Master NC Style BBQ: Southern Comfort on Your Plate

North Carolina-style BBQ is a deliciously tangy and smoky pulled pork dish that’s all about the vinegar-based sauce and the slow cooking.

Ready to sink your teeth into some North Carolina-style BBQ magic? This ain’t your average grilling session, folks. We’re diving into the tangy, vinegar-based wonderland that’ll make your taste buds do the cha-cha. Stick around for all the nitty-gritty details, from the rub to the mop sauce—trust me, you won’t want to miss a thing!

NC Style BBQ Recipe

nc style bbq recipe

Welcome to the grand world of North Carolina BBQ, where vinegar meets pork in a celestial dance of flavors. This dish is a celebration of tangy, spicy, and smoky. Think pork so tender it practically begs to be on your plate. Perfect for weekends, holidays, or anytime you want your taste buds to do the happy dance.

  • Cooking method: Smoking and slow cooking
  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 6-8 hours
  • Cuisine type: American, Southern


  • 1 whole pork shoulder (8-10 lbs)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • Buns or bread rolls (for serving)
  • Cabbage slaw (optional, for serving)

Cooking Instructions

  1. Preheat your smoker to 250°F (120°C). Yes, patience is a virtue!
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, pepper, and paprika. Rub this mix all over the pork shoulder.
  3. Place the pork shoulder in the smoker. Let it soak in the smoke for approximately 6-8 hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 195°F (90°C).
  4. While the pork is working hard, you’ll relax—or make the sauce. Combine apple cider vinegar, water, ketchup, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the pork shoulder when done. Let it rest for 30 minutes. It’s been through a lot.
  6. Shred the pork using two forks. Mix in some of the vinegar sauce to keep it juicy and flavorful.
  7. Serve on buns or bread rolls, with a generous heap of cabbage slaw on top if you dare.


  • Alternative ingredients: Swap apple cider vinegar for white vinegar if you prefer a sharper tang.
  • Garnishing options: Top with pickles or extra red pepper flakes for added zing.
  • Cooking tips: If you don’t have a smoker, an oven set to low heat will work. Just add a touch of liquid smoke to the sauce for that authentic taste.