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WhiteTrash BBQ -- Real Pit Barbecue from New York City. This is the story of a fire obsessed guy, living in Brooklyn, with a dream of producing award winning, competition busting, real Barbeque. Come live the dream as I compete around the country in the KCBS Championship Barbecue circuit.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

South Carolina Barbeque

Barbecue joints can be found across state
By Robert J. Nebel
Staff Correspondent -- Gwinnett Daily Post

These days, people call anything cooked on a grill barbecue. But if you want the real deal, plan a trip to South Carolina. From the cities of Charleston and Columbia to the hamlets of Orangeburg and Cheraw, South Carolina’s barbecue joints serve up their own takes on the traditional, smoky meal.

According to the South Carolina Barbeque Association’s Web site, there are four basic barbecue sauces used across the country in basting and serving the meat — vinegar and pepper, mustard, light tomato and heavy tomato. South Carolina is the only state that’s home to all four sauces, writes association president Lake High Jr. on the site.

Vinegar and pepper, the oldest and simplest sauce, is popular on the coastal plains of the state. Germans who settled in South Carolina brought mustard sauce to the Santee, Congaree, Broad and Saluda rivers in the 1700s. The Pee Dee region, which includes towns like Darlington, has taken a liking to light tomato sauce, which is vinegar and pepper with tomato added. Heavy tomato sauce is used throughout the state and the nation.

Slow cooking in Charleston

Most discussions about food in South Carolina start with Charleston, and barbecue is no exception. A Charleston tradition, Bessinger’s BBQ has been providing regulars with its slow-cooked lean pork hams since 1946. How slow do they cook their meat? It generally takes 18 hours to cook it in a wood-burning pit over hickory and oak logs. Top that cooking method off with a choice of any of their own sauces, and you are in barbecue heaven.

Charleston suburb Mount Pleasant has a few gems of its own. Momma Brown’s BBQ restaurant serves up a great example of vinegar-based barbecue.

“Barbecue means pork here — never beef,” said Amanda Dew Manning, a Charleston-based culinary historian. “And often it’s the whole hog that goes on the barbie.”

That’s what goes on at Momma Brown’s BBQ. All of the food here is served cafeteria-style. The restaurant’s pit-cooked barbecue comes with side dishes including coleslaw, rutabagas, macaroni pie and fried fat back — a skin-on piece of thick-sliced pork that is fried crisp.

In contrast to Momma Brown’s, Sticky Fingers in Mount Pleasant has a more contemporary take on barbecue. Indeed, Sticky Fingers is a chain, and purists might scoff at this suggestion. But Sticky Fingers, offering a menu of delectable, family friendly barbecue, has seen its success spread like barbecue smoke. In addition to its original location, Sticky Fingers can be found on Charleston’s Meeting Street and in Columbia.

Barbecue in the Old 96 District
If Sticky Fingers sounds too sanitized, try hitting the roads in South Carolina’s Old 96 District. Comprised of five counties that border Georgia, the Old 96 District is home to the state’s best-kept barbecue secrets.

Traveling for a while down Interstate 26 can make anyone hungry. That’s why Hickory Hills Bar-B-Que in Clinton is a favorite for travelers, truckers and locals. Pulled pork, hash and rice, in addition to baked and fried chicken, are on the menu here. Owned and operated by Mark Long, Hickory Hills is also known for serving up pork rinds and white bread with its dishes.

One of the best examples of vinegar-based barbecue can be found at Bill’s BBQ in Cheraw. Owner Bill Hunt is renowned for serving up some of the state’s best pork and chicken barbecue. Sweet potato souffle and baked beans accompany this Cheraw institution’s first-rate barbecue. No meal here is complete without an order of the banana pudding.

If you’re looking to sample several types of barbecue sauces, stop by Buffalo’s Midway BBQ. The restaurant serves three of the big four barbecue sauce varieties. Housed in a rustic building with sawdust on the floor, Midway cooks its meats with hickory wood in an old-fashioned pit at 225 F for 16 to 20 hours. When it’s cold outside, Midway offers its legendary chicken stew.

More info
South Carolina Barbeque Association, or Carolina Q Cup

Did you know?
  • Barbecue requires cooking to a temperature of between 210 and 250 F over a period of 10 to 20 hours (or more-depending on the meat).
  • Over the years, famous folks from Sen. Elizabeth Dole to actor/rapper LL Cool J have been spotted at Bessinger’s Barbeque in Charleston.
  • If you pine away for Sticky Fingers, you can get its sauce through its mail order business.
  • Mount Pleasant barbecue joint Momma Brown’s recipes come from owner Mary Alice Knight’s own momma, Azalee Brown.
  • Midway BBQ was voted fourth-best barbecue joint in the nation by Delta Airlines.
Sources: South Carolina Barbeque Association, Sticky Fingers, Midway BBQ, Carolina Food Pros


At 10:09 AM, Blogger Curt said...

Any talk of SC BBQ, and I have to add a plug for a great place in Hollywood, SC, One of a Kind Smokehouse! Ken and Holly do a GREAT job, well worth the trip!

At 2:15 PM, Blogger Jeff Werlwas said...

Another solid South Carolina BBQ joint to add to your list is Sweatmans BBQ in Holly Hill, SC.

I stumbled upon this joint when I was driving a friend’s mother from Charleston to her home in Columbia, SC. On the way I asked if she know of any solid BBQ places so we took a short detour to Sweatmans in Holly Hill.

I could tell just by driving up it was going to be solid. Just do a Google Earth search oh the following address and you’ll see that this is in the heart of BBQ – a very sincere setting. 1313 Gemini DR. Holly Hill, SC 29059.

It’s a good thing it was Saturday because they are only open on Friday and Saturday.

The Pitmaster uses local wood from the neighbor’s yards. The pulled pork is cooked split on the grill for about 16 hours. Then the chopping team comes in and creates a huge, heaven blessed, mound of pork perfection. The crusty ends are separated for those who like the robust, darker, smoky flavored meat.

The sauce is mustard based with the consistency of nacho cheese sauce. It looked strange but was very tasty.

Sweatmans is buffet style, so dig in and pig out. (Yes pun intended)

The most surprising thing on the menu for me was the Hog Hash. Small bits of chopped pork with potatoes, onions, ketchup, salt & pepper, and that’s all I could get out of him. Serve this over the rice and it’s unbelievable. I almost burst my gut.

They only take cash. They have no telephone. Make sure you order the crispy skin, but note the sign, “We cannot Guarantee Skin.”

Well worth the slight detour. I definitely rate Sweatmans a Pig establishment.

At 12:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im a southerner by the grace of God and of all the BBQ ive had the pleasure of trying, nothing beat Schulers BBQ out near Latta, SC. They are only open on weekends and the line is usually long but every single bean, piece of corn, rib, etc is fantastic, trust me - check them out.

At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Midway BBQ in Buffalo, SC is a delicious memory for me. My family would stop by every time we came home to SC to visit the family. A few years back, I visited for my Papa's funeral. He'd be happy to know we ate at Midway the next day before heading back to our homes. Thanks to the O'Dells and many happy... and delicious... memories. It made a tough time easier. Mmmm, BBQ, Hash, Chicken Stew, Fatback, Sweet tea, greens, and maybe some nice deli Bologna, pork, and fatback to take for another day! Anyway, in memory of Ray G. and Oda Belle Black & Granny Turner too. Susan.


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