Carolina Sunshine Tangy: Western North Carolina Bar-B-Que Sauce (4/5)

Here’s an excerpt of the story from Carolina Sunshine’s website:

… that “Secret Sauce”. That’s what we’ve got here. It has started fights, though thankfully I truly don’t recall anyone ever being killed. Oh, there have been spies, and marriage proposals, offers of luxury items and favors, but I am proud to say they all have come to no avail. A “secret” is a secret after all… The sauce was generally just called “the sauce”. But over time there has been pressure to name it. I imagine some of those names might even have helped start some of those fights, but a real name had never been put to it. That is until I figured out where it was born and found an old song that said it all… I’ve learned over the years you can leave North Carolina but you’ll always be trying to get back. “Makes no difference where I wander, any place I chance to roam. When the golden sun sinks in the West, then I think of home.”    As for that “Secret Sauce”, it has to be called Carolina Sunshine Bar B Q Sauce. It’s still a secret; and a GOOD ONE! Probably “the best sauce you’ve never had.

Now, there’s quite a story!    Let’s get on with the review shall we?


The first whiff is a strong apple-cider vinegary kick in the nose.


The sauce is on the thin side.  A bit watery but still sticky.  It certainly didn’t drop off my finger after dipping it into the bottle of sauce, which is usually a good indicator of how it will stick to meats.  It had lots of pepper specks in it, which is always a good sign of something produced in small batches with care versus a mass marketed sauce produced in giant vats.


All good stuff used here, no HFCS and no multi-syllabic chemicals.

Taste Before Cooking

Tasty and a bit tangy – almost like a spicy bloody mary with vinegar. A strong hint of peppers, brown sugar, onion.  Nice amount of heat.  You can taste the apple cider vinegar  and it’s just enough to add flavor without overwhelming things.

Taste After Cooking

The flavor soothes out and balances.  It loses a bit of the apple cider oomph but retains a great slightly sweet peppery flavor.  Great flavor, mild but tingles lips.  It made my chicken taste great but I’m guessing it would be even better on pulled pork.

After Sauce Application

Ahh. A Little Crispy.

Bottom Line

It’s a nice product.  I expected a little more KC style out of it as it said Western North Carolina style on the front of the label.  The amount of vinegar flavor in the sauce and it’s viscosity surprised me a bit as I was expecting a little bit sweeter and thicker.   All in all, I think it does a great job blending the two dominant North Carolina style BBQ Sauces together into one – the sweet from the west, and the tangy from the east.   I think they could call that out somewhere on the label so that expectations match reality… call it Middle of Carolina 🙂     That said, I’m seriously going to have to try this in my next Bloody Mary.

To find out more, please check out their Website and Facebook pages.

Thanks, Brian

Site Editor, BBQ Sauce Lover, Family Guy, Hi Tech Marketer by Day. He recently wrote the Ebook “How to Market Your BBQ Sauce” which can be purchased on this site.



  1. George Foley says

    “Piedmont” it is! ….and OH SO GOOD !

  2. Thanks for the comment George, I like that name – Piedmont!

  3. Tim Foley says

    Great review … reviewers always have to have something negative or at least semi-negative to say. I look forward to the warmer weather coming up here in piedmont NC to fix BBQ for our friends on teh back patio. Keep up the good work.

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