Carolina Cologne BBQ sauce on pulled pork – review

carolina cologne bbq sauce

Carolina Cologne is an Eastern North Carolina barbeque sauce from Jerry Roberts, who grew up in Nags Head, N.C. and now resides in Florida. This peppery, red colored, vinegar based sauce is a step above the usual thin vinegar and crushed red pepper table sauces that are prevalent in the Eastern region of North Carolina.

This sauce adds some body and flavor to what is traditionally a thin sauce. In a nutshell, it’s pretty damn good, and a big improvement over a traditional sauce.

carolina cologne sauce is medium thin
Medium thin sauce

We made some pulled pork sliders, made with our own smoked pork butt (simply seasoned). Served with cole slaw and baked beans, it’s a great outdoor picnic or early evening Summer meal.

pulled pork slider with slaw and beans
Pulled pork slider with slaw and baked beans

We also got to play with their “prototype” mustard-based sauce, not yet available. So you will see that sauce in our pics as well, but the details and availability of that sauce are still to be announced.

carolina and mustard sauces
Carolina and mustard styes…

Texture & Appearance: Rated 4 out of 5 Stars – Medium thin, great color.

carolina cologne closeup
Medium thin with spices

Taste Straight Up: Rated 5 out of 5 Stars – Sweet, tangy, spicy, heat… in that order. I could add vodka and make a Bloody Mary with this stuff! I think I will. Our highest rating for flavor. Remarkable.

Heat Level: Rated 2 out of 5 Stars – Just the right amount of heat. It doesn’t pretend to be any more or any less.

nice graphics
Simple, colorful graphics.

Label/Graphics/Packaging: Rated 5 out of 5 Stars – A really simple label, nice color in the font, with a pig in a “beach chair”. The sun shines behind him, and he’s in a “tux”. Yup, their slogan is “Dress up your pig with…”. Works for me.

carolina cologne flip top
The flip-top is amazing.

BONUS POINTS HERE… and this is important! The flip-top cap has a beautiful, slotted pour spout. The. Best. Cap. Ever. Hot sauce makers, take note of this design, and encourage your co-packers to offer it as an option. It rocks so much, we will be keeping it to fit onto other bottles in the future.

Overall Rating (Taste on Food, Final Thoughts): Rated 5 out of 5 Stars – The streak continues. This sauce is amazing on pulled pork. As a Maryland guy, I do like my red sauce, my sweet BBQ sauces, but love the vinegars and spices and peppers too. Carolina Cologne brings all that to the table, in a great package (12 ounces) at a great price… and there’s the flip-top. Winner, winner, piggie dinner!

pulled pork with cuke salad
Another version of pulled pork slider

Jerry has a few recipe suggestions for Carolina Cologne that just sound delicious.

  1. Use as a marinade – place chicken breasts or thighs, or even a rib-eye steak in a zip-lock bag, and pour some Carolina Cologne in. Marinate 2 hours or overnight. Grill as usual. Personally, I’ve always felt using a craft bottled sauce like this as a marinade is a waste of a good sauce, but that rib-eye marinade sounds enticing. And at their low prices for a bottle or even a case, well… that point is moot!
  2. When grilling pork chops, brush on some at the end for a nice glaze.
  3. Use as a kicked up salad dressing. Now that is a fine idea!
  4. Add to your usual Crabcake recipe for a different twist. Now THIS has my attention. (We WILL be trying this and reporting back).

Ingredients: Wait! I’m posting the ingredients last, but don’t let this extensive ingredient list scare you away. It’s basically vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, BBQ sauce, steak sauce and some spices. We have to print all the ingredients… it’s some kind of law or something. Here they are:

distilled vinegar, ketchup (tomato concentrate, high fructose corn syrup, distilled vinegar, corn syrup, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, natural flavors), light brown sugar, BBQ sauce (high fructose corn syrup, vinegar, tomato paste, water, apple cider vinegar, molasses, salt, modified corn starch, contains less than 2% natural hickory smoke flavor, mustard flour, dried garlic, spice, dried onions, paprika, caramel color), steak sauce (tomato paste, high fructose corn syrup, malt vinegar, white vinegar, salt, raisin concentrate, mustard flour, soybean oil, turmeric, spices, apple concentrate, guar gum, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate as preservative), caramel coloring, garlic powder, onion powder, natural flavors, black pepper, crushed red pepper.

Hopefully, this post inspires you to cook with and use some Eastern North Carolina sauce this weekend. Or at the very least, order some Carolina Cologne sauce for your next weekend cookout. You will not be sorry. I guarantee it!

Get two bottles, at least. It’s delicious and goes fast with a crowd! And Carolina Cologne has a great deal on a case at only $3 per bottle. Sweet!

Visit and tell them HotSauceDaily sent you.

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  1. I am so NOT a fan of the vinegar based sauces, but this one is tempered with tomato and sweetness, so it won me over!

    1. The Original is good on anything! I beleive you could smoke an ole boat shoe and it would be good with CC on it. We only use Hickory for smokin (just my preference) but Granddad liked persimmon also and the CC is his recipe with Brown sugar vice Molasses as the sweet agent to knock the bite down. The mustard is avalable now also and we even take Credit Cards now. A Rib Eye steak maninared in it is a whole new taste that will surprise you. I always do 4-6 boston butts at a time and smoke for 12 hr minimum. I like to put um on around 6 at night and wake to shread them. A cup of fresh coffee and a chunck of that outside bark is the best breakfast an man can ever have. Ording from the web will send me an e-mail and I would need name, address, zip and Credit card info.usually Fedex ground is 2-3 days. Phone is (904)566-5646. Brian says it all on the review.
      Jerry Roberts

      1. Thank you Jerry! Good to know folks can order direct from your site now. I’ll be running out soon myself. 🙂

  2. Here’s a secret — if you order through the web consider ordering a whole case (12 bottles). The shipping cost for a case is real close to what it is for a smaller amount and the per bottle price for a case is lower. Don’t worry about whether you’d like it — you will. And soon you’ll be ordering another.

    1. That’s good advice, Fred. Thanks for the comment. And I have to agree with you, it’s an addicting sauce!

  3. It is as good as advertised!!! Thanks for the recomendation. BBQ will never be the same for me after this sauce.

  4. This is a GREAT BBQ sauce indeed. Great review! Oh yea and great minds think alike, my wife Michelle uses this and only this for her spicy bloody Mary’s !!!!

  5. Jason Adams from Arneque BBQ out of Georgia competed in the Fernandina Beach Costal BBQ meet week before last and we’ve been FB friends for a good while, so I ran over to actually meet him and give him some of my sauce. He tasted the original North Carolina vinegar based sauce and instantly said he was using it for his loin competition with a little modification and low and behold he took 2nd place for Loins! I was really happy for him and reinforced by this competitor, that we had a good product.

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