CHARLOTTE, N.C. – If you are still looking for a Christmas gift from North Carolina, barbecue sauce could be one of your best options.

What You Need To Know

  • In North Carolina, many businesses make and sell their own barbecue sauce

  • Customers can pick between Western Carolina style and Eastern Carolina style

  • Western style has ketchup and vinegar and Eastern style is vinegar-based

You can pick between Western Carolina style and Eastern Carolina style.

Red Bridges BBQ Lodge in Cleveland County, a barbecue joint that opened in 1946, sells Western Carolina style BBQ sauce.

Co-owner Natalie Ramsey calls it “Shelby Style.” The sauce has a ketchup and vinegar base.

“Everything to me is Shelby because we are so unique, and we do everything our own way,” Ramsey says. 

Natalie’s brother and Red Bridges BBQ Co-Owner, Chase Webb, says they have kept the traditions of the founders of the business: their grandparents.

“We still cook the BBQ the exact same way. We still make the sauce the exact same way,” Webb says.

Ramsey says customers really enjoy their sauce.

“I think because it has a thickness about it, it’s so good. It’s really good when it’s good and thick, dip your hush puppies in it,” Ramsey says.

The sauce is also in high demand.

“I’ve shipped it to Hawaii. I’ve shipped it to New Orleans today. We just shipped one [to] Oregon yesterday,” Ramsey says.

Western Carolina BBQ sauce is also the most popular at Mac’s Speed Shop in Charlotte.

Mac’s Speed Shop Assistant Culinary Director Brandon Sarkis says people also enjoy the Eastern Carolina BBQ sauce.

“People get really excited when they see we have our true Eastern Carolina barbecue, and they go for that, especially on pulled pork, which is very much a Carolina thing,” Sarkis says.

Sarkis, who says the vinegar-based sauce goes well with pork, chicken, and even seafood, shared most of the restaurant’s recipe with Spectrum News 1.

“I combine equal parts of white vinegar, cider vinegar, little bit of salt, little bit of pepper, little bit of crushed red pepper and a mystery seasoning. I can’t tell you what it is,” Sarkis says.

He added the Western style barbecue sauce goes well with ribs, brisket, and sausage.

However, it’s ultimately up to you.

“They really go with everything,” Sarkis says.

Both Sarkis and Ramsey agree the sauces make great Christmas gifts.

Other businesses selling barbecue sauce in North Carolina include; Ole Carolina Barbecue in Gastonia, Big Al’s BBQ in Raleigh, and Carolina Q Barbecue with several locations along the coast.