Chasing BBQ: North and South Carolina Stops
with Mike Johnston
Barbecue Chasing BBQ North Carolina South Carolina
Three regions down, three to go - and plenty more BBQ to eat! After exploring Texas, Memphis and Southern 'cue in Alabama and Georgia, I headed to the Carolinas where it's pork, pork and more pork. I got my fill of BBQ pork cooked in a variety of ways including the classic whole hog. After the hog is smoked to perfection, it's chopped or pulled and served up with Carolina's vinger-spiked sauce. Of course, when I got home, I had to try 'cueing up a whole hog myself, so I built a backyard cinderblock pit and got to smoking. It's not a bad way to spend a day, hanging out with friends as the aroma of tasty pork floats through the air. Check out our whole hog recipe for a backyard pit "how-to" if you're up for a similar project.
Of course, you don't always have to cook up a whole hog to enjoy pulled and chopped pork Carolina style. We even have a slow cooker recipe that makes it super easy to enjoy pulled pork anytime. Or try "outside brown" which is basically the pork equivalent of burnt ends. After eating my way through a whole lot 'cue in the Carolinas, it's clear that no matter how it's served, the folks in this region are experts when it comes to barbecuing pork.
Along with all that meat I also managed to try some interesting appetizers and sides like pickled shrimp, aka my new favorite way to enjoy shrimp in the summer. The Carolinas also introduced me to tomato slaw, a red tinged spin on the classic, and boiled peanuts, a favorite for salty snacking. Of course there were some old favorite too including mac and cheese (check out our pimento cheese version) and something I can't get enough of, sweet potato pie (I prefer mine with bourbon). In fact, bourbon's not only in the pie. They know their pork in the Carolinas, but they also know how to kick back and unwind. Try our Carolina Fire Starter Bourbon for a taste of what I mean.
You might not be able to head to the Carolinas to eat your way through their regional 'cue like I did, but you can read all about the stops I made, people I met and BBQ I tried along the way. Click the name of any of the BBQ joints I visited to read my road journal and learn more about Carolina 'cue.
Along with BBQ, this joint serves soul food and
1237 D Ave
West Columbia, SC
Owner: Ernest Zanders
Gotta Have: Baby back ribs, turkey wing, hash and rice
2734 Hemingway Hwy
Must Try: Pork rinds, bbq pork and chicken. Finish it off with homemade chocolate yellow cake.
751 BS Barbecue Rd
Don’t Miss: Chicken quarters or bbq pork with North Carolina vinegar sauce, corn stick and slaw.
Jack Cobb and Son Barbecue Place
3883 S. Main St.
Owner: Jack Cobb
Highlights: BBQ pork sandwiches topped with slaw, hush puppies, sweet potato tart.
Grady's BBQ was my third stop in one day
Pitmaster & Owner: Steve Grady
Best bet: Whole hog ‘cue, collards, black eyed peas or butter beans, homemade sweet potato pie.
Adams Roadside Bar-B-Q
3451 US Highway 70 W
Owners: Scott & Karen
Don’t Miss: Texas style beef ribs, brisket, cheesy mac, and Brunswick stew.
Skylight Inn BBQ
4618 Lee St
Owner and Pitmaster: Sam Jones
Must Try: Whole hog BBQ tray, chopped pork with crispy bits of skin mixed in; cracking cornbread.
Owner & Pitmaster (and friend of Savory): Christopher Prieto
Highlights: Pecan smoked & perfectly sauced ribs, baked beans and slaw
The Pit Authentic Barbecue
328 W. Davie St.
Owner: Greg Hatem
Favorites: Chopped pork, mac & cheese, hush puppies. Leave room for dessert: carrot cake & peanut butter pie!
100 Smokehouse Ln
Proprietors: Monk Family
Claim to Fame: The original, not to be confused with “blank” Lexington BBQ. Try the outside brown, coarse chop with a side of “ketchup style” slaw and hush puppies. Get some authentic pig skins too!
They use hickory and oak for the 'cue at Henry's Smokehouse.
240 Wade Hampton Blvd
Pitmaster: Troy Blanchard
Gotta Have: Pulled pork with the spicy mustard bbq sauce, hash and rice. Top it off with made-from-scratch peach cobbler!
1700 Roper Mountain Rd
Founder: Wayne Preston
Don’t Miss: Pulled/chopped pork with pepper vinegar sauce, perfect ribs, and the sweet potato crunch.
Mike and Jeff’s BBQ
2401 Old Buncombe Rd
Co-Founder and Pitmaster: Jeff Little
Must Have: Pulled pork and chicken, hush puppies & potato salad.
12 Bones Smokehouse
5 Riverside Dr.
Owners: Bryan & Angela King
Highlights: Oak & cherry smoked baby backs with blueberry chipotle sauce, chopped brisket, collards & cornbread.
Buxton Hall Barbecue
32 Banks Ave
Co-Owner & Pitmaster (and James Beard nominee): Elliott Moss
Must Have: Whole hog ‘cue, made-in-house sausage, hash and rice, embered beets.