Bright Leaf hot dogs, which have filled buns and bellies in Eastern North Carolina for 75 years, come in a one-pound bag.
That’s not the typical hot dog package, but the bag with the tobacco leaf on the front is nearly as iconic as the hot dog itself.
“People would be real upset if we ever changed that,” says Johnny Hayes, vice president and plant manager at Carolina Packers, maker of the Bright Leaf brand of hot dog.
Carolina Packers has been making sausages, bologna, chili and red hots, a spicy, bite-size frankfurter, since 1941, but it all began with the Bright Leaf hot dog.
“That launched the other products,” Hayes said, noting that the hot dog, found mostly in Eastern North Carolina, is slowly making its way across the Tar Heel State and even into Virginia.
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