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Western North Carolina BBQ

If you grew up in Western North Carolina, you like a little tomato in your sauce. Read on for more tips on Western North Carolina style barbeque.


Whole Pork Shoulder. Similar to Eastern North Carolina, the choice of pork barbeque is tied to availability. North Carolina ranks #3 in the nation for hog and pig farms. As you move west, however, locals are more likely to favor a pork shoulder to the whole pig.

Cooking Tips

Western North Carolina BBQ is smoked over indirect heat for about 10-12 hours (for a large, 15-20 pound pork shoulder) at 225-300 degrees. The wood of choice is peach, hickory or other easy-to-find local varieties. Traditional pits are built with cinder block with the fire under a rack, placed close enough to capture the heat without direct contact. Some pitmasters place cardboard above the meat to keep the ashes off the meat.

One the meat has set they mop it with a straight vinegar or vinegar and spice blend to keep the pork moist. They serve the tomato based sauce on the side as a finishing sauce, as opposed to basting the meat with it. Like their eastern neighbors, these barbeque lovers do a rough chop on the meat before serving it on a sandwich or BBQ plate.


Similar to the barbeque sauce recipes from their neighbors to the east, Western North Carolina Barbeque is vinegar forward and also includes a variety of spices. It is not surprising that Apple Cider Vinegar is a staple in this sauce with the abundance of local apples in the state. In contrast, however, is the addition of some form of tomato sauce. Western North Carolina BBQ recipes usually include either fresh tomato sauce, tomato paste, ketchup or tomato jam. With a lower fat ratio in the pork shoulder (compared to the whole hog), this sauce needs less vinegar to cut the fat. That, combined with the addition of tomato sauce make it a bit thicker of a pour.
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Great Western North Carolina BBQ Restaurants

Buxton Hall BBQ


Lexington bbq


Known for the simplicity of the cooking techniques and the addition of tomato to their sauce.

CHARLIE MCKENNA founder – chef – 2x world bbq champion

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