Holiday Time

Only in the South: Celebrate the Arrival of 2020 with Unique New Year's Eve Drops (December 2019)

Log on to Cyber Monday Deals (December 2019)

Southern Hospitality Traveler's Favorite Things About October (October 2019)

Honor the Red, White and Blue in the South with Independence Day Celebrations (July 2019)

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler! Celebrating Mardi Gras 2019 (February 2019)

Pickle, Pelican or Peach: The Many Unique Ways the South Welcomes in the New Year (December 2018)

Get Into the Holiday Spirit with the 29th Annual Smoky Mountain Winterfest (November 2018)

17 Celebrations Honoring the Red, White and Blue (June 2018)

Celebrate Mom this Mother's Day with Getaways and Experiences (May 2018)

"Throw me Somethin' Mister!" Celebrating Mardi Gras 2018 (January 2018)

Beach Ball, Fleur-De-Lis, MoonPie: Unique New Year's Eve Drops in the South (December 2017)

25 Festive Events to Keep that Holiday Feeling Through the New Year (December 2017)

Awe-Inspiring Gingerbread Displays at Various Hotels and Resorts Around the South (December 2017)

Fun and Fireworks: 14 Events Celebrating Independence Day (June 2017)

Celebrate 2017 Mardi Gras in the South (February 2017)

Three Festive Ways to Avoid Going Stir Crazy Before the Holidays (December 2016)

30 Ways to Get Your "Jingle" On in the South (December 2016)

Five Ways to Experience the Holidays "Louisiana-Style" (December 2016)

"Brighten Up" Your Holidays with These Holiday Light Displays (November 2016)

Red, White, Blue and You: Fourth of July Celebrations in the South (July 2016)

Drops, Celebrations and More: Memorable Ways to Welcome in 2016 (December 2015)

Spark Your Holiday Spirit with the Many Events Happening Around the South (December 2015)

Six Places to Celebrate the Holiday Season (December 2015)

So Many Ways to Kick Off the Holiday Season in the South (November 2015)

14 Dazzling Holiday Light Displays Throughout the South to Enjoy Now (November 2015)

Celebrate the Holidays in Minden and North Louisiana with the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights (November 2015)

New Twist on an Old Favorite: Amping Up the Grilled Cheese (April 2015)

Celebrate National Soup Month Anytime with Recipes from Benchmark Resorts & Hotels (January 2015)

Move Over Ball Drop - This is How the South Welcomes in the New Year (December 2014)

Ways to Get Your Holiday On in the South (December 2014)

Liven Up Your Thanksgiving Meal with Some Myrtle Beach, S.C.-Style Comfort Foods (November 2014)

Warm Up the Days and the Nights with These Chili Recipes (October 2014)

Creating the Perfect Cheeseburger with Crawford Ker on National Cheeseburger Day (September 2014)

Celebrate National Martini Day with these Recipes (June 2014)

It's Great to be King...Celebrating Mardi Season with King Cake Creations (February 2014)

Celebrate Your Valentine with a Getaway (February 2014)

A MoonPie, Pickle, Red Stick and More...Welcoming in the New Year in the South (December 2013)

Celebrate the Holidays with a New Orleans' Reveillon Dinner (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide...Packages and Escapes (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Books (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Food and Beverage (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Made in the South (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Experiences in the South (December 2013)

End Your Holiday Meal on a Sweet Note courtesy of Chef Sara Thomas (November 2013)

From Their Table to Yours: Holiday Recipes from The Carolina Inn (November 2013)

Firing Up the Grill: Tips and Recipes for a Successful and Tasty Grilling Season (May 2013)

Breakfast for Mom, Southern-Style (May 2013)

Mom-Worthy Hotels in the South (May 2013)

Talkin' Mardi Gras, Shreveport, La. Style (February 2013)

Southern Style: 13 Things You Must Do in 2013 (January 2013)

Holiday Joy: Tips for Creating the Perfect Gingerbread House (December 2012)

Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Secret is in the Sauce at Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley (December 2012)

Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Make It Memorable and Give the Gift of an Experience (December 2012)

8 Reasons to Visit Louisiana’s Holiday Trail of Lights this Season (December 2012)

Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Chef's Table at Emeril's Delmonico (December 2012)

Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Simply Ballastone Cookbook (November 2012)

Treat Your Mom to One of These Eight Southern Destinations (May 2012)

Seeing Various Shades of Green: St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations in the South (March 2012)

It’s Mardi Gras Time in the South (February 2012)

Celebrate Elvis Presley’s Birthday in the South (January 2012)

A MoonPie, a Pickle, a Horseshoe and More: Ringing in the New Year Southern-Style (December 2011)

Celebrate the Holidays New Orleans-Style with a Reveillon Dinner (December 2011)

"Treat" Yourself this Holiday Season with (November 2011)

Holiday Fun in the South After Thanksgiving (November 2011)

Holiday Fun at Gaylord Opryland (November 2011)

Tours and Treats Along Virginia’s Inn to Inn Cookie Trail and Tour (November 2011)

Celebrating Milestones in the South (August 2010)

5 Activities that Add a "Sizzle" to Your Summer Vacation (June 2010)

Forget Gifts, Give Experiences This Mother’s Day (April 2010)

Celebrating Mardi Gras 2010 (February 2010)

Published: December 2012
Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Secret is in the Sauce at Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley  

For many, the difference between good and great barbecue all depends on the sauce or rub. And if you want to make your ‘cue great, consider flavoring it with Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley’s own line of barbecue sauces and rub.

Created over two years ago by executive chef Ron Salerno and his culinary team, his motivation was to provide their guests with some really good barbecue products and a true barbecue experience.

“Here in the Carolinas, there are a lot of barbecue variations and some intense barbecue enthusiasts. For us to achieve the highest product quality I wanted to serve, we needed the right ingredients, which is why I started making my own sauces and spice blends.”

He admits it took a little while to develop the flavor profile. However, once he had it, the team decided to bottle it and make it a signature product of the hotel.

All in all, the entire process took around a year before they had their first batch produced.

Today, the culinary team offers three products that Salerno believes stand out from the rest due to their uniqueness and high-quality ingredients.

“They are different in flavor, consistency and quality than many other items that I’ve tried.”

The Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce, the most popular of the three and his favorite, is the closest to a traditional barbecue sauce.

He describes it as being “thinner in consistency, so it’s not so heavy on the foods. It’s also dark, rich and full of flavorful spices.”

The Carolina BBQ Sauce is a vinegar-based sauce with crushed red peppers and a touch of dijon mustard.

“This sauce is used to give our Eastern Carolina Pulled Pork its added flavor.”

Their BBQ Spice is made from a blend of 11 spices that includes a hint of sweetness from the brown sugar as well as a kick of heat from the ground chipotle pepper. Salerno says it’s really easy to use, and works with chicken, pork and steak.

These products are available as condiments at the Crabtree Grill, and are used in some of the hotel’s menu items.

You can purchase them at the hotel’s gift shop: $7 per bottle barbecue sauce, $5 per rib rub, and $17 for any combination of three. Salerno says the products can be shipped by request. Call the hotel directly at 919-781-7100 to find out more.

Whether you buy some for yourself, receive some or gift some to your favorite ‘cue aficionado, be sure to try out Salerno’s Carolina Pulled Pork recipe.

Carolina Pulled Pork


  • 8 pound Raw Pork Shoulder

  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil

  • 1 cup BBQ Spice Rub

  • 1 cup Carolina Style BBQ sauce


In a large bowl, coat pork shoulder roast on all sides with oil and the BBQ spice rub. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about eight hours, or overnight.

Prepare your grill for indirect low heat cooking. A charcoal or wood grill will provide the best flavor, but it is much more difficult to keep the heat consistent.  If you are new to BBQ, he recommends you use a gas grill with a smoke box and hickory wood chips.

Place pork shoulder on the grate over a drip pan. Cover grill and cook “low and slow” until pork is very tender and will start to shred when pulled on.  This will take about six hours on a 250 degree grill, but check hourly adding more soaked hickory chips as necessary to maintain smoke.

Remove pork from heat and allow the meat to rest approximately 20 minutes then pull the meat apart and chop roughly if needed.

Mix the pulled pork and Carolina Style BBQ Sauce in a large pan.

Serve and enjoy!

photos courtesy of Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley