Recipe: BBQ Sauce for Pulled Pork

Contrary to what many people may think, a single BBQ sauce is not meant to be used on every kind of meat.  Of course, the primary factor is what you find tasty, but given the opportunity, most will prefer a certain style for beef brisket, chicken, and ribs (and sometimes that is the same sauce), but when it comes to pulled pork, most will notice a big difference in using a Memphis style vinegar based sauce (even if they tell you they don’t think they would like that).

Several years back, I found what I considered to be the perfect BBQ sauce for pulled pork: Blues Hog Tennessee Red.  Then I commenced to doing what I do – I had to try to reverse engineer to create my own from scratch!  Here is the recipe that will give you all of the goodness of their Tennessee Red sauce, but allow you to tweak to your own tastes in terms of tang, heat, sweet, etc.

  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 1/2 Tbs sugar
  • 1/2 Tbs ground black pepper – medium grind, not fine – do it fresh (always!)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground mace (the secret ingredient! This took me quite a while to figure out.)

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.  Heat over medium high heat until boiling, stirring or whisking frequently to prevent burning and to mix all ingredients well.  Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook until desired consistency – it will thicken a bit the longer you cook it, but in general it is meant to be a bit thinner than a traditional tomato based sauce.  Makes about 1 pint.

Jar it up and then splash some when pulling the pork to give it a hint of the sauce flavor, and serve on the side so folks can add more as they like.  Enjoy!


Philip Allen