North Carolina-Style Barbecue

  • Yield 15 servings

In eastern North Carolina, the whole hog is slowly smoke-roasted, then served with a vinegar-based sauce. In this recipe, we get low and slow with a Boston butt.

High Cotton Food Styling & Photography


1 -- (5- to 7-pound) Boston butt pork roast
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
6 cups hickory wood chips, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
Eastern North Carolina-Style Barbecue Sauce:
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon hot sauce


  1. Remove pork from refrigerator 1 hour before cooking. Set up grill for indirect cooking. Oil grate.
  2. Mix paprika, brown sugar, salt, black and white peppers, garlic powder, and mustard. Rub all over pork.
  3. Put 1 cup wood chips in tour gas grill’s smoker box or sprinkle over the charcoal. Cover grill until smoke appears from vents. Put pork on grill away from heat, cover, and turn gas burners to low or, for charcoal, close vents almost completely. Every hour, add more chips and, for charcoal, about 10 briquettes. Your grill’s temperature should be about 275F to 300F. Cook until pork registers 175F to 180F on an instant-read meat thermometer. This will take 4 to 7 house. The longer it takes, the better the smoker flavor, so don’t hurry it up.
  4. To prepare sauce, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Use immediately or store in an airtight container, where it will keep up to 2 months at room temperature.
  5. Let pork rest 20 minutes. Remove any skin and excess fat. Pull off meat in chunks. The browned outside meat is considered a prize. Chop or shred meat, then add 1 cup sauce, tossing with your hands. Serve with remaining sauce on the side.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Fred Thompson's Barbecue Nation: 350 Hot-Off-the-Grill, Tried-and-True Recipes from America's Backyard (Taunton Press, 2007).



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