so thin, it penetrates deep.

Course:
Sauces and Condiments
Cuisine:
American
,
Southern
difficulty scale

Makes:


Takes:

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (you pick: white, light brown, or dark brown)
  • 1 tablespoon Morton Coarse Kosher Salt
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons finely ground black pepper
Notes:
About the vinegar.  I tried this with both distilled and cider vinegar and I liked the distilled better. If you want to use cider, feel free.
Metric conversion:

These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page

Method

  • Pour all the ingredients into a jar and shake. Let it sit for at least 12 hours to allow the flavors to meld. To use it as both a mop and finishing sauce, pour a few ounces into a cup and paint it on the meat with a basting brush once every hour or so while it is cooking. If you use it as a mop, the sauce in the cup can get contaminated with uncooked meat juices on the brush. That's why you don't want to dip the brush in the whole bottle. Discard contaminated mop and serve untouched sauce at the table.

Related articles

Published On: 3/15/2014 Last Modified: 6/20/2024

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  • Meathead, AmazingRibs.com Founder And BBQ Hall of Famer - Founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", and is a BBQ Hall Of Fame inductee.

 

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