Skip to content

Get 5 Secrets to Make Homemade Taste Food Better + New Recipes Weekly!

    Vinegar Based Carolina BBQ Sauce Recipe

    Published June 30, 2021. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    This simple-to-make delicious vinegar-based Carolina-Style BBQ Sauce has the perfect combination of tangy, sweet, and spicy for all of your BBQ dishes.

    Sauces can oftentimes make or break recipes, especially when it comes to BBQ.  If you want to try out some new sauces that will absolutely make your next smoked pork shoulder or smoked ribs amazing, then definitely try my Sweet BBQ Sauce or Mustard BBQ Sauce.  

    jar of carolina vinegar based bbq sauce

    Carolina BBQ Sauce

    Eastern North Carolina BBQ sauce is considered the mother of all the BBQ sauces out there.  With generations-old history, this thin condiment is fantastic when mopping your whole hog barbecue all day long.  The well-balanced combination of flavors greatly enhances the flavor of smoked proteins and helps to tenderize due to the high vinegar content. 

    The basic ingredients for this tasty Carolina style Vinegar BBQ Sauce are:  

    • Vinegar: Most often apple cider is vinegar.
    • Spices: Pepper, cayenne, salt, and onion are commonly used.
    • Red Pepper: Crushed pepper flakes are a staple
    • Hot Sauce: any hot sauce will do.

    How to Make BBQ Sauce from Scratch

    Use these easy-to-follow instructions for making this delicious Carolina BBQ sauce from scratch:

    Add the vinegar and brown sugar to a medium-size saucepot and bring to a boil.

    boiling vinegar and sugar together in a pot

    Turn the heat down and add in the remaining ingredients and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.

    whisking together a vinegar bbq sauce in a pot

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: You can make this up to 3 days ahead of time.  The longer it sits the more flavors that will come out.

    How to Reheat: Add the desired amount to a small size saucepot and cook over low heat until warm.

    How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 21 days.  This will not freeze well.

    Chef Billy Parisi

    Chef Notes + Tips

    • Substitute the onion and garlic granules with powder.
    • You can lightly caramelize finely minced garlic and onions in oil before adding it to this recipe substituting for the onion and garlic granules.
    • This would go excellent with beef, pork, chicken, and French fries.
    spoonful of eastern carolina vinegar BBQ sauce

    More Sauce Recipes

    Be sure to follow me on Facebook, YouTube Instagram, and Pinterest, and if you’ve had a chance to make this then definitely drop me a comment and a rating below!

    Let's Cook - Chef Billy Parisi

    Video

    Vinegar Based Carolina BBQ Sauce Recipe

    5 from 4 votes
    This simple-to-make tasty vinegar-based Carolina-Style BBQ Sauce has the perfect combination of tangy, sweet, and spicy for your BBQ.
    Servings: 4 cups
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes

    Ingredients 

    • 3 cups of apple cider vinegar
    • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 teaspoons garlic granules
    • 2 teaspoons onion granules
    • ½ teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
    • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
    • 1/3 cup of ketchup

    Instructions

    • Add the vinegar, brown sugar, and salt to a medium-size pot and bring to a boil.
    • Add in all the other ingredients and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
    • Cool and serve.

    Notes

    Chef Notes:
    Make-Ahead: You can make this up to 3 days ahead of time. The longer it sits the more flavors that will come out.
    How to Reheat: Add the desired amount to a small size saucepot and cook over low heat until warm.
    How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 21 days. This will not freeze well.
    Substitute the onion and garlic granules with powder.
    You can lightly caramelize finely minced garlic and onions in oil before adding it to this recipe substituting for the onion and garlic granules.
    This would go excellent with beef, pork, chicken, and French fries.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 127kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1418mgPotassium: 284mgFiber: 1gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 699IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 41mgIron: 1mg
    Course: sauce
    Cuisine: American, southern