Oh, huzzah for burgers and for #BurgerMonth and for the resplendent Kita from Girl Carnivore who is wrangling this rather large blogging event! And another huzzah for my Got To Be NC Burger and foods made and grown in North Carolina! And huge kudos to all the brands who are helping us put on this Epic event! Because you know there’s a HUGE GIVEAWAY going on right? Check it out at the bottom of this post!
What better way to showcase some wonderful NC products than by using them in my #gottobeNC burger?! Let me be clear: there are tons of amazing products being made in North Carolina that would work perfectly on a Got to Be NC Burger, so you feel free to make your own, okay? My version is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. Please feel free to jump straight to the recipe and the giveaway if you’d like. Otherwise, read on about my love for North Carolina and for the specific products I used in my burger.
Many thanks to my friend, Jack Nales, from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and the Got to Be NC program for helping me source some of my ingredients. If you ever need to know anything about foods produced or grown in North Carolina, Jack is Your Guy.
I Was Made to Make the Got to Be NC Burger
I was born in Charlotte, NC fifty years ago, and aside from attending college for four years in South Carolina and several years living in Orlando, FL, I’ve lived in North Carolina my whole life. My first food memories are of eating huge blackberries straight off blackberry bushes that bordered the softball fields where my dad played on long summer nights, of devouring soft, fresh and still-warm Krispy Kreme Doughnuts–the Only doughnuts, as far as I’m concerned–with their impossibly thin coating of sweet glaze, of drinking bottles of Cheerwine and SunDrop, frosted with condensation in the humid Carolina summers, of crunching up bright orange Lance crackers then trying to whistle.
I am a staunch proponent of Eastern North Carolina whole hog chopped barbecue with vinegar sauce, thankyouverymuch. While other barbecue is tasty, for me, there is nothing like the sweet, smoky succulence of a plate of steaming chopped barbecue accented by the spicy pungency of vinegar sauce. Have mercy.
As soon as Kita asked me to participate in #BurgerMonth, I knew I wanted to put a North Carolina spin on my burger. I began by researching other burgers called “Carolina burgers.” The standard North Carolina burger is apparently a burger topped with chili and slaw and mustard. But then, I read that the Slawburger Festival (yes, it is a thing and now I want to go) happens in Tennessee. Besides, you can make slaw anywhere. My idea for the Got To Be NC Burger was to source as many of the ingredients as I could from North Carolina producers and/or to use ingredients made in North Carolina in the burger itself. Some might say I got a bit carried away, but to those Doubting Thomases, I say “Shut it, Thomases.”
Before you check out the components, the lovely folks with the Got To Be NC program highlighted my burger in a video. We shot at the farmer’s market where I bought a lot of the ingredients!
Here are the Components:
- a patty made of a mix of ground beef and pork
- bacon, onion and Cheerwine jam
- fried pickles
- pulled pork shoulder braised in Cheerwine and NC-made barbecue sauce
- local jalapeno cheese
- pretzel buns, which I ended up making myself. And since I’m from North Carolina, they totally count.
To make the burgers so you can actually pick them up and eat them as God intended, here’s how you have to do it. Trust me.
- Heat the buns, but you don’t really want them toasted. Just warm.
- Place 3-4 cornmeal fried pickles in one layer on the bottom bun.
- Top with some of the cheese and melt it under the broiler.
- Top with a no more than 1/2″ thick burger patty and then more cheese. Melt under the broiler.
- Top that with about 2-3 Tablespoons of the pulled pork.
- Add 2-3 Tablespoons of the slaw
- Spread bacon, onion and Cheerwine jam on the top bun.
- Press together.
- Put on a bib.
- Lean over and eat.
Here are the North Carolina-made products and ingredients I used in my Got To Be NC Burger along with links to the websites and a bit of information about the products.
- House-made bacon from The Butcher’s Market in Raleigh, NC: Premium Meats (one of the only places I know of to get dry-aged beef) and lots of local products. Nice!
- Cheerwine, made in Salisbury, NC: An NC tradition since 1917! Cherry deliciousness, and mail-orderable. Yes.
- Texas Pete hot sauce, from Winston-Salem, NC: I bet you had no idea it wasn’t made in Texas! Surprise!
- Gravitas seasoning from Good Rub in Morrisville, NC: Not only are their seasonings delicious, they give back a portion of their profits to help local food banks. Good Rubs, indeed.
- Local onions, sweet red pepper relish, and jalapeno hoop cheese from the NC State Farmer’s Market in Raleigh, NC: Mind-bogglingly enormous with fresh seasonal produce, seasonal ornamental plants, fruit trees, annuals and perrenials, locally made products (meats/cheeses and jarred/canned/packaged products). Plus restaurants and a garden shop. Love it.
- Bone Suckin’ Mustard Sauce from Ford’s Foods in Raleigh, NC: Ford’s Foods is the co-packer for Bone Suckin’ Sauce which has been a hit in Raleigh since 1992 and now in The World sinc 1994. Seriously delicious.
- Jim’s Own Barbecue Sauce from Cary, NC: Voted one of the best barbecue sauces by Southern Living. Piquant, a bit thinner than a Kansas City style sauce. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
- Dreamy, Creamy Vinaigrette from The Little Black Dressing Company from Wallburg, NC: Tangy, sweet and delicious. Very Southern and very good as a slaw dressing. Yas.
- Signature Salt & Pepper Pickles from Miss Jenny’s Pickles in Kernersville, NC: “No Junk in our Jar” is how they sell them. All goodness. No additives. No preservatives. No high fructose corn syrup. Excellent pickles!
- Moss’ Plain White Fine Ground Cornmeal from Buffaloe Milling Company in Kittrell, NC: These guys make a ton of products: mild and hot seafood breaders, self-rising cornmeal, plain cornmeal, biscuit mix, frozen hushpuppies so you just have to fry them up at home. Nice!
And now, without further ado, Let’s Do This!