Q & A

Questions & Answers about Bright Leaf Products

What's in our hot dogs?

Our Bright Leaf Hot Dog is our signature food product and is the quintessential southern red hot dog. Their unique blend of herbs and spices give them a distinctive, slightly spicy flavor that has made them a southern classic for more than 80 years. The original Bright Leaf Hot Dog is made with beef and pork and has only 8 grams of fat. It's also been gluten free since 1941, and contains milk. Watch this video to learn more about our hot dogs.


Why are Carolina hot dogs red?

Bright Leaf hot dogs are colored "red" per southern tradition. Bright Leaf Hot Dogs, based in Johnston County, North Carolina, are the original red hot dog. Our founder, Mr. Jones, chose this approach back in 1941 to differentiate ourselves from other hot dogs on the market and be seen as a traditional southern hot dog. The red color is achieved using the same food coloring used in red velvet cake, breakfast cereals, condiments, baked goods, sodas, and sports drinks. After eating a Bright Leaf, you won't want to eat a brown hot dog.


Where can you buy our hot dogs?

You can purchase most of our products like hot dogs, sausage, red hots and bologna in most of your local grocery stores in North Carolina. If you're wondering why you don't see our products on the shelves, you can find out what stores we're in here.


 Can our hot dogs be frozen?

Yes, Bright Leaf Hot Dogs can be frozen. After you open up the bag, take whatever hot dogs you need, take the rest of the hot dogs, put them in a Ziploc bag, and put them in the freezer.


How do I cook Bright Leaf Hot Dogs?

Bright Leaf Hot Dogs are pre-cooked. Many people eat them cold right out of the bag, but they also taste good on the grill and the stove. Here's how to cook our hot dogs...

  • Charcoal Grill - Preheat the grill. Light the coals and let them burn until they are covered in white ash, which usually takes 20-30 minutes. Place the hot dogs on the grill grates. Grill the hot dogs for about 8-10 minutes, turning them occasionally to ensure even cooking. You'll know they're done when they're heated through and have nice grill marks.
  • Gas Grill - Preheat grill to 300 - 350°F. Place the hot dogs down on the grill grate and cook for about 5 - 6 minutes on one side. Then turn over and cook for about four to five minutes (black charred line means it's done).
  • Pan (Stove Top) - Preheat the eye to medium heat. Add a small amount of oil to the pan. Place the hot dogs in the pan. Cook for 4 - 6 minutes on one side and turnover for another 4 - 5 minutes (black charred line means it's done).


What other products do you make?

We don't just make the Famous Bright Leaf Red Hot Dog. We've been making sausages, bologna, chili and Red Hots, since 1941, but it all began with the Bright Leaf Hot Dog. You can find all of our products here.


If your company is called Carolina Packers, why do you use "Bright Leaf" everywhere?

The answer is rooted in our North Carolina agricultural heritage. The area’s rural economy was dominated by tobacco during our early years. In fact the section of US Highway 301, in Smithfield, North Carolina, where our plant is located, has long been known as Brightleaf Boulevard, because of the number of tobacco warehouses that lined the highway through Smithfield during the 1940′s. In addition, many of our customers and suppliers grew tobacco as part of their farming operations, so was born the Bright Leaf Brand, and with the tobacco leaf in our logo, we identify with our agricultural heritage. 


Why can't we find your products in the store?

First, put in your zip code and check the locator for a store near you.  Sometimes our products are in the store, but its like a treasure hunt to find them. Check the coolers in the middle of the floor if you don't see us on the wall with other hot dogs. If we are not found in a grocer near you, we can always ship directly to your house.


Why does my grocery store have vacuum in the bag hot dogs?

Carolina Packers Inc is a small, family owned company. We don't want to lose sight of our heritage and we strive to make our products today the same way we made them over 80 years ago. To maintain higher quality and fresher products, we sell, make , and distribute our products on our own trucks. Due to the short shelf life of our fresh bag Bright Leaf Hot Dogs, we have to keep production and inventory tight, so our distribution is really limited to North Carolina. We are found as far west as Hickory, NC, and as far east as the coast. We do put some of our products in vacuum packages to extend shelf life and help us service those places that are farther away from us in Johnston County, North Carolina.

If you have more questions, please feel free to contact us.


Come and visit

2999 S Brightleaf Blvd.

Smithfield, NC

Mon - Fri, 8:30am - 4:30pm

Saturday, Closed

Sunday, Closed

Phone: 1-800-682-7675