Old-Time Eastern North Carolina Barbecue Sauce Recipe

After spending the weekend in the Raleigh area of North Carolina, eating my way from Allen & Son to Ed Mitchell's The Pit, I'm proud to say that I'm a full-fledged North Carolina 'cue convert. The defining style of the Carolinas involves chopped barbecue dressed with a spicy vinegar sauce--so much that no restaurant I visited even offered a sauce alternative. This immersion experience really opened my eyes to just how well the spicy tang of vinegar sauce complements smoky barbecue. There's no looking back for me now.

I couldn't resist picking up a copy of the newly published Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue, while down there, and the first thing I did after arriving home was follow the simple recipe of cider vinegar, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and salt to whip up a batch of the native North Carolina sauce to have on hand to adorn all barbecue pork in my future.

Recipe Facts

Prep: 5 mins
Rest: 4 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 5 mins

Rate & Comment


  • 1 gallon cider vinegar
  • 1 1/3 cup crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1/4 cup salt


  1. Mix the ingredients and let stand for at least 4 hours.