Just as I promised last week, here’s an easy and inexpensive gift to share with the foodie on your Christmas list! Eastern North Carolina style sauce isn’t readily available in most chain grocery stores; in fact, unless you have roots in Tidewater/Greater Appalachia or frequent soul food restaurants, I’d bet that you’ve never enjoyed this simple bbq sauce before! It’s a great way to share a taste of a different culture with someone who truly appreciates traditional, regional cooking. And the fact it’s finished in under 10 minutes, that’s a real gift too!
If you travel America (or just really enjoy eating!), you’ll find each region has it’s unique sauce for topping smoked or grilled meats. Just as our culture evolved based on immigration, climate and the availability of resources, so did our food. South Carolina has it’s mustard-based sauce, Alabama it’s mayo-based white bbq sauce, Kansas bbq is thick and tangy, Texas bbq sauce is more akin to a thin glaze. Many of them are cloyingly sweet, tomato-based and laden with carbs, but eastern Carolina-style is completely different than anything you’ll find in any steak house.
Brought to the southern East Coast by way of the Caribbean, it’s the original bbq sauce! This vinegar-based sauce has very little sugar and is slightly spicy with an acidic kick that cuts through the smokiness of a pile of pulled pork. It’s extremely thin, great for mopping as it doesn’t burn under heat and doesn’t mask the flavor of bbq under a thick, sugary sauce. But don’t stop with bbq…Carolina-style sauce tastes amazing on beans, potatoes, eggs, soups, stews and a hundred other dishes. My sweet Petunia douses her collard greens with it and I have to admit it’s pretty doggone tasty that way too! In fact, I don’t think I’ve eaten any dish that Carolina sauce didn’t improve! Admittedly, it’s not for sissies. It’s spicy, pungent, tart and salty all at the same time, but what it can do to a simple meat or veggie is just amazing!
So are you intrigued enough to try it? All you need is a few, very basic ingredients!
Eastern Carolina-style BBQ Sauce
2 cups of apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons hot sauce (we use Texas Pete’s)
2 tablespoons sugar (white or light brown sugar or even honey)
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons finely ground black pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan, bring to a quick boil to dissolve the sugar and remove from heat. Allow the sauce to cool then transfer to a covered container and refrigerate for several days before using. As a total bonus, this sauce can be poured into Mason jars, sealed with a 2-piece lid and water-bathed for 10 minutes to be shelf stable and easier to gift…but I wouldn’t leave it on the shelf too long. I store mine in a pba-free condiment bottle in the fridge as the acid in this sauce will eat straight through a metal lid!
Come back next week as I’ve got a great South Carolina mustard-based sauce that will make a great gift as well! Til then!
Posted to Homestead Blog Hop!