North Carolina Pulled Chicken Barbecue Sauce

Pulled chicken sauce
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 32 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
13 Calories
0g Fat
2g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 32
Amount per serving
Calories 13
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 198mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 0g
Calcium 3mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Smoked and pulled chicken takes half the time of pulled pork and gives you the fixings for a great barbecue sandwich. This sauce finishes off barbecue chicken perfectly. It is thinner and less sweet than the usual bottled barbecue sauce, which follows the sticky sweet tradition of Kansas City barbecue sauce.

This barbecue sauce is in the Piedmont or Lexington dip tradition found on the western side of North Carolina. It includes ketchup, while the sauces used in the eastern part of the state stick with vinegar and spices with no tomato products added. While those vinegar sauces work well with pork and its natural sweetness, chicken has a blander flavor and the ketchup helps satisfy your taste buds.

Worcestershire sauce adds an additional flavor element to barbecue sauce, called umami. It gives depth and is thought to stimulate an entirely different taste receptor. The use of a bit of hot pepper sauce is also traditional for the Piedmont style. You can vary the amount to suit your tastes.


  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce

Steps to Make It

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

  2. Once the chicken is cooked, shred the chicken and add the sauce to coat it. You can vary the amount of barbecue sauce added to your taste.

If you are making the barbecue sauce ahead of time, place it into an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to one week after preparation. Storing it in a squeeze bottle can make it handy to use and keep out the air. It can be stored in the freezer for three to four months.

To assemble pulled chicken sandwiches, place a fist-sized portion of pulled chicken on a hamburger bun or hard roll. Top it with coleslaw or serve coleslaw on the side. You can also use this barbecue sauce when making the coleslaw, turning it into Carolina red slaw.

In addition to using with pulled chicken (or pulled pork), you can use this sauce as a finishing sauce on grilled or smoked chicken wings or chicken breasts. As it contains sugar, it will burn at temperatures above 265 F (103 C), so it should be used only with "low and slow" smoking or put on at the end of cooking time when you have reduced the temperature.

You may discover you like this less thick and less sweet type of barbecue sauce. You can use it as a dipping sauce for any barbecued meat. Put some on your next hamburger or even on a hot dog.