17 North Carolina Recipes You’ll Want to Make Again and Again

Yes, there is barbecue! But there’s also the Carolina burger, Brunswick stew and plenty of Southern classics.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.



Photo By: ; Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved


Photo By: Teri Lyn Fisher

Photo By: Matt Armendariz

Photo By: Yunhee Kim ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Barbecue & Beyond

What’s for dinner tonight? We’re getting our inspiration from the location of HGTV Smart Home 2022: Wilmington, North Carolina. While the state’s iconic barbecue might be the first thing that comes to mind — and is worthy of all the attention — there’s so much more to North Carolina cuisine. So come for the smoked meats and stay for the other mouthwatering recipes, from local creations such as the Carolina burger and Brunswick stew to Southern classics like fried green tomatoes and peach cobbler — they all deserve a spot on your table.

Bookmark this Pulled Pork Shoulder with Lexington-Style Dip Sauce from North Carolina's famed Barbecue Center, then be sure to check out HGTV Smart Home 2022. Enter twice daily, once on FoodNetwork.com and once on HGTV.com, for your chance to win HGTV Smart Home 2022, a grand-prize package valued at over $1.2 million.

Get the Recipe: Pulled Pork Shoulder with Lexington Style Dip Sauce

Lexington-Style Barbecue Slaw

Barbecue Center's Western North Carolina-style (aka Lexington-style) barbecue isn't complete without this refreshing slaw that gets its sweetness from ketchup and its heat from cayenne.

Get the Recipe: Lexington-Style Barbecue Slaw

Eastern North Carolina Barbecue

Barbecue Center also offers Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue, which favors a simple vinegar-based sauce over the ketchup-centric sauces used in the central and western parts of the state. Try their recipe and you'll see for yourself: the meat shines in a different (yet equally delicious!) way.

Get the Recipe: Eastern North Carolina Barbecue

Carolina Smoked Pork

Sam Jones, the pitmaster at legendary BBQ joint The Skylight Inn in Ayden, NC, applies his famous whole-hog technique to pork butt. Smoke, time and Carolina BBQ Sauce are all you'll need for this succulent feast!

Get the Recipe: Carolina Smoked Pork

Carolina Burger

North Carolinians know how to pile it on: This burger is topped with cheese, chili and onions — plus a serving of slaw. Duke’s Grill in Monroe has had a Carolina burger on its menu since 1951, but the favorite is all over the region now: Wendy’s added it to the menu in North and South Carolina locations in 2019!

Get the Recipe: Carolina Burger

Smoked Ribs with Carolina-Style BBQ Sauce

Ancho chili powder pulls double duty in Bobby's low-and-slow ribs (and sets them apart in flavor!): it's used in both the spice rub and the Carolina-style BBQ sauce.

Get the Recipe: Smoked Ribs with Carolina-Style BBQ Sauce

North Carolina-Style Vinegar Barbecue Sauce

You're going to want to put this barbecue sauce on everything — it's that good! Simmering the sauce with chunks of bacon gives it just the right amount of smoky richness.

Get the Recipe: North Carolina-Style Vinegar Barbecue Sauce

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried green tomatoes are a must come summertime in the South, and North Carolina is no exception. This version calls for breading with panko and serving with ranch.

Get the Recipe: Fried Green Tomatoes

The Best Shrimp and Grits

This Southern staple is full of flavor and plenty saucy. We tried using bacon, but missed the spiciness and complexity of andouille sausage. For added richness, we cook the grits in milk and finish them with butter.

Get the Recipe: The Best Shrimp and Grits

Biscuits and Gravy

If North Carolina had an official state bread, it would be biscuits. These fluffy baking-powder numbers are the perfect partner for peppery white sausage gravy.

Get the Recipe: White Sausage Gravy

Carolina-Style Barbecue Chicken

The hallmark of Carolina BBQ is a tangy sauce with a vinegar base and just a little spice, but no tomato product. While Carolina BBQ usually features pork, this recipe shows that the flavors work just as well on chicken. A little melted butter in the sauce helps balance the sharpness of the vinegar and mustard, and adds just enough thickness to cling to the meat.

Get the Recipe: Carolina-Style Barbecue Chicken

Fried-Catfish Rolls

Some of the first "pop-up" restaurants in North Carolina were fish camps, where fishermen would pull up to unload, clean and sell their catch, and many still exist along the river shores today. Take your cue from these waterside institutions tonight and whip up some fried-catfish rolls.

Get the Recipe: Fried-Catfish Rolls

The Best Peach Cobbler

North Carolina is one of the top peach producers in U.S. Celebrate the stone fruit in our classic Southern-style peach cobbler, which calls for layering the fruit on top of the batter before baking. In the oven, the sweet batter rises through the peaches, creating a light and airy cake-like topping. We left the peaches unpeeled, which adds a nice color and makes the recipe even easier. Serve it with vanilla ice cream for the perfect summer dessert.

Get the Recipe: The Best Peach Cobbler

Instant Pot Brunswick Stew

While North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia have all laid claim to this dish, the specific origin is unknown. What isn't disputed? This traditional Southern stew is the perfect combination of delicious tomato broth, hearty vegetables and rich luscious meat. While it's not as thick as many stews, it's one recipe that's sure to fill even the hungriest bellies.

Get the Recipe: Instant Pot Brunswick Stew

Southern Baked Mac and Cheese

This rich and decadent baked pasta is a Southern Black staple for holidays and special occasions. Steering away from the standard stovetop mac, this version includes three kinds of cheese and bakes up like a casserole with a crispy, golden top. The addition of eggs makes it similar to a cheesy, savory custard. Warning: This is not diet food!

Get the Recipe: Southern Baked Mac and Cheese

North Carolina-Style BBQ Turkey

Inspired by North Carolina barbecue, this bird is grilled and basted with homemade BBQ sauce until it's bursting with smoky-sweet flavor. It's sure to make for an unforgettable Thanksgiving.

Get the Recipe: North Carolina-Style BBQ Turkey

Sweet Potato Pie

Not only are sweet potatoes the official state vegetable, but North Carolina is also the nation's top producer. Let the root veg shine in this magnificent pie — it's rich, creamy and full of flavor, with a super-flaky crust that won't get soggy. It's the classic holiday pie in its best possible form. And the whiskey whipped cream and candied pecans would make anything spectacular, but they're especially good with this.

Get the Recipe: Sweet Potato Pie