Grilled pork bbq ribs served with marinated onions. cherry tomatoes. basil and barbeque sauce on wooden cutting board over dark brown texture background. Top view. flat lay. (Photo by: Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
What Makes East Carolina-Style Sauce The Go-To For BBQ Lovers?
By Nick Johnson
Barbecuing is an art in America, which is why there is a lengthy list of regional barbecue styles like Alabama’s mayonnaise-based white sauce, South Carolina’s mustard-based Carolina Gold sauce, Central Texas’ love for simple seasoning, and Kansas City’s sweet barbecue sauce. However, for many barbecue lovers, the quintessential sauce comes from the eastern side of the Carolinas.
In an interview with Food & Wine, the James Beard Award-winning pitmaster, Rodney Scott, explains that East Carolina’s pungent, liquidy sauce is the perfect pairing for pork, as it’s generously applied to the rich and fatty meat before and after its time in the pit. Whole pig roasts are the chosen barbecue method in the eastern Carolina region, so East Carolina’s vinegar-based barbecue sauce is the obvious choice for cooks.
The origins of East Carolina’s vinegar-based sauce can be traced back to the earliest barbecue sauces in American history, inspired by the prevalence of citrus in African cuisine. As lemons and limes were hard to come by, vinegar became the choice acid for a sauce base, and it wasn’t until later that tomatoes and other sweeteners started to work their way into the recipes.