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.