North Carolina Style Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Pulled Pork with Barbecue Sauce

Pulled Pork with Barbecue Sauce. Photo: Buck, via Wikimedia. License: CC-BY-2.0

This North Carolina style barbecue sauce recipe makes about 2 bottles' worth of a tasty, medium-spicy barbecue sauce from scratch, without food additives. The recipe is from Sheila Lukins' USA Cook Book, and I used it to make pulled pork for my Enormous Baloth Diet.

Make this barbecue sauce a day ahead, and refrigerate it overnight before using it.

Cooking time: 3 hours + overnight


  • 2 big (32oz) cans Italian plum tomatoes, chopped, in tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 1/3 cups cider vinegar
  • Salt to taste


  1. Put everything except the water, vinegar and salt into a large heavy pot.
  2. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to simmer over medium-low heat.
  3. Simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally until thick.
  4. Add the water and vinegar and return to the boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for another 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Remove the bay leaves, and add salt to taste.
  7. Set aside to cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

Where to find Sheila Lukins' USA Cook Book:

U.S.A. Cookbook by Sheila Lukins
U.S.A. Cookbook by Sheila Lukins $3.72
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Do you have a favourite barbecue sauce? Post your comments here...

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16 Responses to North Carolina Style Barbecue Sauce Recipe

  1. cinderellanjo / Texas Style Barbecue Sauce1/4 lb butter or mairagrne1 cup vinegar1 cup water1/2 cup tomato ketchup2 tsp Worcestershire sauce1 tsp dry mustard2 tsp chili powder1/4 tsp cayenne1 tsp black pepper1 tsp salt1/4 cup sugar2 crushed bay leaves2 cloves garlic, minced1 large onion, gratedJuice of 1 lemonMelt butter. Add vinegar, water, tomato ketchup, Worcestershire and lemon juice. Mix mustard, chili powder, cayenne, pepper, salt, sugar and bay leaves. Add to other mixture. Add garlic and onion, Cook together for about 10 minutes. ====================================Jim Beam Barbecue SauceINGREDIENTS: * 2 cups tomato ketchup * 1 cup brown sugar, packed * 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce * 2 teaspoons dry mustard * 1 cup Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey * 4 tablespoons cider vinegar * 4 tablespoons soy sauce * 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper * dash liquid smoke, to taste, optionalPREPARATION:Combine all ingredients in 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; simmer uncovered 20 minutes, or until thickened, stirring occasionally.========================================Honey Barbecue SauceINGREDIENTS: * 1/4 cup lemon juice * 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel * 1 teaspoon dry mustard * 1/2 teaspoon salt * dash pepper * 2 tablespoons honey * 2 tablespoons soy sauce * 1/2 cup vegetable oilPREPARATION:Combine all ingredients and let stand for 1 hour before using. Baste broiled or grilled chicken. Makes about 1 cup.=========================================Basic Barbecue SauceINGREDIENTS: * 2 cups water * 1/4 cup sugar * 3/4 cup vinegar * 1 cup finely chopped onion * 3/4 cup ketchup * 1 teaspoon black pepper * 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce * 1 teaspoon paprika * 2 teaspoons salt * dash ground cayenne pepper or hot pepper saucePREPARATION:Put all ingredients in saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce hat and simmer for 30 minutes. Use as a baste for grilled or baked ribs, chops, or chicken.======================================Southern Barbecue SauceINGREDIENTS: * 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce * 1/3 cup molasses * 1/4 cup vinegar * 1 clove garlic, minced * 1 teaspoon chili powder * 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper * dash saltPREPARATION:Combine all ingredients in saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Makes about 1 cup of barbecue sauce, for ribs, pork chops, burgers, steaks, or wieners. For oven barbecued ribs, baste during last hours of baking.

  2. I am needing a barbeque sauce for summer. I think southerners always make the best sauces. Have you ever tried making this in a crockpot? It seems like that might work.

  3. Carolina bbq sauce is my absolute favorite! I love the vinegar! Yum…and now I’m hungry.

  4. Just recently tried carolina bbq sauce and now I’m a convert! Love it, thanks for the recipe!

  5. Yum, that looks amazing! I’m going to have to try that recipe at our next bbq!
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Your pulled pork barbeque recipe looks so good. I use lots of different kinds of barbeque sauces. I think homemade is the best!!

  7. This seems so rich and flavorful!

  8. I crave awesome bbq now and then and this recipe looks so delicious. I cannot wait to try it. I have been tweaking my bbq recipe for some time now, but I have a feeling this one will be a home run. Thanks for sharing.

  9. I love pulled pork. I bet it tastes delicious!

  10. I have never thought about making my own BBQ sauce. I will have to try this some time. Thanks for sharing.

  11. This looks like a sauce my family would LOVE! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe — I’m definitely trying it!

  12. Im a sucker for anything BBQ! Looks fantastic!

  13. This sounds delicious, and nothing says summer like some good BBQ. Thanks for sharing!

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