022808ham.jpgThe area of Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue that stretches through the East New York/Stuyvesant Heights area isn’t exactly a culinary destination, but what it does have is the Carolina Country Store, a one of a kind grocery that has been covered here before. The tiny storefront is also favored by chefs like Zak Pelaccio, primarily because it specializes in southern style ham and cured meats that are hard to find elsewhere in the five boroughs.

Salty, bone-in country ham ($4.59/lb; pictured) is cut with a huge band saw on premise; steaks are cut 3/8” thick and looking like they came straight out of a cartoon. Sausages, souse (a favorite of the Village Voice’s Robert Sietsema), red franks, smoked turkey wings, jowls, regular and peppered bacon are stacked in the refrigerated display. The Carolina Country Store also sells liver pudding in vacuum packed slices. You can choose and bag your own smoked ham hocks.

Pimento cheese, hoop cheese, fresh pecans ($4.75/lb.), and black walnuts are sold by the pound. Canned and jarred items include herring roe, pickled pig’s feet, two different kinds of Carolina chow-chow, boiled peanuts, and a dozen varieties of vinegar-based barbecue sauce. Grits, hush puppy mixes, assorted fried fish breaders line the shelves. The store sells peanut brittle blocks and small bags of hard candy made in North Carolina. The shelves behind the register are a makeshift candy museum of sorts, minus the dust and age factor: The Carolina Country Store directly imports a bunch of candies, like Squirrel Nut Zippers, that have long ceased appearing on regional distributors’ stock lists.

022808soda.jpgNo matter how rare they may be round these parts, avoid the desiccated, half-Pop Tart, half-Wonka Banana Planks (50¢), which taste like the leftover residue of a bottle of a bubblegum flavor mixing vat; wafer-like Smilin’ Jacks cookies are available behind the counter for 10¢ each.

Carolina Country Store
2001 Atlantic Avenue
(718) 498-8033

At the Carolina Country Store, beware of the hard-to-find in New York Jolly Aid. Photo: Tejal Rao