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Aug 22, 2009 08:16 AM


We're going to throwing a BBQ for friends who are from North Carolina. We want to surprise them with a classic N.C. menu. Any North Carolinians out there who can suggest must-have items/recipes for us? We're planning to smoke some ribs for sure...Thanks!

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  1. When I think of NC BBQ, I think of pulled pork not a search for smoked pork shoulder and you will get many ideas

    1. Jenny I have no idea where you are from, but if these folks are FROM NC, then your efforts at making them BBQ may not be so impressive to them. I am from Maryland and I would hate to go to Chicago and have my friends their serve me crabcakes. I have a Japanese couple as neighbors but I would not presume to serve them MYsushi (which I think is pretty damn good).

      2 Replies
      1. re: JRCann

        I agree wholeheartedly with JRC, IF your friends currently live in NC. If however they are from NC and now live elsewhere, I think it's an extremely nice thing you're doing for your friends!

        1. re: JRCann

          Very good observation....however, this couple has been missing their BBQ now that they live on the West Coast and don't find the N.C. staples like before. We want to remind them of home again....

        2. Pulled pork, vinegar sauce, hush puppy's, slaw, beans, sweet tea and banana pudding.
          Brunswick stew is often served too.

          This link might be helpful:

          Beware that in NC BBQ is a very hotly debated topic. Similar to bringing up sex, religion or politics - very passionate opinions held!

          9 Replies
          1. re: meatn3

            What meatn3 said.

            No ribs. I would consider the beans not really necessary but if you're looking to do an Eastern NC dinner than you do need BBQ boiled potatoes. And you slaw should be yellow from the mustard you've added, red from ketchup if you're doing Lexington-style, and overly sweet and white if it's any other part of the state.

            And I know it's a cheat, but if you can find Mrs. Fearnow's canned Brunswick stew where you live than use that rather than going to the work of making your own.

            1. re: rockycat

              Continuing to add on..since its summer a good (yellow) potato salad would be good if you did no the boiled potatoes. The (hush) puppy's are a must. If you really want to be special, you may try your hand at turkey barbecue. Ohh, and don't forget about fried okra, collard greens, or candied yams as good sides too!

              For desserts: Fried apple pies, multi-layer cakes like coconut or chocolate. Many also like coconut pie and pecan pie.

              1. re: cityhopper

                I would agree that you should have pulled pork with vinegar sauce and not ribs if you're trying to be authentic. We always had the white, sweet slaw to go with the BBQ (this was in and around Raleigh, I had no idea there were other kids of slaw--interesting point rockycat).

                Hush puppies are great, but it might be easier for you to make cornbread (which is something I usually preferred).

                Other sides that would be typical would be potato salad, collards, fried okra, boiled cabbage, corn, green beans, and sometimes mashed potatoes. For dessert I would do banana pudding or peach cobbler!

            2. re: meatn3

              Meatn3 says this is hotly contested issue. BBQ is hotly contested because there are 2 schools of thought. The vinegar/spices bbq of eastern NC and tomato-based bbq in western NC. It's not just about what cut/type of meat one makes (although I agree with those who say pulled pork is the way to go), but the very basics of how it's flavored. I'll go to my grave believing that eastern NC cue is the ONLY real cue. : D Meatn3, I gather that we're in the same camp, given your "vinegar sauce" comment.

              More power to you if you can master great NC cue, but you really do need to know which side your friends are on.

              1. re: Old Spice

                Meatn3/Old Spice,
                I agree. I was raised on Eastern NC BBQ and think that's the tastiest way to go. The sweet slaw is a good way to go too although I've had some that wasn't sweet and it went with the BBQ just fine. You can order good sauce from some of the good suppliers (I do this b/c I no longer live there). Here are some sauces I remember:

                Baste often for heat: Scott's (my favorite)

                Mild (black label): Well's

                Another mild: King's

                Finally: Wilber's

                These are the sauces I grew up with. These same producers run restaurants that may even deliver the BBQ (frozen I think) within a day or two. Make sure to have some buns on hand for the BBQ sandwich (w/ sweet slaw of course). One last idea, try searching on line for churches that publish their cookbooks. These will give you every side and dessert you can think of. If you have some of the above sauce and grill/smoke a pork shoulder or two just right with a few of the sides from this thread, you'll have happy friends.

                1. re: cratt77

                  Well, it's not BBQ-but I did just get back from North Carolina, and had Shrimp and Grits, which is my new favorite dish. Paula Deen has a recipe, and I'm betting it's pretty authentic. Enjoy.

                  1. re: jenniegirl

                    You can find shrimp and grits some in NC but it's not a local dish really. It's a bit more South Carolina. It's also one of those dishes where there are as many variations as there are people cooking it.

                    The suggestions of collards, okra, field peas, black-eyed peas, yams, cabbage, etc. are all good IF you're serving plates. If you're doing a pig picking the sides will tend to be a bit more limited basically because you're one person throwing a party, not a restaurant filling out a menu [in other words, a "meat and 3's" ;-) ].

                  2. re: cratt77

                    Excellent sources...thanks so much for your help. This sounds like fun!

                2. re: meatn3

                  Great menu suggestions...I'm on this one right now! Thanks!