4 Delicious Carolina BBQ Recipes

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The Carolinas are known for their amazing and tangy BBQ, and this post has rounded up 4 delicious Carolina BBQ recipes that you can make in your own backyard. From sauces to pulled pork, with some vinegar coleslaw on the side, you’ll have a BBQ feast straight out of the south!

Collage of Carolina Pulled Pork, Vinegar BBQ Sauce, Mustard BBQ Sauce, and Vinegar Coleslaw.

Carolina Pulled Pork

Carolina pulled pork is one of those classic American BBQ styles that everybody needs to try at least once! Rich, savory smoked pork shoulder is slathered with a thin, vinegar based sauce. The two combine beautifully to bring a little bite to all that melt in your mouth meat.

My recipe for Carolina Pulled Pork is specifically WEST North Carolina style BBQ. East North Carolina style is primarily whole hog BBQ with a thin vinegar sauce (no ketchup involved!). So, for my East North Carolina purists, feel free to make this BBQ sauce recipe without the ketchup. And for those who don’t have North Carolina blood running through their veins, I think you’ll find this recipe a good introduction to the amazing world of Carolina pork.

Carolina pulled pork on a wooden cutting board.


Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce

Vinegar BBQ sauce is a staple in North Carolina. It is often considered the mother of American BBQ sauce, and its origins date back generations when meat was soaked with acidic sauce while it cooked over an open flame. The sauce is made by combining a few, basic ingredients together and using it to baste or mop over pork to keep it moist while it cooks.

Unlike other popular sauces, this Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce is thin and has an acidic and spicy bite to it that sets it apart from the more well-known BBQ sauces that are thick and sweet.

It’s also extremely easy to make! Keep in mind these three tips, and you end up with a fantastic vinegar BBQ sauce:

  • Adjust the spiciness to your liking. For those of you who don’t want a super spicy vinegar sauce, cut down on the amount of red pepper flakes you add to the mix. Want a good burn? Sprinkle in extra peppers to give this sauce a good kick.
  • Go traditional and omit the ketchup. Want an authentic eastern North Carolina experience? Make this recipe without the ketchup and give your pork a good baste with this thinner, tangy sauce.
  • Serve with pork. Vinegar based BBQ sauce pairs perfectly with pulled pork, as the natural pork flavor is enhanced by the vinegar mix. Check out my recipe for Carolina Pulled Pork below, or even try smoke up some Simple Smoked Pulled Pork and use this sauce as a mop as the pork cooks.

Carolina vinegar sauce being spooned over pulled pork.

Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce

Carolina style mustard BBQ sauce is a sauce made with mustard, vinegar, sweetener, and spices. It originated in South Carolina, and it is a golden sauce perfect for all your grilled and smoked meats. Carolina-style indicates its made with vinegar instead of the ketchup and molasses-based sauces popular in the mid and southwest.

The combo of the ingredients in my recipe for Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce make this sauce the perfect BBQ sauce for pork, chicken, beef and more. It’s sweet, tangy, sour, and can be adjusted to have just a bit of heat as well. If stored in a wide mouth mason jar, this sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Jar of Carolina mustard BBQ sauce next to a bowl of pulled pork.

Vinegar Coleslaw

Coleslaw with a vinegar base is popular in the Carolinas, and for good reason! This coleslaw tastes amazing with smoked pulled pork! When you combine rich, smoked pork shoulder with this crunchy, tangy, chopped slaw, you’re practically in BBQ heaven.

The dressing in this Vinegar Coleslaw also does double duty. It not only dresses the cabbage and makes for a tangy coleslaw, with a few tweaks it also makes for the most delicious Carolina vinegar BBQ sauce. I wouldn’t dream of eating pulled pork without a side of this coleslaw.

glass bowl of chopped coleslaw with vinegar dressing.

Love these Carolina BBQ Recipes?

Watch the video below and I’ll show you step-by-step how I make these delicious Carolina BBQ recipes at home. I’m all about helping you make the best backyard BBQ of your life, so check out more of my smoking and grilling recipe videos on YouTubeInstagram, or our Facebook Page. Follow along and let’s make awesome food together!

Interested in more rubs and sauces from Hey Grill Hey? Head on over to Patio Provisions to pick up a 3-pack of Hey Grill Hey signature sauces today!



Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

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Reader Reviews

3 Reviews

  1. Terry says:

    Would you happen to have a oil based no mayo no egg Caesar salad dressing recipe

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      I usually just use a store-bought packet when making Caesar salad. Someone in the comments can give you a good recommendation.

  2. Mark P says:

    Last night a cooked pulled pork for a retirement reception. Used my own recipe for that. I didake up the mustard BBQ sauce along with the vinegar slaw. What an amazing combination. So many compliments and requests for the recipes. Made for a great evening of BBQ.