North Carolina Food You Must Eat | 10 Best North Carolina Meals

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Want to discover all there is to know about North Carolina cuisine? You’ve arrived to the correct location!

North Carolina has a wide range of distinctive cuisine, beverages, and locations to visit. Of course, there are several sweet pleasures available statewide (and across the world), but nothing beats a cold Coke or a hot doughnut in the site where it all started.

One of the numerous neighborhood eateries serves hot chocolate, fried doughnuts, and fried chicken. And no culinary tour would be complete without a stop for a sweet treat. North Carolina offers several unique treats, ranging from a selection of doughnuts to a post-race sandwich.

Hence, the 10 native North Carolina dishes listed below will undoubtedly please an adventurer’s taste senses.

Visiting other places in North Carolina? Check out our other tasty guides:

  • 13 Must-Try Restaurants in Mooresville, NC
  • 11 Must-Try Restaurants in Manteo, North Carolina
  • 9 Best Blowing Rock Restaurants
  • 8 Must-Try Outer Banks NC Restaurants
  • 8 Must-Try Boone NC Restaurants
  • The Best Chapel Hill Restaurants NCĀ  & 11 Best Things To Do In Chapel Hill
  • 10 Best Restaurants In Raleigh NC
  • 10 Must-Try Greensboro Restaurants
  • 10 Must-Try Restaurants In Cary NC
  • 7 Must-Try West Jefferson NC Restaurants

North Carolina Food You Must Try

Pork Chops

Pulled pork is an American barbecue method that includes cooking pork over low heat, resulting in soft, juicy meat that can be readily separated into little pieces. Historically, pork shoulder chops are prepared with vinegar, pepper, and tomato sauce in the western section of North Carolina.

In the eastern portion of the state, the entire pig is cooked and pulled, and the sauce normally includes no tomatoes.

Pulled pork has gained popularity throughout the nation, and there are several versions available, including various cuts of meat and cooking durations, marinades, and sauces.

Barbeque in the Manner of North Carolina

In North Carolina, there are two regional kinds of barbecue: one on the western side and one on the eastern side. The east has a lot of whole hog barbecue, whereas the west has more Lexington barbecue.

In the east, the whole hog is smoked, but in the west, just the pig shoulder is smoked. Also, in the east, barbecue is often served chopped with a vinegar-and-spices-based sauce, but in the west, it is typically served as a sandwich with tomato sauce.

Hickory and oak are often utilized for this sort of barbeque, which is perhaps America’s oldest.

Pete from Texas

There are many other varieties of spicy sauce available in the United States, but Texas Pete is the third best-selling brand. In 1929, Sam Garner, a barbecue stand operator from North Carolina, sold the first bottle of Texas Pete.

Because consumers requested a spicier sauce, the Garner family created a cayenne pepper version. As a result, the renowned sauce was formed.

The Garners declined to call the sauce Mexican Joe, insisting on an American moniker. Their marketing consultant offered the moniker Mexican Joe, which they declined.

He named the meal after his son Pete, whose nickname was Harold, and he chose Texas because of its reputation for spicy cuisine.


North Carolina is famous for its livermush, a traditional American meal. The dish consists of fried slices of livermush (a product made from pig livers, heads, and cornmeal and is spiced with sage and pepper).

Livermush is often served with eggs and grits for breakfast, but it may also be eaten for lunch or supper.

Even though some people confuse livermush with scrapple, scrapple has less cornmeal and might include more, less, or no liver at all.

Livermush is getting more popular these days, and it may be added to omelets or used as a pizza topping.

Hot Dogs in Carolina Style

Hot dog sausages wrapped in split bread rolls are used to make Carolina hot dogs. They are distinguished by traditional condiments in addition to slaw, onion, and chile.

They may add mustard to hot dogs with the slaw or as a substitution as a fourth condiment.

Because of the sweetness and crunch of the slaw, which contrasts with the subtle spiciness of the mustard and chili, hot dogs with slaw are very popular.

Carolina-style condiments aren’t only for hot dogs anymore; hamburger toppings are now available.

Slaw (Red Slaw)

The red slaw, a coleslaw variety, originates in North Carolina. It’s also known as barbecue slaw, and it’s generally created with shredded cabbage, water, vinegar, sugar, and ketchup, which gives it a crimson tint.

Red slaw, which is notably famous in Lexington, is an important ingredient of the barbecue there.

Salads are sometimes utilized as a side dish with grilled meat sandwiches. The components in red slaw vary by area, but what is vital is that it be served cold. Mustard seeds, black pepper, onions, carrots, and chili peppers are all possible additions.


Provision is an American taleggio-style cheese from North Carolina. This semi-soft cheese is made from pasteurized goat milk and matured for three months.

During the maturity process, the cheese is brushed and hand-turned, and the rind is cleaned and hardened.

It’s crumbly and compact, with a yeasty fragrance and a creamy taste. Providence is a table cheese that goes well with cured meats and olives. It complements dark Syrah beautifully.

Chocolate Labrador

Looking Glass Creamery creates it in Fairview, which also produces Chocolate Lab cheese. The cheese is made from pasteurized milk.

The crimson rind is cleansed with a brine solution every other day. It has a solid structure, strong scents, and sweet, tangy tastes.

They also treat the wheels with crushed cocoa and sea salt during the rubbing process to give the rind a rich and rough texture.

Chocolate Lab goes great with Malbec wine or chocolate stout beer.

Seafood Calabash Style

Calabash-style seafood is a typical American cuisine from North Carolina, specifically Calabash.

This feast is often offered at Calabash seafood restaurants and contains a variety of seafood, including as crab, shrimp, and fish, breaded or unbreaded and fried to a golden brown.

Because of its popularity, North Carolina has designated this meal as its official state cuisine in recent years.

Apart from being one of the most uncommon meals since it is seldom available in seafood restaurants, the Food Network classified it as American cuisine. Calabash-style seafood is popular these days as a consequence of the aforementioned causes.

The Pimento Cheese

If you haven’t had pimento cheese, you’re missing out on one of the most fantastic things since sliced bread. This wonderful cheese combination is enjoyed by Southerners on crackers, in grilled cheese sandwiches, blended into grits, or added to deviled eggs; in short, in any form.

The iconic grilled pimento cheese sandwich is available at Community Deli, as is The Big Easy, which includes grilled pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes, and bacon.

At Relish Craft Restaurant & Bourbon Bar, try the pimento cheese fritters with pepper jelly appetizer or the Southern Mac skillet.

Likewise, the pimento cheese appetizer is a must-order at the Pooles Restaurant if youre fortunate enough to obtain a booth or a seat at the bar.

A List of the Top Ten North Carolina Meals

After trying so many various meals, beverages, and restaurants in North Carolina, you may be asking whether there is anything that really distinguishes North Carolina cuisine. That certainly does.

There are several city-specific foods that are particularly distinctive to each location (and each restaurant).

Therefore, if you’re in North Carolina, be sure to taste some of these delectable treats.

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