The Tastes of USA BBQ: Carolina Style BBQ


The Tastes of USA BBQ: Carolina Style BBQ

Table of Contents

Today in our Tastes of USA BBQ series we are going to talk about Carolina where they are also notorious for delicious BBQ. Carolina has two regions of North Carolina and South Carolina that offer different styles and methods on how they barbecue. In today’s blog post, we will highlight Carolina barbecue recipes with a delicious South Carolina BBQ sauce that differs from the traditional tomato-based sauces we have been covering. This sauce is great for our two featured recipes of Carolina style ribs and a pulled chicken sandwich.

Carolina Barbecue Sauce Recipe

This sweet and zesty mustard-based barbecue sauce is an amazing take of the South Carolina style! Ingredients:


  • One cup of yellow mustard sauce
  • Half cup of sugar
  • One-fourth of a cup of brown sugar
  • Three-fourths of a cup of cider vinegar
  • One-fourth of a cup of water
  • Two tables spoons of chili powder
  • One teaspoon of salt and black pepper
  • One-fourth of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • Half a teaspoon of soy sauce
  • Two tablespoons of butter
  • One tablespoon of liquid smoke (hickory flavoring)


  • Mix all the ingredients above in a pot excluding the soy, butter and liquid smoke.
  • Heat the pot to a boil and then adjust to a low heat for a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Stir the remaining soy, butter and liquid smoke and cook for an additional 10 minutes. When finished cooking; refrigerate the sauce overnight to allow the flavors to blend and then it is ready for use!
  • When finished cooking; refrigerate the sauce overnight to allow the flavors to blend and then it is ready for use!

Carolina Style Barbecue Ribs


  • Two portions of pork ribs (3 pounds each)
  • Step 1 – When you open the packaging make sure to rise and dry the rips. Then place the ribs on the cutting board and remove the membrane from the ribs. Finally, clean them off by cutting off excess fat. Then marinate the ribs in the BBQ sauce that we made above for around half an hour.Step 2– Prepare your charcoal grill by using hickory and charcoal. You want your charcoal grill to be at least 250 degrees F. Cook ribs meat side down for 2 hours and then turn them on the other side and cook for another hour or so until the ribs can easily bend or they can be easily pierced by a fork. Make sure to keep on brushing Carolina BBQ sauce every half hour while they are cooking.
  • Step 3 – Separate ribs into serving portion, add some bbq or hot sauce, and enjoy!

Barbecue Pulled Chicken

Here is a very tasty chicken recipe that mixes very well with the South Carolina BBQ Sauce!


  • 2 pounds of chicken thighs (boneless and skinless)
  • Two tablespoons of dark brown sugar
  • One teaspoon of paprika/salt/pepper
  • One teaspoon of ground ginger/chipotle chili pepper/cumin
  • Step 1 – Mix seasoning listed above in a bowl.
  • Step 2 – Cut the two pounds of chicken in large cubes and mix them around in the seasoning bowl.
  • Step 3 – Put the chicken in a slow cooker and slow cook the chicken for 5 to 6 hours; until meat could be easily pierce by a fork.
  • Step 4 – Shred chicken by separating the meat with two forks and pull away or use our new Cave Tools meat shredder forks.
  • Step 5 – Mix chicken with Carolina style BBQ sauce and put the meat on a toasted sesame seed bun put with coleslaw and enjoy!

That concludes our tour for The Tastes of USA BBQ. If you’re tired of your usual pork shoulder and Boston butt, or pulled pork sandwiches, try out these easy recipes. In our Tastes Of BBQ series we’ve covered Texas and Memphis, Southern regions and Florida, but we hope this guide will inspire you to try something new. If you have any more tips on the North Carolina-style BBQ, leave them in the comments below!

Thanks for tuning in to discover each flavor of popular barbecue in the United States.

If you missed our first stop; check out where this all began… in Kansas City!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Carolina style BBQ sauce?

You’ll find more vinegar and mustard in Carolina style BBQ sauce. Those ingredients are found in other types of barbecue sauce, but the amount of them makes Carolina style different from the heavy ketchup and molasses-forward barbecue sauces found in other regions.

What is South Carolina style BBQ?

South Carolina is specifically credited with doing whole-hog barbecue. There are many places that do pulled pork, but you’ll often find the whole hog on the smoker in most South Carolina barbecue establishments. They’re cooked with a vinegar mop sauce and a heavy mustard BBQ sauce.

Does North Carolina have a specific BBQ style?

Unlike South Carolina’s mustard and vinegar sauce, North Carolina (specifically Piedmont or Lexington) uses a red sauce. It’s a ketchup based sauce that uses vinegar, peppers, and other spices to give it a unique spin.

How do you cook Carolina BBQ?

Unless you’re going for whole-hog barbecue, you can cook your pulled pork using a pork shoulder like normal. The seasonings are detailed earlier in this article, along with a classic barbecue sauce that will make your pulled pork sandwiches taste super authentic.

What are the different styles of Carolina BBQ sauce?

In eastern North Carolina, you’ll find a spicy, vinegary sauce that is generally used as a mop for cooking pork. For Piedmont or Lexington-Style sauces, they start with ketchup as the base and add vinegar, peppers, and spices. Finally, South Carolina-style sauces are primarily made with mustard and rarely contain ketchup at all.

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