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!

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