Carolina ribs with a vinegar based BBQ sauce are on the menu today. A Carolina bbq sauce guarantees excellent results in either the oven or smoker.
As I have a BBQ smoker, my preference is to cook my Carolina ribs in it to impart some extra, smoky flavor. We are using a vinegar based BBQ sauce recipe utilizing everyday ingredients as a marinade for the ribs. Then we cook them low and slow on the BBQ smoker. So very good and popular throughout the United States, BBQ smokers are now available in most countries around the world. It is a sheer joy for your nose as our North Carolina ribs slowly cook. Expectations and appetities rise the closer the finshing time approaches.
No problem if you don’t have a smoker, this recipe also works well in your oven with the addition of that wonderful ingredient, liquid smoke.
Surely one of the greatest culinary exports from the United States, barbecue is something all aspiring, outdoor cooks (Ok they are usually male) should conquer. As well, ribs and barbecue restaurants are springing up in many countries as the popularity of the different BBQ styles takes hold overseas.
Read on to find out how American barbecue styles are becoming so popular throughout the world.
People from all Over the World Enjoy Ribs Now
We have our cousins in the United States to thank for the different BBQ styles now so readily available for home cooks and to enjoy for an evening out at a BBQ restaurant. It was in the US where the low and slow method of cooking ribs was developed using marinades, dry rubs and finishing off with sauces. Vinegar based BBQ sauces are generally associated with North Carolina barbecue. We dive into the various regional types of BBQ sauce later in the post.
The availability of baby back ribs and the explosion of barbecue restaurants throughout the rest of the world is tantamount to the popularity of ribs. We see barbecue restaurants everywhere now throughout the United Kingdom, Australia, as well as in Asia and European countries like Romania where they adore pork.
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Many visitors to the United States would be aware of the great passion of professional and amateur cooks to produce the perfect ribs. There are many regional differences as to the rubs, marinades and finishing sauces Americans use for cooking ribs on the BBQ smoker.
North Carolina is a place we really enjoyed on our recent great American road trip throughout the American south and it was here we discovered the North Carolina BBQ trail. If you ever visit North Carolina, which I really encourage as there are many, great tourist options, make sure you visit a North Carolina barbecue restaurant. Those ribs will be sure to come with a vinegar based BBQ sauce. Then you will experience the passion of devotees to North Carolina ribs.
North Carolina Barbecue on the BBQ Trail
There are many theories going around as to the origins of barbecue. Popular thought is that the method of cooking low and slow over smoke was as a result of observing Native American tribes cooking meat slowly over fire pits.
As to ingredients, for the rubs, marinades and sauces, these slowly developed over time with many of the ingredients arriving with African American and later European migration. African Americans were also “the cooks” in many southern states, and later, northern states of the United States. So, over time, the use of ingredients popular in the south, spread throughout the United States. You can read more about this fascinating subject here.
But what is a Carolina barbecue? What sets it apart from Memphis style, Kansas style and Texas style? It’s the vinegar based barbecue sauce, short and simple. This excellent Time magazine article describes four different barbecue styles that compete for bragging rights as to being the best barbecue style in the country. North Carolina barbecue always includes a vinegar based BBQ sauce recipe and traditionally includes cooking a whole hog.
Luckily for us these days you don’t need to cook a whole hog, to enjoy North Carolina ribs. Some pork baby back ribs, available now in many countries, and a vinegar based BBQ sauce are the keys to success.
Carolina Ribs with Vinegar Based BBQ Sauce Recipe
It is important not to rush with this recipe. You do need to start the day before by preparing your vinegar based BBQ sauce, which we will use as a marinade. Allow the baby back ribs to take on all those wonderful flavors in the marinade over a 24-hour period. Less time is OK but the more time our Carolina ribs rest in the marinade the better. If I use the oven I add a little liquid smoke to my marinade to impart some excellent smoky flavor to my Carolina ribs.
Apporoximately one hour before cooking commences, remove the ribs from the refrigerator and prepare your woodchips and smoker, if you are using a BBQ smoker, or pre-heat the oven.
I cook my North Carolina ribs for 6 hours at a very low temperature of 220 f (105 c). Remember low and slow is the name of the game. So, my advice to you is not to plan to eat your North Carolina ribs too early. That is unless you are a very early riser in the morning!
For the smoker, you will also need about four cups of good smoking wood chips. Which are the best wood chips to use for the smoking the ribs? Try a mild wood chip such as- hickory, cherry or pecan wood chips for a smooth taste that won’t overpower the ribs.
I like to serve the Carolina ribs with coleslaw. I think the coleslaw is a wonderful balance against the vinegar based BBQ sauce.
Looking for some other recipes to cook in the smoker? How about easy barbecue brisket? Just perfect if you are looking to feed a crowd. And then, of course, there is always smoked turkey? Don’t wait for Thanksgiving or Christmas, you can enjoy turkey cooked in the smoker at any time of the year.