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State Cooking Tour 29: North Carolina

North Carolina is known for their own version of BBQ. It more of a tangy/sour flavor than the BBQ we are used to down in Oklahoma, where our BBQ is definitely more smokey/sweet. The strong flavor of vinegar is the main difference! I've always been interested in making it so I was excited when we saw the Tar Heel State would be our next "stop"! 

This recipe was super duper spicy, so if you make it I highly recommend cutting back on some of the the pepper spices it calls for. My boys could barely eat it! I had lost my sense of taste due to Covid so I truly have no real bearing on how this challenge turned out, but my husband said everything was delicious! 

Oh, and you can't have Carolina BBQ without hushpuppies, apparently. No complaints here! 



  • 1 (5 pound) bone-in pork shoulder roast 
  • 1 tablespoon salt 

  • ground black pepper 
  • 1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar 
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 1 ½ tablespoons hot pepper sauce (We used Texas Pete, it's made in NC!)
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (Do not add this much!)
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (Do not add this much!)
Place the pork shoulder into a slow cooker and season with salt and pepper. Pour the vinegar around the pork. Cover, and cook on Low for 12 hours. Pork should easily pull apart into strands.
For the hushpuppies, I grabbed some out of the frozen section of the grocery store and fried them up for a few minutes. They turned out perfect and it was a quick and easy side. I love the idea of hushpuppies with BBQ and feel like OK needs to get on board with that tradition. 


Now on to dessert!

Sweet Potato Pie is the official state dessert for NC and it happens to be my husbands very favorite pie. I'm not a huge fan, but I will say, it was tasty! It's very similar to pumpkin and I think knowing it was made from sweet potatoes is what freaked me out. But if you love sweet potatoes, you will love this pie.


  • 1 (1 pound) sweet potato 
  • ½ cup butter, softened 
  • 1 cup white sugar 
  • ½ cup milk 
  • 2 eggs 
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust 
Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 40 to 50 minutes, or until done. Run cold water over the sweet potato, and remove the skin.
Break apart sweet potato in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie will puff up like a souffle, and then will sink down as it cools.

We couldn't have our state meal without enjoying another North Carolina favorite - Cheerwine!


Another state is behind us and onward we go! Be sure and let me know if you make any of the recipes I've posted for this state cooking tour - I LOVE hearing about it!

Until next time....
I am a modern day homemaker with a passion for family, cooking, celebrating, decorating, travel, and memory making! The Lord has blessed me with the desires of my heart in my husband and our two sons. We recently built our dream home and cultivating a loving and happy haven for my family is where I find so much joy.