Barbecue sauce combines tastes of the Carolinas at Pattan’s Downtown Grille

In North Carolina, where people are divided by their allegiance to vinegar and tomato, Tim Pattan of Rockingham has created a barbecue sauce that brings both sides together.

Pattan’s Pee Dee River Swamp Sauce mixes the tang of Eastern North Carolina’s vinegar-based barbecue sauce and the sweeter, tomato-based sauce found in the western part of the state with a touch of the mustard that South Carolina’s barbecue is known for.

At Pattan’s Downtown Grille in Richmond County, which straddles the center of the state a few miles from the South Carolina line, the sauce is a true representation of the place that Pattan, 48, and his wife, Julia, 43, call home.

Some may know Rockingham, a city of about 9,000 people, as the home of the now closed Rockingham Speedway, also known as “The Rock,” where NASCAR legends such as Richard Petty and Junior Johnson once competed.

But to Pattan, his hometown is much more.

Read more about the restaurant and learn what specials regulars flock to Pattan’s to eat.

Freshly-sliced brisket awaits placement on plates during lunchtime at Pattan’s Downtown Grille in Rockingham. // Photo by Chuck Liddy

If you go

Pattan’s Downtown Grille, 228 East Washington St., Rockingham. 910-895-8080. Hours: 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday.

From the menu

  • Pattan Special: Thin slices of slow-smoked pork loin drizzled with sweet Pee Dee River Swamp Sauce and topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise. Served on grilled sour dough bread. $8.75.
  • Chopped or pulled barbecue platter: $9.25 for a regular size or $11.25 for a large.
  • Pulled pork tacos with sweet Swamp Sauce, lettuce, tomato, onion, cheddar cheese and chipotle sauce. $3.50 each.
  • Swamp Dip: cheesy dip made with ground beef, sausage, onion, bell peppers and Pee Dee River Swamp Sauce and served with tortilla chips. $5.95
  • Shrimp tacos: fried jumbo shrimp, dipped in buffalo sauce and topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheddar cheese and lemon tarragon aioli and served on a grilled flour tortilla. $4.50 each. Served only on Fridays.
  • Pee Dee River Swamp Sauce can be purchased in store for $3.95 and the sweeter version for $4.95. It also can be purchased on the restaurant’s website for $8.99, including shipping.


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