burger with a brioche bun and a knife sticking out of the top

The Carolina Burger

There are thousands of burgers out there, but there’s only one burger named for my beloved state…The Carolina Burger. It originated in the coastal and piedmont areas of North and South Carolina, and boy…is it ever tasty!

Why You’ll Love This Burger

In North Carolina, we love our creamy slaw, mustard, onions, and hotdog chili. So, why not put them together on a burger? I mean, have you ever tried one? No other burger compares as far as I’m concerned.

You’ve got your basic mustard and ketchup burger. And, there’s the fancy mushroom and swiss variety. If you can conjure it up, I bet your favorite burger topping is already out there…including fried oysters (which they serve at my favorite restaurant…the Oyster House, in West Asheville).

But, the Carolina Burger is where it’s at.

It’s a rip-roaring mess. You can’t eat one without using at least 10 napkins, and even then, you’ll still wreak havoc. Try picking it up and you’ll have to put it down. You might even need a fork. But, eventually, you’ll get the hang of it and scarf down every bite. I dare ya!

How to Make It

To make this amazing burger, you first need to make an amazing batch of hotdog chili and coleslaw. Not just any chili and coleslaw, mind you, but the best you’ll ever find…made Carolina style.

Carolina hotdog chili doesn’t have any beans in it, so don’t even think about adding those. It’s just ground beef, chili seasoning, onions and ketchup. Simple, yet truly delicious. It’s perfect on hotdogs, but even better on Carolina burgers.

Next, make a batch of creamy coleslaw with Duke’s mayonnaise, (ad) apple cider vinegar, sugar and celery seed. Add a little garlic salt and pepper, and mix it all together. It’s a match made in heaven.

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What’s The Best Type of Beef To Use?

Every burger meister has their favorite combo of meat, but I like to use 80% ground chuck. For this recipe, I fried two hamburger patties in my cast iron skillet (ad) and smothered them with sharp cheddar cheese. However, feel free to grill those burgers if you like!

Cheese is usually not served on a Carolina Burger, but I love the flavor of cheddar with chili, so I always add it to mine. It’s up to you, but either way, you can’t go wrong.

I mean…take a gander at this…

What Type of Bun is Best?

I can’t possibly think of enough adjectives to describe this yumminess. It’s basically a sloppy joe on top of a hamburger patty, so when you’re choosing buns for your Carolina Burger, make sure you get the best brioche or bakery buns you can find. The buns have to be dense enough to handle the goodness that drips all over the place.

To assemble the burger, spread mustard on inside of buns. Place hamburger patty on bottom bun, followed by cheese if you like. Top with chili, then add slaw and onions. Close with top bun. To hold this baby together, you’re gonna need a big steak knife! (ad)

WOWZA…what a burger!

More Beef Recipes to Love

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burger with a brioche bun and a knife sticking out of the top

The Carolina Burger

  • Author: Debi ~ QuicheMyGrits
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x


The Carolina Burger originated in the coastal and piedmont areas of North and South Carolina, and boy…is it ever tasty!




  • 1 (16 oz) package coleslaw mix
  • 2 Tbsp. minced onion
  • 3/4 cup Duke’s Mayonnaise (ad)
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. celery seed
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 packet chili seasoning
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 small sweet onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup ketchup


  • 1/2 pound ground chuck (80%)
  • 1 tsp. steak seasoning
  • 2 slices cheddar cheese, optional


  • 2 bakery buns
  • 1 Tbsp. yellow mustard 
  • 1 Tbsp. diced onions for topping


  1. For slaw, mix ingredients together in a large bowl and refrigerate until ready for use.
  2. For chili, brown ground beef in a skillet (ad) over medium heat, then add chili seasoning, water, onion and ketchup. Simmer for 10 minutes until meat is tender and chili is thickened.
  3. For burgers, pat ground chuck into patties and sprinkle with steak seasoning.  Fry in skillet (ad) over medium heat until cooked throughout. Top with cheddar cheese until it melts.
  4. To assemble burgers, spread yellow mustard on inside of buns. Place hamburger patty on bottom bun. Top with chili, then add slaw and onions. Close with top bun.
  5. Insert a steak knife (ad) into top bun to hold burger together.


Serve Carolina Burgers with an extra side of homemade chili and slaw.

  • Category: Sandwiches
  • Method: Skillet
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: hamburgers, chili burgers, the carolina burger

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Check out my best dishes each week on Meal Plan Monday, Pin Junkie and The Weekend Potluck.

Thanks for sharing this recipe and telling me what you think in the comment section below…

My Carolina Burger is featured on the NC 10 Percent Campaign website which is dedicated to building North Carolina’s local food economy!

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  1. This burger is incredible. I can’t even believe the photo! Can’t wait to make this recipe.

  2. I wanna try this…I think my husband would LOVE it!

  3. Catherine

    I’m excited that you have a recipe for the Carolina Burger because it is one of my favorites. I’ve never had it with cheese, but that sounds pretty amazing. Carolina girls have to stick together!

  4. You can’t beat this Carolina Burger it’s a winner regardless of the side of I-40 your team resides! High fives from our clan!

  5. Awesome burger!!!! ❤️

  6. Michelle

    I absolutely love this burger!!!

  7. I was never a huge burger fan, but there is something about this Carolina burger! My family loves the addition of slaw and chili, and as a result, this guy has become a summer time favorite! It is also fun to serve deconstructed as a ‘burger bar’ when you have guests or a family of picky eaters 🙂

  8. Best mix of flavors for a burger! Delicious!

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