The No. 1 thing you need to know about Carolina BBQ is this: it is the other
white meat (aka Pork). Carolinians stress that BBQ beef is just that; but “BBQ Pork” is redundant. BBQ is Pork
More specifically, BBQ is pulled (or shredded, or chopped, or sliced) pork that has been low and slow roasted and served with a sauce that varies depending on personal taste and somewhat on geography. In some parts of the state, it is likely to be a tomato-based sauce; in others, mustard-based, ketchup-based, or a vinegar/pepper mix. Whether your choice cut is from the whole hog, shoulder, butt or ham, BBQ is good eating, and the search for your favorite can be a downright delicious exploration!
Since sauces often are derived from secret family recipes, each sauce has a strong regional following. Simply select the Southern cuisine that excites your palate most or try them all.
STYLES OF SOUTH CAROLINA BBQ
Traditionally the pork is cooked in an open pit fueled by hardwood coals. The whole hog typically is cooked in the coastal plain regions, while shoulders, hams, or Boston butts are used in the Piedmont area. There are at least three basic sauce types:
- Watery thin and fiery hot pepper and vinegar concoctions dominate the Pee Dee region.
- The upstate and Savannah River areas favor peppery tomato or milder ketchup-based sauces.
- A yellow-mustard-based sauce is favored in the Midlands.
Types and use of sauce differ from place to place: Some use sauce to baste the meat while it cooks; others douse the meat with the sauce after it is cooked; and sometimes the meat is served without sauce, allowing the customer to determine the amount of sauce desired.
SOUTH CAROLINA BBQ SAUCE RECIPES
Tomato Barbecue Sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1 tablespoon celery salt
- 1 tablespoon cayenne
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- 4 cups tomato juice
- 1 /2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon grated onion
Combine all ingredients in a small pot and stir until well mixed. Cook over low heat for 2 hours.
Carolina Red Barbecue Sauce
- 1 ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon (packed) brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
To diminish tartness, add additional ketchup and brown sugar to taste.
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until sugar and salt dissolve. This sauce can be prepared as many as 2-3 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate.
Makes about 2 cups.
Mustard Barbecue Sauce
South Carolina mustard barbecue sauce can be traced to German
settlers in the 18th century.
- 4 cups yellow mustard (two 20-ounce bottles of French's mustard should do the trick)
- 8 ounces of beer (less for thicker sauce, more for thinner sauce)
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 8 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 cup tomato puree
- 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon cayenne
- 1 tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
Heat all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat and mix well. Cook until sauce just begins to thicken. Serve cool or warm. The sauce will last in the refrigerator for a long time.
Makes about 6 cups.
Vinegar & Pepper Barbecue Sauce
- 3 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
In a saucepan, stir together the vinegar, red pepper flakes, pepper and salt. Bring to a boil. Stir in the ketchup and brown sugar. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes.