The Best Food and Drink in North Carolina

There’s more to North Carolina cuisine than choosing which barbecue style you’re willing to die for
North Carolina
Modified: Dreamstime

The Tar Heel State is a land of contrasts, stretching from the East Coast’s highest peak, Mount Mitchell, through the Piedmont and Coastal Plain to the shifting dunes of the Outer Banks. That same diversity shines through in the state’s cuisine (the best of which we’ve rounded up as part of our first annual guide to the best food and drink in every state), and that holds true for more than just barbecue — though some North Carolinians would probably be willing to fight you over the best way to baste a hog at a pig pickin’.

The Best Food and Drink in Every State for 2018: North Carolina (Slideshow)

The Old North State’s wide-ranging cuisine is reflected in our list of the state’s best eats. Twelve different cities and towns are represented, from the booming craft beer scene in Asheville to the delicious yet divisive barbecue of Lexington, and from cosmopolitan tacos in newly trendy Durham to fresh seafood in Southport at the mouth of the Cape Fear River. There’s so much good food everywhere that the state’s largest city, Charlotte, only features in three of our 24 selections.

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Given the rich food landscape in the Land of the Longleaf Pine, how did we go about choosing the best eats in the entire state? Over the course of the past year we’ve honored everything from its best tacos and farmers markets to its best dive bar and craft beer in our comprehensive and wide-ranging lists and rankings, compiled through extensive research and with input from a wide network of site contributors, bloggers, journalists, and chefs. We’ve compiled these into individual slideshows celebrating the best food and drink in every state, and you can find our North Carolina slideshow here