, Newburyport, MA


August 14, 2013

Mastering true North Carolina-style barbecue


The sauce is simple to make, but the effect is anything but simple. It cuts through the richness of the smoked meat and enhances it rather than cover it up like heavier barbecue sauces can. When I take the time and the passion to barbecue, I want to taste the meat, not the sauce. This is the beauty of a North Carolina vinegar sauce; it doesn’t cover up the silky, smoky, caramelized pork that is the star of the sandwich.

You can make the sauce and the slaw while the pork is cooking, or you can make them the day before. The key to great North Carolina-style barbecue is being patient. There isn’t a fancy rub or a mop or a lot of tending to do. Cook the pork over a consistent, indirect heat until it reaches an internal temperature of about 195 degrees. That is a higher temperature than most books will tell you, but that is the necessary temperature to make all of the connective tissues break down. The meat becomes so tender that all you need to pull it is two forks. I’m old-fashioned and never use a cleaver. That’s chopped pork, and that’s a whole other thing entirely!


Start to finish: 6 hours

Servings: 10

Hickory wood chips, soaked in water for 30 minutes

7- to 9-pound bone-in pork butt or Boston Butt

Olive oil

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Barbecue sauce (see recipe below)

North Carolina coleslaw (see recipe below)

10 unseeded hamburger buns

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for low heat, indirect cooking. For a charcoal grill, this means banking the coals to one side. For a gas grill, turn off the heat on one side. Aim to maintain a temperature of 300 degrees.

Do not trim any excess fat off the pork; this fat will naturally baste the meat and keep it moist during the long cooking time. Brush the pork with a thin coating of olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside on a clean tray until ready to cook.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Special Features
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest 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: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Special Features