The Collard Sandwich
If you’re a fan of collards, just wait until you try a collard sandwich. The regional favorite with roots in Robeson County has received quite a bit of publicity in recent years from influential chefs and media.
“It’s real good, especially when it’s seasoned well,” says John David Blackmon, 84. Blackmon is a farmer in Lumberton who grows about 3,000 collard plants every fall. “You fry two slices of thin cornbread, and put some cooked collards in between along with three slices of fatback meat,” he says. “And that’s a collard sandwich. They’re good with biscuits and molasses, too.”
“Fatback” is a cut of pork with a rich flavor popular in rural North Carolina.
The collard sandwich was created by members of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, a group who has lived in Robeson County for centuries. It’s a legendary food sold by vendors at the Robeson County Fair every October alongside the funnel cakes and cotton candy. Not only does the sandwich taste good, it’s convenient to eat on the go because it doesn’t require a fork.
The Lumbee Tribe hosts a homecoming weekend every year in July in Pembroke when members who have moved away come back to visit. There is a parade, an art auction, the Miss Lumbee pageant, a powwow, historical exhibits and, of course, plenty of collard sandwiches to go around.
Can’t attend any of these festivals? Many folks make their own collard sandwiches using the cornbread, pork and collards on the buffet at Fuller’s Old Fashioned Bar-B-Q in Lumberton. To learn more about the restaurant, visit fullersbbq.com.