North Carolina ribs with a vinegar based BBQ sauce are on the menu today. Having access to a BBQ smoker, my preference is to use it to impart some extra, smoky flavor. But you can also achieve excellent results in the oven. Both options are listed in the recipe.
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. It is sheer joy for your nose as our North Carolina ribs slowly cook away. Expectations and appetites rise the closer the finishing time approaches.
So very good and popular throughout the United States, BBQ smokers are now available in most countries around the world. As well, ribs and barbecue restaurants are springing up in these locations.
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.
People from all Over the World Enjoy Ribs Now
We have our cousins in the United States to thank for developing the low and slow method of cooking ribs using marinades, dry rubs and finishing off with sauces.
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.
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 BBQ restaurant. Then you will experience the passion of devotees to North Carolina ribs.
North Carolina 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 the time, the use of these ingredients spread throughout the United States. You can read more about this fascinating subject here.
But what is a North Carolina barbecue recipe? 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 these barbecue styles. 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 baby back ribs, available now in many countries and a vinegar BBQ sauce are the keys to success.
North Carolina Ribs with Vinegar Based BBQ Sauce Recipe
It is important not to rush with this recipe. You need to start the day before. Prepare the vinegar based barbecue sauce, which we will use as a marinade. Allow the baby back ribs to take on all those wonderful flavors over a 24-hour period. Less is OK but the more time the better.
Then an 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. If I use the oven I add a little liquid smoke to my marinade.
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!
You will also need about 4 cups of good smoker wood chips. Apple wood and mesquite are good options.
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 roast turkey? So good to enjoy at any time of the year.