In 1963, the Ramsey Feed Company of Rose Hill created the ultimate tribute to the area’s poultry industry by building the world’s largest frying pan.
This 15-foot-wide behemoth can be found a short drive off Interstate 40. A sign posted in front of the pan asserts that it weighs 2 tons, holds up to 200 gallons of cooking oil, covers an astonishing 176 square feet, operates on 40 propane burners and can hold up to 365 whole chickens. It even has a 6-foot handle sticking off of one side, not that anyone could ever use it.
The pan is so large it must be broken into wedges for cooking purposes. As such, it doesn’t look as much like a cast iron frying pan as other “World’s Biggest Frying Pan” contenders in Brandon, Iowa or in Long Beach, Washington. But this entry in the obscure competition of world’s largest fryer has a leg up on both of these other frying pans: It’s still operational.
The only guaranteed time of year to find it full of chicken is during the North Carolina Poultry Jubilee. The festival dates change from year to year but typically take place around November, when East Coast fall foliage is at its prime. There are other occasions when the pan gets fired up though, like fundraisers for charitable organizations.
Know Before You Go
The World’s Largest Frying Pan is relatively easy to find, located in the Rose Hill Town Square, which is about 2 miles away from exit 380 off of Interstate 40. On most afternoons, this destination is little more than a novelty, and the pan itself isn’t well displayed because it is covered to protect it from the elements. Perhaps the best time to see the pan in action each year is at the North Carolina Poultry Jubilee held each fall, which includes a food festival featuring chicken cooked in the pan. If you do choose to visit, you may notice several “Keep Out” signs, but you’re unlikely to find a complaint from anyone in the town unless you try to enter the gazebo the pan is housed in. Otherwise, the area is a nice open green space and a decent respite from a long drive along I40. Many folks combine a visit to the frying pan with a visit to nearby Duplin Winery, a mere 6 blocks up South Sycamore Street.