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
Serves: 128 servings

Rate & Comment


  • 1 gallon cider vinegar

  • 1 1/3 cups crushed red pepper

  • 2 tablespoons black pepper

  • 1/4 cup salt


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

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
9 Calories
0g Fat
1g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 128
Amount per serving
Calories 9
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 223mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 4mg 0%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 41mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)