What’s Carolina Barbecue?

Barbecue is what you eat, not something you cook on

In the American South, little gets mouths watering more than the thought of some good, ol’ fashioned barbecue. But barbecue isn’t something you do (that’s called grillin’) or something you cook on (that’s called a grill or a smoker). Barbecue is what Southerners call pulled pork or beef but only when it’s done right.

That requires commitment and patience because it has to cook real slow and be basted regularly. Hardcore cooks will get up early in the morning to get the grills or smoker going so the pork can cook slowly for hours.

But here’s the thing: even that ain’t proper barbecue unless it’s either cooked or served with proper barbecue sauce.

…and that’s exactly where we run into trouble…

You see, Southerners disagree strongly over what constitutes proper sauce.

In East Carolina, they cook their pork for hours basting it with a sauce that’s mainly vinegar.

In Western Carolina, they tend to cook or serve their pork with a sauce that’s tomato, vinegar, and brown sugar based.

And in South Carolina, they always use a sauce that’s yellow mustard (not Colemans!) and vinegar based.

Regional loyalties to these barbecue sauces runs strong (though they’ll all come together to say that Kansas City barbecue sauce is not the real thing and Texas barbecue…well…it just ain’t right).

And they’ll also agree that you can’t serve barbecue (whatever the sauce) without having a proper cookout…inviting neighbors and friends around and serving it up with all the fixins: cole slaw, sweet corn, green beans, green salads, potato salad, hushpuppies, maybe some collard greens and brown beans too.

And it’s all even better with a band playing some good Southern music

Want to learn more about Carolina barbecue sauces? Watch this video:

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