South Carolina Barbecue: What Sets Us Apart

by admin on February 5, 2013

South Carolina BBQ


If you’re new to the state of South Carolina and don’t know good barbecue, here is what you need to know: South Carolina is a great barbecue state, but that doesn’t end your education. You need to know where to find a great barbecue dinner for the family. Here are tips to keep in mind when searching for that outstanding barbecue restaurant in this barbecue state:

1. The tablecloths should be checkered.

A giant flat screen television turned to the racing channel or country music station is another good sign. Farm implements and feed bags lining the ceiling is de rigueur decor inside some restaurants.

2. Good barbecue restaurants are rarely located in a fancy building.

Barbecue joints in old gas stations or barns with flashing neon lights and red roofs are all likely candidates as great barbecue restaurants. Seeing the names howg, hogg or hawg in the restaurant’s name is another signpost that you’ve found the right joint. If you walk around the back and see piles of ash, that’s a hopeful indicator. Statues of pigs don’t hurt. Heads of boars mounted on the wall means you’ve probably found an old barbecue paradise.

3. You can smell great barbecue as you approach the building.

Great barbecue is slow-cooked for a half-day or more in cookers fueled by hardwood chips or coal to impart that smoked flavor. Apple and maple wood chips work fine, allowing the meat to drip smokey juices and be absorbed. The meat is pulled by the cook to allow the smoke-imbued juice to permeate the entire pork cut. Barbecue made on gas or electric grills just doesn’t cut it in South Carolina. That’s New England yankee cooking and not as good.

4. Sauces Make Barbecue Distinctive

South Carolina barbecue sauce is based on vinegar and mustard. Ketchup and molasses sauces are popular in other states, not South Carolina. The reason this is so is because Germans immigrated into South Carolina in the 18th century and never left. As creators of sauerkraut, Germans would know about the balance between acid and fat, so it’s vinegar-based barbecue sauce for South Carolina.

Variations to the mustard sauce are permissible and even encouraged in order to give barbecue sauces marks of distinction. Adding brown sugar, honey or some secret sweetener is okay. Dijon mustard is fine, too. Tossing beer in the barbecue-mustard sauce is not frowned on. As mentioned, South Carolina barbecue is distinguished by their different sauces. To find the sauce you like best, guests are encouraged to try a full range of sauces to find their favorite. Should you find a perfect barbecue sauce to your liking, ask the owner to sell a jar that you can take home.

5. South Carolinians Barbecue Pork

South Carolinians lean toward barbecuing pork. Barbecued steers are in Texas. The citizens of Tennessee prefer ribs. Chicken barbecue is several states away. Many say that the best pork barbecue is pulled pork barbecue. Some cooks will roast a whole pig while others will opt for shoulders only.

South Carolina barbecue is a personal matter. Some will love a particular restaurant and its barbecue style, while others will shun the place. The key is to get out and search. Stop at the little towns on the back roads and see what’s barbecuing. South Carolina will not disappoint.

BIO: Sam Weston has worked in and around home sales in Charleston, Carolina for the past several years. When he’s not hard at work helping families find their dream homes, he can usually be seen on one of Jacksonville’s amazing golf courses.

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