Southern Living caught up with the country star and discussed some of his favorite Southern things.

North Carolina native, Scotty McCreery, won both the title of American Idol and America’s hearts back in 2011. The country crooner with the deep voice has been on the go ever since. He and his band have traveled far and wide to share his throwback brand of new country with a classic sound.

But whether he’s on a stage in Los Angeles or all the way in Sydney, Australia, it’s clear to see that McCreery’s Southern roots are firmly planted. Southern Living recently caught up with him on a tour stop in Birmingham.  The 24-year-old has a rich appreciation for the region that reared him.

“Growing up in the South, being a Southerner, I think it’s all about how you treat folks and how you enjoy life. And it’s yes sir, yes ma’am,” he told us.

McCreery grew up in Garner, North Carolina with his sister Ashley and parents Mike and Judy. Before the instant stardom of his late teens, his childhood was just like that of many other Southern kids.

“Growing up in North Carolina was awesome. I love that place like no other place in the world. Number one the people are great, we have a lot of fun there. But main thing I love about living in North Carolina is just how much there is to do.”

McCreery noted that from where he was raised in the middle of the state, it’s a short road trip in one direction to the mountains and another short trip in the opposite direction to the beach. North Carolina has it all, he told us.

McCreery’s love for the South is not limited to vacation destinations but of course, there is also the food. It does always come back to Southern food, doesn’t it?

“My favorite Southern dishes would be fried chicken and barbecue. Specifically Eastern North Carolina BBQ. There’s a lot of great places to get Eastern North Carolina BBQ. For me, if you want it fast, Smithfield’s is great, there’s places like Parker’s and Wilbur’s.

But of course, love for BBQ hot spots aside; there is nothing quite like Mama’s cooking. Any good Southern son knows that.

“Mom, she’s always cooking. I’d say the main dish for us, especially around Christmas time is her breakfast pie that she makes. That and some cinnamon rolls….It’s what we always look forward to and always expect on Christmas morning,” McCreery said.

It’s clear that the bond is strong with McCreery and his family and not just at Christmas time.

“My parents have been awesome. They’ve been by my side since day one. I started this whole thing, in the music business, as a minor so they had to travel with me. They sacrificed a lot to do that with me and I’ll always be indebted to them for that.”

He continued, “ They kept me grounded and gave me good advice.”

He now splits his time between Nashville for work and Raleigh to be near his family, his friends and his new fiancé.   

“A big part of my heart is in North Carolina. I think it will always be there. So I get back and forth {often and} probably {will} throughout the rest of my life.”

We know Scotty, there is no place like home. Especially when Breakfast Pie is on the menu. Judy, please fix us a plate!