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.
Spotlight on our favorite products
GrillGrates Take Gas Grills To The Infrared Zone
GrillGrates amplify heat, prevent flare-ups, make flipping foods easier, kill hotspots, flip over to make a fine griddle, and can be easily moved from one grill to another. Click here for more about what makes these grates so special.
– THIS IS NOT AN AD –
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.
- 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
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
- 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.
High quality websites are expensive to run. If you help us, we’ll pay you back bigtime with an ad-free experience and a lot of freebies!
Millions come to AmazingRibs.com every month for high quality tested recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, product reviews, and inspiration. But it is expensive to run a website with more than 2,000 pages and we don’t have a big corporate partner to subsidize us.
Our most important source of sustenance is people who join our Pitmaster Club. But please don’t think of it as a donation. Members get MANY great benefits. We block all third-party ads, we give members free ebooks, magazines, interviews, webinars, more recipes, a monthly sweepstakes with prizes worth up to $2,000, discounts on products, and best of all a community of like-minded cooks free of flame wars. Click below to see all the benefits, take a free 30 day trial, and help keep this site alive.
Post comments and questions below
1) Please try the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.
2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.
3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can’t help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.
4) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different.
5) Posts with links in them may not appear immediately.