Need help with a BBQ sauce question

I’m at a pig roast about a year back. The ultimate in summer potluck fair, it’s seems to be kind of a traditional party up here in SE Alaska. As is usual with a potluck, all the arriving guests were bringing a dish to accompany the pork. A man, whom I know to be from the south, brought with him a quart mason jar of homemade BBQ sauce. This sauce was water thin and translucent with a slightly pink color (I assume from pepper flakes). The sauce tasted like vinegar, sugar, and spices but was addictively good. I was wondering if any southern dopers could help me in identifying the region/name for this style of BBQ sauce, and a recipe if someone has one.

North Carolina BBQ sauce is what it sounds like. This is one recipe among hundreds.

Thanks for the link CM. Simple and good, time to buy some vinegar

Red’s Backwoods BBQ used to sell that, among their other sauces. Wasn’t my favorite, but I loved their other sauces. I worked there for all of two weeks. I did learn how to properly cook pork ribs–so it wasn’t a total loss.

So what’s the straight dope on how to cook pork ribs? :slight_smile:

Be aware that there are two major schools of barbecue sauce in North Carolina: eastern-style and western-style. It sounds like what your friend brought was eastern-style: vinegar-based and spicy. Western style sauce is tomato-based and slightly thicker (although not as syrupy thick as most commercial bottled sauces like “KC Masterpiece”).

If you order some local-made BBQ sauce from NC, you may have to clarify which kind you want. That recipe that Cub Mistress posted the link to looks pretty good if you want to make your own eastern-style, though :cool:

Nitpick - Eastern North Carolina sauce. Barbecue like Og intented.

Western sauce is a tomato based monstrosity.

There are a couple of schools on this. This is what I do. The day before I cook, is cut the ribs into segments of two to three bones per slice. This just makes things much easier come eating time.

I then par-boil them for a couple of hours in a brine solution of about half a cylinder of salt per three gallons of water. I then remove the ribs, put them in a large bowl, cover them with tin foil and allow them to cool completely. I then refrigerate them overnight. DO NOT put them in the fridge right away, unless you like hot milk.

The next day, I start up the grill. I have a gas grill, which I turn into a wood smoker for ribs and chicken.[sup]1[/sup]

Prep your sauce. I like Allen & Son, but I can’t get it here, so I fix up a store bought sauce. I combine a store bought sauce with cider vinegar. 1:2 Sauce:vinegar. You want it thin, so the flavor penetrates, and it keeps the meat moist. I keep it near by, because I’ll be using it often.

When the grill is up to temperature (275-300º), using tongs, I carefully dip the ribs into the sauce, and place them on the grill. I turn them every seven to eight minutes, basing them with sauce each time (before and after turning). I allow them to cook for about two to two and a half hours. Make sure there is plenty of smoke. The smoke is what is heating the meat, since you are not cooking over direct heat.

When the ribs are done, because the were precooked a bit, and allowed to cook completely, the meat will literally melt in your mouth.

Warning: Do not cook near an open door or window, and wear an old shirt and hat while cooking. The smoke gets EVERYWHERE.

1 - How to turn your gas grill into a semi-decent wood smoker for under $5.00.[sup]2[/sup].

[li] Make sure your grill is a least 42" wide (# 1/2 Feet), with a minimum of three burners and a thermometer in the hood.[/li][li] Remove the grill plate from one side. I remove the rightmost grill plate, because I have a nice, large work space on the left hand side of my grill. Make sure you remove the grill plate BEFORE you turn on the grill.[/li][li] Put a cheap aluminum disposable roasting pan directly on the exposed burner.[/li][li] Place a mesquite (or your favorite smoking wood) CHUNK in the pan.[/li][li] Turn on the burner with the roasting pan on it only. Your target temperature is 275-300º.[/li]

2 - Cost of grill and wood not included.

South Carolina barbecue sauce. This is really good stuff. :slight_smile:

Maus, I really like the technique, but why so much turning and basting? Doesn’t opening your grill release too much of the heat/smoke? If you’re worried about there not being enough moisture, why not add a water pan?

That’s about the recipe I use. There are a million variations. I wouldn’t bother with two kinds of vineger - go with all cider.

Vineger, salt, pepper, cayenne flakes (like you shake on pizza) and either sugar or honey. I like to heat it up first, almost to a boil, then let it sit for a day or two.

Stone the heretic!

NC-style rules! I’m ecumenical enough to embrace both western and eastern forms of pig worship.

For a guy who spent 8 years in Columbia, SC, 4 years in Eastern NC and 3 years in Western NC, I am uniquely qualified to tell you that you’re dead wrong.

Maurice’s is an abomination! My personal favorite is a bare splash of homemade vinegar sauce on my home smoked pulled pork shoulder.

And Y’All call yourselves “The First to Go.”

Here’s a quick primer on southern BBQ sauce.

I’m originally from Kansas City, where we tend towards a thicker tomato-based peppery sauce (please don’t judge us by KC Masterpiece - no one there likes that crap). I’ve really grown to love a NC vinegar sauce on my pork butt though - that stuff is really really good.

I have no idea what Alabama thinks they’re doing, but I want no part of it.

Even there you must qualify yourself - South Carolina is the only state in the union to have THREE native kinds of sauce. I like 'em all, myself.

Mustard sauce is an abomination before the Lord. I think it says so in Leviticus somewhere. Maybe Numbers.

The object isn’t just to keep the meat moist, but to also get the sauce to penetrate the meat, not just coat it. The end result shouldn’t ribs with a coating of sauce, but moist ribs with a vinegary tang all the way through.

Also opening the grill every ten minutes allows you to keep an eye on the wood, and add more as needed.

Some may also say that I’ve managed to find a way to avoid yard and house work for four hours, but only a scoundrel would do something like that.

Hey, Maus, you ever been to Spoons? I knew the [now deceased] old man’s grand-daughter, and she told me a number of times I should get some when I was up that way. At the time she was very modest about it, and I had never heard of it. Had no idea it was a local institution.

Dry rub, smoke at low heat for five to six hours, finish on a grill with repeated light coatings of sauce during the cooking.

The boil-then smoke method works as well.

I prefer the taste of the smoke-then grill method, myself.

The proper trick is to slow cook them, and get the sauce to go into the meat. Fast cooking on the grill, followed by brushing on a thick layer of sauce is a no-no.

Mustard and brown sugar. Please, Sir, enlighten me about the other two. :slight_smile: