Add some serious zip to your barbecue with this ketchup and vinegar based sauce.
Inland from the coast in North and South Carolina, in the west part of the Carolinas, the area called Piedmont or Hill Country or the Foothills, they call BBQ sauce “dip” and they apply it to pork shoulder most of the time. Small amounts of ketchup and sugar are added to the simple vinegary Low Country Mop-Sauce. The result is still thin and penetrating, never thick like Kansas City Sauce.
The debate over whether ketchup belongs in barbecue sauce has caused many a shouting match and even stirred a raucous debate in the North Carolina legislature. Some recipes omit the sugar, but I think it rounds out the flavor. Using apple juice is also a veer from the standard, but I stole the idea from my favorite North Carolina sauce, George’s, made in Nashville, NC. It really adds depth. Since it is mostly vinegar, it keeps a long time in the fridge.
Serve with: a local North Carolina beer.
- Prep. Whisk together all the ingredients and let them sit for at least three hours in the fridge to allow the flavors to meld. Overnight is better. A week is best.
- Use. Divide the sauce in two. Use one for basting. The locals mop it on the meat with a basting brush once every hour while cooking. If you do mop, a good silicon brush is best. It holds lots of fluid and is easy to clean. A lot of places still use string mops, but I think these are too hard to clean and potential sources of food poisoning.
- Take the remaining mop and serve it in a cruet on the side so your guests can drizzle on more if they wish.