Carolina BBQ Explained and Where Piedmont BBQ Co. Fits In

Carolina BBQ Explained and Where Piedmont BBQ Co. Fits In

Hi, I’m Brad Coolidge, the Owner of Piedmont BBQ Co. I grew up in Greensboro, NC and graduated from Western Carolina University. I spent many years smoking barbeque and perfecting the authentic Piedmont flavor of NC BBQ pork and sauces.

When I moved to Atlanta, I visited every BBQ joint possible to find one with that distinct Carolina flavor that I craved. After many failed attempts at finding the best BBQ in the area, I knew there was a huge opportunity to launch my own business and spread my love of Carolina-style BBQ to Georgia and beyond.

Let’s get into a little more detail to explain Carolina-style BBQ and what distinguishes Piedmont BBQ Co from the rest…

What are the Carolina-style BBQ regions? 

  • Eastern Carolinas: uses the whole hog and pulled pork shoulders with a tangy-mustard based sauce
  • Western North Carolina (aka Lexington style): uses ketchup-based sauces with spices
  • Upstate South Carolina: mustard-based sauces

Where does Piedmont BBQ fit in?

We fall in the Piedmont region, smack dab in the middle, which is a melting pot of Eastern and Western styles. Our sauces leans more towards Eastern with heavy vinegar, but we add the Lexington-style flare with more spices, red color, but no ketchup.

There is an ongoing debate with North Carolinians on which style is the official BBQ of their state. In my opinion, it’s a debate that will never get resolved and it just comes down to preference. 

What type of wood do you use during the smoking process? Does the wood change the flavor? 

Our smoking process involves hickory and oak woods. The type of wood has a subtle impact on the flavor and produces a traditional smoky flavor.

It is common to ‘over-smoke’ barbeque; Piedmont BBQ Co. takes pride in a subtle smoky flavor so the quality of our protein can really shine. The last thing you want in any barbeque meat is for the smoky taste to empower the flavorful, tender meat.

What is Piedmont BBQ’s prep process?

  • Beef and pork— first, we rub yellow mustard on the beef and pork, then generously sprinkle them with our rub, which is mostly kosher salt and pepper (this is different from the rub we sell). We smoke our meats hot and fast. The pork smokes for about six hours and the barbacoa smokes for seven hours.
  • Chickenour chicken is brined in buttermilk overnight, which makes it even more tender and flavorful. Then, we smoke it for about two hours. The buttermilk brine has a little mustard powder that provides a depth of flavor.

Describe the rub that you use. 

Our pulled pork rub is just salt and pepper. It may not be the sexiest, but we believe that traditional rubs are traditional for a reason. We don't want to overpower the flavor of the meat with our rub. We also try to keep it simple so it is more versatile – our proteins can be used in a wide variety of recipes.

*Our Swiss Army Rub we sell is different from the S+P rub we use on our pulled pork. 

Describe your two sauces. 

Our hot and mild barbeque sauces are vinegar-based and considered more eastern style. Don't be fooled by the red color – in true Carolina fashion, there is no ketchup in our sauce. Both the sauces have the same flavor profile but our hot sauce just has a little more kick.  

What makes Piedmont BBQ stand out?

It's a style that really lets the flavor of the meats take over, and it’s never over-smoked or over-seasoned. It’s barbeque at its finest.

Where can we find Piedmont BBQ Co. products?

We are now offering our products at the following locations:

Do you have any vegan options?

Yes, we also provide plant-based options for vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians too. Check out our Vegan Lentil Stew and Vegan Chili too. We have plans to expand our vegan options soon too. Be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter on the home page of our website for updates.

What are some good meal ideas I can make with Piedmont BBQ Co. products? 

We hope that this article helped to explain the differences of Carolina-style barbeque, where we fit in and our process, and ultimately entices you to try some of our barbeque products. Visit us here for online purchase and customizable monthly subscriptions. We ship products to anyone in the U.S. – from our kitchen to yours.

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If you like Carolina-style barbecue as much as we do, please share this article with your friends and family - and tag @piedmontbbqco or #piedmontbbqco.