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Taste of South Carolina: 4 dishes that capture the culinary soul of the region

Fried shrimp with okra, red tomato rice, pulled pork and deviled crab will transport your taste buds to South Carolina.
/ Source: TODAY

TODAY is getting a taste of South Carolina thanks to local chefs BJ Dennis, Orchid Paulmeier and Andrew Carmines. Each chef is sharing a dish that showcases and celebrates the cuisine of the region. Paulmeier, who specializes in barbecue and a was finalist on season 7 of "Food Network Star," shows us how to make smoky pulled pork with Carolina-style barbecue sauce. Carmines, a second-generation restaurateur of a seafood-focused restaurant, demonstrates how to prepare deviled crab. And Dennis, a Gullah-Geechee cuisine enthusiast, whips up fried shrimp and okra with red rice.

"I chose this recipe for hickory-smoked pulled pork because I love to cook low and slow," says Orchid Paulmeier. "It doesn't take a lot of time to prep, but you need to be patient to let the smoke do its thing and turn that pork into everyone's favorite dish — tender, moist, and packed with flavor. Living in South Carolina, pulled pork is found at every tailgate, backyard barbecue and graduation party — you name it — it's there to share with friends and family. It has even brought together on occasion SEC and ACC fans on a random Saturday in the fall. A lot of love goes into our South Carolina barbecue!"

Geechee-Style Fried Okra and Shrimp

"Okra is such a staple in the Southern diet," says BJ Dennis. This dish is a reminder of the influences of African American foodways and vegetables on not only the Southern landscape, but the landscape of America in general."

"Red rice (tomato purloo) is important to me because, not only is it good, it also ties my heritage and the history of this state to West African influences," says Dennis.

Deviled Crab

Deviled Crab

Andrew Carmines

"I think deviled crab represents the culinary roots of the low country," says Andrew Carmines. "It utilizes the less sought-after claw crabmeat of the blue crab, which is in keeping with the no-waste approach to cooking that has defined the low country since Native Americans gathered food on its shores 10,000 years ago. It also reminds me of Ms. Bessie Orage, our longest-standing employee who passed away earlier this year. Ms. Bessie's influence reaches through our entire menu, and deviled crab is certainly an example of that, and a large part of why I chose this dish today."

If you like those Carolina recipes, you should also try these:

Rodney Scott's Famous Carolina-Style Ribs