If you are looking to serve up pulled pork, you likely want to know what sauces you can serve up with it. Something that compliments its smoky, savory flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture. Well, thankfully, there is only one type of sauce for it.
So, what are the best sauces for pulled pork? Well, in short, the best sauces for pulled pork are BBQ sauces (and certain variations thereof… Whether you prefer a traditional ketchup-based BBQ sauce, a mustard-based BBQ sauce, a vinegar and lemon BBQ sauce (Southern), or a mayonnaise-based sauce (Alabama), it is ultimately down to preference.
Pulled pork is usually served with BBQ sauce, but as the story goes–there are a lot of BBQ sauces!
And most of the ones you make yourself have a nicer, more subtle flavor than the ones you find in the local supermarket.
So with that said, below you’ll find a list of great BBQ sauces for pulled pork (all the variations mentioned above and more) and basic instructions for how to make them, as well as some tips for sauces to avoid.
- 1 The Best Sauces For Pulled Pork
- 2 What Types of Sauces Pair Best With Pulled Pork?
- 3 What Sauces To Avoid Serving With Pulled Pork
The Best Sauces For Pulled Pork
Best Odds Pulled Pork Table Sauce
This table sauce calls for apple cider vinegar, ketchup, yellow mustard, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt.
As BBQ sauces go, this one is ridiculously simple to make. You gather the ingredients, put them in a pot, and let them simmer till the sugar is dissolved, and that’s that.
Serve the sauce with your pulled pork and hopefully enjoy the satisfied grins around the table as people bite into their meals.
Homemade BBQ Sauce
Yes, I know. They’re all BBQ sauces. But some recipes simply have no special name. It’s just a BBQ sauce.
Anyway, the ingredients for this particular BBQ sauce are ketchup, molasses, garlic, mustard, sugar, cider vinegar, Tabasco or cayenne pepper (if desired), juice from pork, and Worcestershire sauce.
Now, what makes this sauce interesting is that after you’ve simmered the ingredients for about 45 minutes or so, you add some of the juice from the pork, which has been cooked in beer.
This recipe calls for the pork to be cooked in a slow cooker, but of course, you can make pulled pork and gather the juices without having a slow cooker at hand.
Big Daddy’s Carolina Style BBQ Sauce
If the previous recipe didn’t have much of a title, this one makes up for it!
This BBQ sauce differs in that it does not call for any kind of tomato sauce. The mustard is there, as usual, however. And in this case, it takes center stage.
The full list of ingredients includes yellow mustard, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cider vinegar, water, mild chili powder, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper (if desired), soy sauce, unsalted butter, and liquid hickory smoke.
Combine all ingredients, save the butter, soy sauce, and liquid smoke.
Simmer in a pot over low heat for about twenty minutes–occasionally stir to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
Add the remaining ingredients. Simmer for another ten minutes.
This is another BBQ sauce without an exciting name. But, BBQ sauce with any other name is still BBQ sauce. I’m sure Shakespeare would agree, though likely he never tasted it.
This recipe calls for ketchup, brown sugar, honey, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, hot sauce (if desired), salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Well, the actual recipe calls for something called Stone House Seasoning, which is, literally, salt, pepper, and garlic powder combined.
Combine the ingredients in a pan, bring to a boil, then let simmer over low heat for about ten minutes.
Memphis BBQ Sauce
This BBQ sauce may give you that little bit of a challenge you’ve been dreaming about when it comes to BBQ sauces.
That’s to say–it requires you to do more than combine all the ingredients in a bowl, bring to a boil, and let simmer. You need to apply yourself to things like pureeing onions and mincing garlic.
For this recipe, you’ll need ketchup, apple cider vinegar, water, pureed onion, minced garlic, butter, molasses, brown sugar, prepared mustard, mild chili powder, paprika, dried oregano and thyme, and salt.
Puree the onion and mince the garlic. Melt the butter. Add the onion. Sautée for two to three minutes, then add the garlic and cook till fragrant (15-20 secs).
Add the remaining ingredients, and save from the vinegar. Add the vinegar. Let simmer for about twelve to fifteen minutes. Remove from heat and cool for about 20 minutes.
Read more: What Is Memphis BBQ Sauce?
Carolina BBQ Sauce
Here comes another Carolina BBQ sauce! This one calls for ketchup, cider vinegar, dark brown sugar, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
You combine all the ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
Read more: What Is Carolina BBQ Sauce?
Southern Vinegar BBQ Sauce
This sauce is pretty unique in that it doesn’t contain either ketchup or mustard!
Apparently, it’s an old Southern recipe for BBQ sauce, though without the ingredients we commonly associate with BBQ sauce, it doesn’t seem like a BBQ sauce at all to the uninitiated.
Of course, for those of you who are from the South, you’ve probably tried this sauce plenty of times! For the rest of us, it can be a fun new recipe to try out.
So, what will you actually need to make this Southern BBQ sauce?
You’ll need butter, lemon, honey, Worcestershire sauce, white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
Melt the butter, then add the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and honey. Stir together and let simmer for about five minutes over medium heat.
After that, you remove the sauce from the heat and add the vinegar, little by little.
Wicker’s BBQ Sauce
This is a more traditional BBQ sauce (in the modern sense). It calls for apple cider vinegar, black pepper, salt, sugar, chili powder, dry mustard, paprika, and ground cumin.
Like most of the sauces on this list, it requires little work–you simply combine the ingredients in a pan and stir while cooking for 5-10 minutes till the sugar is dissolved.
Alabama White BBQ Sauce
You can’t really have a list of BBQ sauces without mentioning Alabama white BBQ sauce! It’s a classic. As with the Southern vinegar BBQ sauce, you might never have tried it, though, especially if you live outside the US!
So what’s in an Alabama white BBQ sauce? Mayonnaise, white vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
There are recipes that call for more ingredients.
For example, I’ve seen some that call for mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, mustard, horseradish, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
Read more: What Is White BBQ Sauce?
What Types of Sauces Pair Best With Pulled Pork?
Pulled pork pairs best with BBQ sauce (including best odds sauce). That much is clear. You can go for a best odds sauce, classic BBQ sauce, Carolina-style BBQ sauce, Southern vinegar BBQ sauce, or Alabama white BBQ sauce.
There isn’t really much doubt about the fact that BBQ sauce is the only traditional sauce served with pulled pork. How you like your BBQ sauce is another story altogether.
A traditional BBQ sauce tends to include ketchup in the recipe (or simply tomato sauce). Others have mustard as the main ingredient. All tend to contain vinegar in some shape or form.
A white Alabama BBQ sauce, on the other hand, is made with a mayonnaise base and is flavored with vinegar, mustard, and horseradish (most commonly–as you’ll see above, there are variations on a theme).
Then you have a Southern vinegar sauce that has a butter and vinegar base and is flavored with lemon and honey.
What Sauces To Avoid Serving With Pulled Pork
Pulled pork normally isn’t served with just ketchup and mustard, though both tend to feature heavily in the BBQ sauces it is generally served with. Likewise, hot sauce is an ingredient in many BBQ sauces, but you don’t serve pulled pork with hot sauce alone–then you’re likely better off with the ketchup and mustard!
While Alabama white BBQ sauce is made with a mayo base, you don’t tend to serve pulled pork with other mayo-based sauces, such as aioli, for example.
The aforementioned ketchup and mustard aren’t going to be in a train smash (after all); they are the main ingredients in many BBQ sauces). However, the hot sauce alone is likely going to be a tad overkill.
Asian sauces aren’t traditionally served with pulled pork, even though you often use them for BBQing other meats.
Check out my other pork-related sauce recommendations:
- Best Sauces For Pork Chops ⋆ 11 Perfect Pairings ⋆
- What Sauce Goes With Pork Belly? ⋆ 6 Ideal Combinations ⋆
Hi there. I’m Jeremy – a passionate food technologist with several decades in the food industry. With a love for sauces, food, and nutrition, I decided to create WeWantTheSauce. Here I share my experience, knowledge, and recommendations; from ingredients and recipes to storage all the way through to nutrition for every sauce imaginable.