North Carolina Style Pulled Pork Sandwiches

First things first – let’s not talk about the Steelers game last night. Ok, moving right along…

When I first moved to Raleigh (just over 5 years ago!), I thought I pretty much had a grasp on what barbecue was. If you asked 2008 Ashley about barbecue, she would have told you that it was grilled meat, topped with a brown, smoky sweet sauce. Boom, done. She also would have told you that she wasn’t a huge fan of it, because barbecue sauce is kind of gross. Ok, time to stop talking in the third person now.

Anyway, after I moved to this interesting little state of North Carolina, I started hearing things about “North Carolina style barbecue”, which has a vinegar based sauce, instead of the traditional brown barbecue sauce. I steered clear of the North Carolina style barbecue for about a year, because, call me crazy, but I didn’t think that vinegar sauce sounded any better than the brown stuff. But then, one day at work, lunch was catered by a barbecue place, and I didn’t have much of a choice – vinegar soaked meat on a bun was on its way to my taste buds.

That’s the day that everything changed, my friends. I took one bite and realized that North Carolina style barbecue is insanely delicious, and now I basically want it all the time. One of my favorite things to do is make my favorite restaurant recipes at home, so I finally got around to making my own North Carolina style pulled pork sandwiches, and I’m happy to say that they did not disappoint.

So, take my advice, guys – if you’ve never had North Carolina barbecue before, don’t wait a year to have it. Make it immediately, and bask in the deliciousness that is vinegar soaked meat on a soft sesame seed bun. You won’t be sorry.

Printable Recipe

2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp pepper
1 pork shoulder (5 pounds), patted dry
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup of ketchup
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp ground mustard
1 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Hamburger buns

Combine the salt, garlic powder, and pepper in a small bowl.

Rub the spice mixture over the pork and set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, ground mustard, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Place the pork in the crock pot, and pour 2/3 of the sauce over it. Cook on high for 4-5 hours, until the pork is tender and fully cooked.

Place the pork on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet with a lip, until cool enough to handle. While the pork is cooling, reheat the remaining sauce until warm.

Shred the pork, and place in a large bowl.

Pour the remaining sauce over the shredded pork, and stir.

Toast the hamburger buns, top with the shredded pork, and enjoy!

Adapted from Bobby Deen

  • rhianna brooke
    September 17, 2013

    I’m going to have to try out this recipe this fall! Like you, I had no clue what barbecue could really be until I moved to NC and now I love it. So good.

  • LuluG
    September 17, 2013

    That looks so good!

    Louisa @ My Family & Abruzzo

  • Erin LFF
    September 17, 2013

    I won’t talk about the game either, promise….


    This looks delicious, per usual! I hope it’s cool that I pin EVERY one of your recipes haha!

  • Life with Amberly
    September 17, 2013

    Yum!!! That sandwich looks delicious! I wish I could pull it out of the computer and eat it for lunch!!!

  • Tami
    September 17, 2013

    I prefer the sweeter BBQ, but my man LOVES Carolina style! This literally made my mouth water. Must be dinner time.

  • Lix Hewett
    September 17, 2013

    Um, maybe it’s because I’m hungry but that looks delicious. *__*

    – Lix | A Classic Notion

  • Katie
    September 18, 2013

    Found you from Sami’s blog – so excited to “meet” another Raleigh blogger! We’ve lived in NC for the past 7 years, and I although my family loves it, I am not a fan of NC barbecue. I tried Texas beef barbecue a few months ago…and that might be my favorite!

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

If you agree to these terms, please click here.

CommentLuv badge