North Carolina BBQ Sauce


Shown on grilled pork country ribs

Scott’s BBQ in Goldsboro, North Carolina, where I was born, serves classic N.C.  style shredded pork BBQ.  And of course, with their signature vinegar-based sauce.  It’s so unlike the tomato-based, sweeter sauce we see here in Texas, where I have lived the last 40 years.  Though their BBQ sauce recipe is proprietary, this is my parents’ take on the sauce.  It’s real close to the real thing!  Of course their artful slow smoking of the pork has much to do with the success of their business.  Try it sometime on pulled pork!   Yummy!  🙂  Sometimes I make a 50:50 mixture of this sauce and my traditional tomato-based Texas style sauce.  That’s quite good as well for chicken and beef!  This sauce is Induction friendly.  This sauce requires no refrigeration.  Keeps forever on the pantry shelf.  🙂


2  c. cider vinegar

1-2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

½ tsp. coarse-ground black pepper

1 tsp. Mexican chili powder

½  tsp. salt

½ tsp. dry mustard powder


Mix all ingredients and fill a shaker bottle.  Will keep for ages in the fridge!  My parents poked a hole in the metal lid with an ice pic before placing on the bottle.  They would shake in onto their finely chopped smoked pork right at the table, in addition to what they basted on the meat during the smoking process.

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes about 2 cups, or 8 servings, each ¼ c. serving contains:

18 cals, 0.29g fat, 1.34g carbs, 0.34g fiber, 1 g NET CARBS, 0.21g protein, 152 mg. sodium


18 thoughts on “North Carolina BBQ Sauce

    1. This sauce does not need to be refrigerated at all. The vinegar preserves it on your pantry shelf. My mother kept it this way for over 50 years and none of us ever got sick from having done so. I make a batch and when it’s gone, I make another so it is in the pantry at all times. 🙂

  1. Thank you for the recipe. I grew up in Los Angeles and now live in Australia. I just had Scott’s BBQ Sauce for the first time but it is very expensive to buy here. The other recipes online are not as good.

    May I ask, what is Mexican Chili Powder? Is it like Tajin?

    1. Welcome to the site, Alex! I’m not familiar with Tajin, so I can’t compare. Mexican Chile Powder is just that, a powder made from a mixture (combo and amounts of each pepper is proprietary) of ground dried red chile peppers whose seeds were first removed. Most brands are a MIXTURE and not just one type of pepper. Typically, they use dried guajillo peppers (very mild), chiles de arbol (medium mild), cayenne, serrano peppers & dried ripe red jalapenos. Hatch and those higher on the scoville chart for heat are usually avoided. Usually only New Mexico chile powder is real “hot” with the well-known hottest varieties of peppers. It is not terribly “hot”, so I doubt you’d find a powder with habaneros in it. Nobody would buy it, LOL. The powders usually use peppers from the bottom half of this chart: Hope you’re able lto find either a good chile powder pre-mixed or can maybe find the dried peppers (they are sold in large bags in our grocery stores) and make up your own. Surely some company imports dried chile peppers if nobody grows/dries them in Australia. Hope you’re journey down this road is successful. I don’t believe I could live without chile powder in my spice rack. I usually add the very mild guajillo pepper to all my purchased powders as I really like the flavor of that one. 🙂 Happy cooking to you!

      1. Oh, I see. Then we too have the Chile-Lime product here, we just don’t call it Tajin. I would choose to use the regular McCormicks chile powder in this recipe if you have it on hand. But the Tajin will work if you’re out of your McCormicks. Sauce would be slightly different in flavor but not noticeably so. 🙂

      2. Thank you so much for the quick and thoughtful reply. I have found the chili powder that smells very similar to what I smell in Scott’s BBQ sauce. I just made a batch and will let it sit for a couple days. Looks and smells amazing. Thank you so much for this.

  2. I also am from Goldsboro NC! Miss home!! Loved Scott’s food and precious family! I now live in Ga and they don’t KNOW good bbq NC sauce and (hush puppies) I always keep NC bbq sauce on hand as I use it on bbq, tuna etc etc.
    My daughter makes it also, my granddaughter’s love NC sauce too.
    Thanks for posting.

    1. Hello fellow tar-heel! I’ve been riding out the quarantine for Covid-19 at my rural cabin property and just now back and seeing this message. We don’t have internet down there, so the blog has been hush since we left the city. Texas feels their numbers are such we felt safe coming back to the city. Will still be “staying at home” as we are in the high risk age group, but feel the “disease” isn’t so bad we have to isolate at our off-the-beaten-path cabin any longer. We even did some NC BBQ pork while down there! So good, this sauce!

  3. I too am from the Golsboro area and loved Scott’s BBQ sauce… Move to Florida in 1980 and have lived there ever since…..So I have been looking fro a recipe to make this. Thanks so much for posting….

    1. Well hello to a fellow Goldsboro tar-heel, my dear. This sauce is miraculous on grilled pork. My mother had a bottle of it made up 365 days a year in her pantry. 🙂

      1. I love this sauce too. I’ve been making it since I discovered the recipe a few years ago. I just finished whipping up a batch 10 mins ago. Thanks so much for posting it. Its my go-to for bbq and meats. I’m a huge fan!

      2. My Mom and I were born right around the area where this sauce originated (Goldsboro, NC). She wouldn’t have her BBQ pork any other way. She just hated TX style red BBQ sauce, no mater HOW good it was. And the hubs and I are in TX and he won’t have his BBQ with anything but a good red sauce. Makes it difficult, as chef, to be caught in the middle of such crises. 🙂

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