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North Carolina BBQ Sauce

This tangy barbecue sauce goes especially well with Pulled Pork.

  • Yield: Yields 1 cup
North Carolina BBQ Sauce

Source: Mad Hungry, March 2011


  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco


  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

  2. Add tomato paste, brown sugar, salt, pepper, cayenne, and vinegar to pot, raise heat, and boil, whisking constantly, until sugar and salt dissolve, 1 minute.

  3. Remove from heat; whisk in lemon juice and hot sauce. Serve warm.

Cook's Note

This BBQ sauce can be made up to two weeks ahead. Cool to room temperature, transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid, and store in the refrigerator.

Reviews (4)

  • Bmasteller 8 Jul, 2012

    Wanted to add - we serve our barbeque sauce in a oil-and-vinegar shaker bottle, not hot. Our pit cooked pigs are usually sopped with this, too, and the meat is very moist. But that sop often has less red pepper, so everyone can adjust their "heat" level to their own liking at the table.

    This came out pretty close to what a good restaurant would serve, just missing a little something, don't know what yet.

  • Bmasteller 8 Jul, 2012

    Y'all folks expecting Kansas-style (tomato-y) sauce will be sorely shocked at our N.C. vinegar based "sop". Never tried to make it myself.

    Don't know anyone using butter, so subbed corn oil and reduced it by 2 Tbsp - next time I'll cut it to half. Used Savory Spice's tomato powder instead of paste. Ours has flakes, so used red pepper flakes to taste, not cayenne and hot sauce, +dry minced onion. Had to increased vinegar by 1/4 c. and add 1 more Tbsp lemon. It's not perfect, but yummy!

  • angiebaby1120 20 Feb, 2012

    Awful!! Like drinking melted sugary butter! :(~

  • lz10 25 Oct, 2011

    I am wondering if the butter and tomato paste amounts are correct. Adjusting it to have less butter and much more tomato paste made it edible. Thanks, lz10

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