Vinegar BBQ Mop Sauce – a Carolina-style pork dressing
This tangy vinegar BBQ mop sauce does something magical when added to pork. Here’s how to create your own BBQ sorcery:
It’s widely recognised that there are several regional styles of barbecue sauce around the United States. Texas, Kansas City, Eastern North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and arguably some lesser known spinoffs too. The main difference being their use, or omission, of ketchup, mustard, vinegar, sweet notes, or in Alabama’s case, mayonnaise.
And that’s not even including the new school of sauces with whacky ingredients like pickle juice and coffee… As barbecue styles continue to permeate state lines, the hallmarks that once delineated regional variations are slowly being blurred, with many BBQ joints offering 2-3 different sauce options, some places giving their customers a choice of six or more!
In some ways, it’s blasphemous of me to generically refer to this recipe as “Carolina-style”, since the region has at least three internal variations. But, it’s also common and accepted nomenclature, so let’s just roll with it, yes? The point is, whatever you decide to call it, it really is a magical addition to pulled and chopped pork.
I consider this Eastern North Carolina version closer to a dressing, mop or a french dip in consistency, as opposed to a sauce. In fact, I’m a fan of using both this dip and sauce in a pulled pork sandwich – the dip works to subtly flavor the pork and keep it moist, while the sauce can be added in moderation on top, so the sweetness isn’t overpowering.
Carolina-Style Vinegar BBQ Mop Sauce
The inclusion of oil (and for that matter, mustard) in this recipe is unusual, but helps coat the meat and keep it moist.
- 1 c cider vinegar
- 1/2 c hot water
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp mustard powder
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
Place brown sugar and hot water in a non-reactive bowl, and stir well until dissolved.
Add all other ingredients and stir to combine.
Apply liberally to chopped or pulled pork and mix through. Refrigerate for up to one week.
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Kinda sweet, a little savory and sorta spicy, pepper jelly is a great all round condiment to keep in the fridge.