Homemade Vinegar Barbecue Sauce Recipe

I live in North Carolina where pulled pork barbecue is King and anything besides vinegar barbecue would be just wrong. Here is my simple vinegar BBQ sauce recipe that you can whip together in minutes:

Vinegar BBQ Sauce ingredients list

  • 1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ¼ Cup of Brown Sugar
  • 1 ¼ Teaspoons of Salt
  • 1 ¼ Teaspoons of Cayenne
  • 1 ¼ Teaspoons of Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of  Worcestershire Sauce

Instructions on how to make a DIY sauce

Combine all ingredients in a container. In the video I use a mason jar with a cover. Once I have added them together, I shake it well so dry ingredients are dissolved. Let stand for a few hours to allow red pepper flakes to absorb their heat into the liquid.

For a regular size boston butt, this is usually enough. I will mix in half of the sauce with the pulled barbecue in a container and leave the other half so people can add more if they prefer.

How to make the best Carolina vinegar barbecue sauce


It’s time to go ahead and make the barbecue sauce. I like to make my own barbecue sauce. There’s nothing wrong with buying in-store brands or something online. It’s just a matter of, you know, I make my own rubs. I oftentimes like to do this as well. It doesn’t cost that much and it doesn’t take long at all. So it’s just as simple as, I start out with a mason jar. I like the way that they look and they give me a nice little way to be able to see the measurements on the side. It just makes it quick and easy.

I just start out with a store brand apple cider vinegar and by the way, I’m going to go ahead and put this recipe onto my YouTube channel so that you can go ahead and check it out. There’s not that many ingredients. Barbecue sauce does not have to be complicated. But there’s nothing that says you can’t doctor it up and make it your own as well. So I start out with about a cup of apple cider vinegar.

There we go, and then I want to go ahead and put in about a quarter cup of brown sugar. Now this is light brown sugar. Some people just don’t keep brown sugar around the house. There is nothing wrong with being able to go ahead and take white sugar and if you have some molasses, usually a little bit less than a teaspoon of molasses mixed in. That’s all that brown sugar is. It’s just molasses and white sugar, so if you don’t have this handy you can go ahead and easily make that up.

We go ahead and we just pop that right in there no problem at all. A few other ingredients that you have to remember is salt. Yeah, your vinegar barbecue sauce should have salt. G i go ahead and just put about a teaspoon or so of salt in there. Also go ahead and put a little bit over a teaspoon of cayenne pepper in there as well. It gives it a nice kick and again, if you don’t want it too hot you can go ahead and do a little bit less.

If you really want to spice it up, you go right ahead. The other thing I like to put in is red pepper flakes. Now keep in mind, you really should go ahead and try to make this particular barbecue sauce plenty of time ahead of time. I’ve got the pork butt on the kamado joe right now and it’s still coming up to temperature. I’m making it a few, probably about four hours before we’re serving it. Generally speaking, try to make it a day before because what happens is all these ingredients go together very nicely, but the red pepper flakes takes time for them to soak in and actually release a lot of their oils and such.

Again, it transfers that heat to your sauce so, just trying to do this a little bit ahead of time that’ll usually help you out. I usually do about a teaspoon and a quarter of the red pepper flakes as well. Two last ingredients and of course, I should have had them pulled out before I started this. Okay I’ll have to grab that other one. Worcestershire sauce, I know a lot of people don’t expect that, but it really gives a nice zing at the end of the sauce.

For me it just makes the whole thing. And this is, believe it or not, the cayenne, the red pepper flakes, they control heat. This controls the heat as well. If you’re looking for a really quick way to just be able to, you know, add a little bit more to it. Add a few extra drops of this, and it’ll change it dramatically.

I generally go with about a teaspoon of this. Mix it up, try the taste, see how I like it. But Worcestershire sauce, it lasts forever in your cabinets and it goes fantastic with this sauce. Now this is a pure vinegar based barbecue sauce. I’m in North Carolina. Almost by law, that’s what I’m supposed to make. However, there’s a lot of people who do like the tomato base. I personally like a mixture. Somewhere on almost halfway in between. I find it works well with brisket. I find it works well with pork as well.

Generally speaking, what I’ll do is I’ll generally start with a basic vinegar-based barbecue. I’ll see how I like it, see what other people are interested in and if others are interested, i will go ahead and just take a bottle of ketchup… because all you’re after is just the tomato base of it. I mean you can use tomato paste if you really wanted to. Not too much of it, but just to go ahead and change the consistency ever so slightly from almost a pure water to just a little bit more thickness to it without it actually turning into something that actually you go and pour and it takes time.

It really comes down to just what is your taste personally? I like about two or three teaspoons worth of ketchup into this mixture it’ll just give it that little bit of thickness. But it dramatically changes the the profile of it, so once I have all of these put together, I go ahead, I just put this top on which is again why I really like these mason jars. You mix it up now. This will keep in this jar for quite a while and you know, we’re going to go ahead and use it tonight. But I know that I’m going to have some left over. I stick it in the fridge, it’s so vinegar-based it’s really gonna go ahead and last for quite a while.

I make barbecue often. The one thing to keep in mind is you put a ton of sugar in here, make sure that you mix it up very well because otherwise the sugar will just hold on to the bottom. You think with all of this and mostly liquid you really need to go ahead and shake it up. That’s basically my homemade barbecue sauce recipe. I’m going to go ahead and drop that recipe into the YouTube video if you want to, go ahead and check it out. But I figured if I was going to go ahead and do the video today of me putting the pork onto the grill, I might as well just go ahead and make a quick video showing you the barbecue sauce as well. Okay, hey thanks a lot for checking in.