North Carolina Pulled Pork BBQ


I have lived in North Carolina for all of my 29 years, until just over a month ago when I moved to Arizona for graduate school. I knew before I left that NC bbq would be the one food I missed the most. After moving here, I realized that the term “bbq” applied to all things cooked on a grill, while in NC it is synonymous with pulled pork dredged in an hot and vinegary sauce. I have been working on this crockpot version for several years now, and while it does not compare to a smoked pig, it comes just close enough to satisfy my bbq cravings.

I decided to introduce this deliciousness at a recent potluck with my new friends in Arizona who had never tasted NC bbq. I ordered my favorite sauce from North Carolina, however, it did not arrive in time due to poor customer service. This forced me to make my own bbq sauce, which I’ve also included the recipe for here. It turned out pretty close to what I prefer, but you may alter it depending on how sweet or hot you like your sauce. Pulled pork is often eaten as a sandwich, on a hamburger bun with coleslaw and a side of hushpuppies.


           for the pork

– 3-4lb pork shoulder roast (also called Boston Butt)
-2tbsp brown sugar
-2tbsp chili powder
-2tbsp paprika
-2tbsp garlic powder
-1tbsp salt
-1tbsp pepper
-1tbsp Liquid Smoke

for the sauce

-1 cup apple cider vinegar
-1 cup white vinegar
-2 tbsp brown sugar
-1 tbsp red pepper flakes
-1/4 cup hot sauce (Texas Pete or Frank’s Red Hot)
-1tbsp salt
-1tbsp pepper



  1. Mix together all dry ingredients for pork. Rub this all over the pork shoulder.
  2. Place into crockpot with the skin-side up. Drizzle liquid smoke over roast, cover, and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  3. In a small saucepan, mix together all sauce ingredients and simmer on medium-high until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove from heat and let it set for as long as possible. It is best to make it the day before, but if you can’t, make it when you put the roast on so it has a good 8+ hours to mingle the flavors.
  4. When the pork is done, pour out all of the liquid. Using two forks, shred the pork apart. You shouldn’t have to use much effort and it should fall apart easily. If your roast has a shoulder bone, be sure to remove that.
  5. With the shredded pork in the crockpot, add some of your sauce and mix well. Let this absorb the flavors for at least 30 minutes. You can use your crockpot’s “keep warm” setting. Serve the pork with extra sauce to drizzle on top.


*Note, this is not one of those recipes where you can half the time by cooking it on high. You cannot get fall-off-the-bone pork this way.

**Another side note–some crockpot aficionados are probably asking Where is the liquid? since this roast uses none. The pork will make it’s own liquid, as you can see in the photo above. Do not add any extra broth or water, or you will end up with soggy pork.


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