NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Breaking News

PortWatch

August 14, 2013

Mastering true North Carolina-style barbecue

This is the dish that started my love affair with grilling and barbecue! North Carolina-style pulled pork!

Because when I moved away from my home state of North Carolina, I realized that I was going to have to teach myself to make pulled pork or only enjoy it once a year when I went home to visit.

In North Carolina, barbecue is a noun, and it is defined as pulled pork with a distinctive tangy vinegar sauce or “dip,” as it is called in some parts of the state. No sweet tomato sauce allowed! The pork is either “pulled” into pieces or chopped with a meat cleaver, and dressed with the thin, peppery sauce. The succulent pork is spooned onto a plate or on a classic white hamburger bun — no sesame seeds, ever! — and topped with slaw. And the slaw is as straightforward as the pork — chopped green cabbage tossed with the same vinegar sauce.

The first time that I made it, I cooked a couple of pork butts on a gas grill using indirect heat and a low temperature. A couple of soaked hickory wood chunks scented the meat, and I cooked the butts until the fat was completely rendered and the top resembled cracklins.

I also improvised and created my own vinegar dip to sauce the pork as I pulled it. I had no idea what the proportions were, and I literally made it by taste memory.

Apple-cider vinegar was the base, and a touch of ketchup sweetened and colored the sauce that was hot with three kinds of pepper — black, white and red pepper flakes. The flakes are the sign of authentic North Carolina dressed pork, as they stick to the meat and pepper it with mild heat and red color. White sugar and kosher salt balance the heat and the tang of the vinegar. Dark brown sugar adds a depth of flavor.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Special Features
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
Special Features