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Carolina Treet

I have to tell y’all about the pickle I got myself into the other night. I planned on making barbecue chicken for supper but was low on my favorite bbq sauce. So I rode up to the Harris Teeter. I nearly had a heart attack in the aisle when I discovered an empty spot where Carolina Treet should be. How does a grocery store in North Carolina run out of Carolina Treet? Irritated, I rode over to Publix. No Carolina Treet there either! 

Needless to say, we didn’t have barbecue chicken that night. 

That’s how crucial Carolina Treet is to a Wilmingtonian.

I have to have that warm, orange glow on my chicken when I pop it in the oven. I need that spicy, tangy bite of Carolina Treet. And I’m not alone. My mama keeps it stocked in the pantry, even though she rarely cooks. My mamaw and papaw used it. Daddy did too. And there’s a good reason why: it’s better than butter on biscuits.

Carolina Treet is no dipping sauce – it’s meant to be cooked on the meat. There’s no pre-heating this barbecue sauce – don’t even try it; you’ll ruin it. The flavor comes alive when it’s baked in. I’m telling you, it’s the best damn barbecue sauce you’ll ever eat.

The sauce was born in the early 1950s on the corner of 4th and Chestnut. The owners of Patricia Ann grocery store created it as a rotisserie chicken baste. Those chickens were always sold out – and their sauce became a local legend. Patricia Ann’s grocery store is long gone, but Carolina Treet lives on. 

Today the sauce is produced by Legacy Family Foods right here in North Carolina. You should be able to find it in pretty much every grocery store across the state. Emphasis on should.

Luckily for me, Harris Teeter received a shipment two days after I went home empty-handed. I bought two bottles. I don’t plan on running out again anytime soon.

**Information in this post comes from several websites including, StarNews Online, WECT, and Legacy Family Foods.

Leave a Comment


  1. Brian W wrote:

    “Carolina Treet is no dipping sauce – it’s meant to be cooked on the meat.”

    I disagree. I’ve eaten CT as a dip ever since I was a kid and used it for all sorts of dipping sauces. I once even tried it as a salad dressing as a kid which was pretty dumb.

    But I use it for dipping chicken and fries into, pork chops, even as a sauce for egg sandwiches. I have had it cooked but it isn’t as good as putting a layer on top.

    Problem is, I now live in MN so getting it shipped here by the parent company costs $30 for shipping when buying a gallon container. Bottles of this cost nearly $10 on Amazon. So the only time I can get some is when I come down to NC to visit family or it my family comes up here. 😁

    Published 12.16.22
    • Cassie wrote:

      I use it for dipping too! Growing up, I dipped plain white bread into it as a snack. I still pour extra over my chicken after it’s cooked. *Technically* it’s meant for cooking though. 😉

      And awwww! I couldn’t do it. I’d end up putting us in the poor house to make sure there was Carolina Treet in stock. lol

      Published 12.31.22
  2. RK wrote:

    Agreed. Oregon doesn’t sell it. My family has to ship me bottles.

    Published 5.12.24
    • Cassie wrote:

      I get it! I throw a hissy fit if the local stores run out. It really is that good! lol

      Published 6.18.24