Guest Post by Debi Morgan
North Carolina is a beautiful and diverse state, stretching from the tallest peak of the Appalachian Mountains to the rugged coast of the Outer Banks. It takes less than 9 hours to drive from one end to the other. Yet you will find a unique blend of folks in every direction and a wide variety of famous food along the way.
History of Barbecue
As a Carolina girl born and raised in the Blue Ridge mountains, I’m excited to share that North Carolina is the birthplace of pork barbecue!
Most people are surprised to learn that we’ve been serving up whole hogs since way back in the 1800s. Although pig pickins’ came around much later, the first hog killings were a matter of survival for North Carolinians.
Families gathered to prepare and preserve pork to sustain them through the winter months. Cooking pork in huge cast-iron kettles over wood fires produced the original barbecue meals. Can you imagine how delicious the pork tasted as they pulled it out of those giant kettles for the first time?
What is Pulled Pork?
Pulled pork is cooked low and slow until the meat can be easily pulled off the bone with forks or fingers. There are many ways to prepare pulled pork, including smoking it for hours, cooking it in a large dutch oven, or using the sous vide method.
Once the meat has been cooked to perfection, pulling it away from the bone is the fun part. Using two forks is the easiest way to get in there. But I’ve seen many pitmasters use gloved hands (which is best left to the professionals).
In some areas, folks take an extra step and chop the pork into chunks or small pieces, but that’s often called ‘shredding’ the meat. Eastern pitmasters believe in cooking the whole hog. While many in the western part of the state prefer pulling pork from the pork shoulder. No matter how you do it, pulled pork is a delicacy and definitely a North Carolina favorite.
History of North Carolina BBQ
As far back as I can remember, there’s been a ‘cue’ war (of sorts) about how a pig should be cooked and what type of sauce tastes best. You can’t be in North Carolina long without learning about the ongoing disagreement between east versus west.
Eastern folks love their sauce made with vinegar, pepper, and salt. While folks living in Western N.C. like to add ketchup and sugar to the mix.
I grew up with a little of both. As a young girl, my family ate at the local Barbecue Inn which served Eastern-style barbecue. Even though we lived in the west, this restaurant offered both sweet and vinegar sauce at the table. Today, barbecue joints provide an array of sauce concoctions made with everything from blueberry chipotle to strong black coffee. But my favorite is still the sweet red sauce that’s lip-smacking good!
No matter what part of the pig you prefer, or how you like to dip it, there’s nothing as satisfying as a big ‘ol plate of North Carolina barbecue. The meat is tender and juicy, which is amazing all by itself, but even better with the addition of your favorite sauce.
History of Sweet Potato Pie
After all that talk about barbecue, it’s time to curl up with a yummy slice of sweet potato pie. Since it’s a southern dessert, some folks have never heard of such a thing. But, if you’ve ever tasted pumpkin pie, then you sort of have an idea what you’re getting into.
Traditionally, sweet potato pie is made with mashed sweet potatoes, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, and spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s heavier on vanilla flavoring than spices, which is what sets it apart from a pumpkin pie.
You’ll love this rich dessert that’s dense, creamy, and contains just the right blend of seasonings. For ultimate sweet potato pie satisfaction, try serving it with a dollop of vanilla whipped cream. It’s the treat of choice after a big barbecue meal.
Famous Food From North Carolina Dinner Menu
North Carolina State Facts
- North Carolina is known as the Tar Heel state, which has various origins
- The first airplane flight was flown by the Wright Brothers at Kill Devil Hills in NC
- Mount Mitchell is the tallest mountain in North America east of the Mississippi River
- The Charlotte Metro area is the largest banking center in the U.S. after New York City
- Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC is the nation’s largest private residence
- Famous People from North Carolina include: Andy Griffith, John Coltrane, Roberta Flack
Debi Morgan taught elementary and high school students for 25 years and retired as the Distance Learning Facilitator at her school. After retiring, she decided to fulfill her dream of designing a blog that could teach others how to easily make southern dishes with a sassy twist. You can find her recipes at Quiche My Grits. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Instagram!