Tar Heel Kitchen: NC Barbecue Sauce

by | Jul 9, 2015


Since 1926, the Agricultural Review has been a free newspaper published by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. For many years, The Tar Heel Kitchen was a featured column written by the department’s marketing home economist.

These recipes tended to be seasonal with just a handful of ingredients. We thought these recipes needed to be shared in a new format. The Tar Heel Kitchen post will unearth a few of these timeless recipes each month. This week we are revisiting the April 1, 1985  issue with a couple of barbecue sauce recipes that will be sure to please no matter which side of the state barbecue line you fall on.

“It’s about that time of year when our minds turn to sunny afternoons, with a gathering of friends, and the tantalizing aroma of pork on the grill,” wrote Barbara Minter, former NCDA home economist.

“We at the Department of Agriculture encourage you to enjoy a “pig pickin” this summer,” wrote Minter. “To help you enjoy your cookout, why not try one of these barbecue sauces – try one or all three.”

North Carolina ranks second in the United States in pork. In 2012, pork contributed 21.8 percent of farm cast receipts.

Eastern Pig Pickin’ Sauce

  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 3 tablespoons black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 3/4 to 1 bottle catsup
  • 3/4 teaspoon mustard (dry)
  • 1/2 cup water

Mix all ingredients and brush on carcass after turning. Makes 1 quart.

Piedmont Lexington-Style Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups distilled white or cider vinegar
  • 10 tablespoons tomato catsup
  • salt to taste, if desired
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • pinch of crushed hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let stand until cool. Spoon a small amount of the sauce over barbecued meat. Yields: 3 cups.

Western Catsup-Based Barbecue Sauce

  • 1 cup tomato catsup
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon liquid hot pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Place all ingredients in heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes. Yields: 3 cups.