Name: Home Team BBQ
Address: 1205 Ashley River Rd., Charleston, SC
Order: Three meat platter (brisket, pork, ribs) with red rice and collards (link to menu)
I had heard a lot of great things about Home Team BBQ and owner/chef Aaron Siegel, so knew I had to check it out when I went with the fam to Charleston for a week. A recent Esquire article only confirmed my desire to check it out. A lazy afternoon presented the perfect opportunity to check it out with my Dad and Bro – two guys familiar with good ‘cue.
Upon arriving, I really enjoyed the atmosphere. Home Team has both indoor and outdoor seating and also has a nice bar. You order at the counter, and both the meat and the sides are sitting in steam trays and ready to be pulled (with the exception of the ribs, which are cut in the back). I found this to be a little bit of an odd presentation, and I’m not sure it helped the quality of the meal.
Digging in, I thought the pork lacked flavor – it was definitely moist (thanks to the steam trays), but I couldn’t really taste any seasoning or smoke on the meat. A lot of places like to “let the meat speak for itself” but I think truly great ‘cue needs to have that smoke flavor and a good rub only enhances it. The brisket was similar – moist, but in need of sauce. Home Team has several sauces – I stuck with the hot red – which helps, but overall, I was a little disappointed in the pork and brisket.
I had higher expectations for the ribs and while those lofty expectations weren’t quite met, I did enjoy them. I was first surprised that they were spare ribs, as I’d expect America’s best ribs to be baby back ribs, which I generally find to be more tender. The spare ribs were presented dry, and had a fair amount of seasoning, which I enjoyed. The ribs were fairly tender, and I did enjoy them, but best ribs in America, they are not.
The sides, on the other hand, were excellent. The collards were perfect and the red rice was enjoyable. The Bro said that the baked beans (which I didn’t sample) were the best he’d ever had, so that’s high praise. There were no hush puppies on the menu, which is always a disappointment, but each platter did come with corn bread muffins, which were also very good.
Overall, the meal at Home Team was a little underwhelming. So much so that I decided to walk around the building looking for a wood pile, as I didn’t think the food tasted wood-smoked. I did find said wood pile, so I think maybe the stream tray hid the smoke flavor. I don’t know much about the Charleston BBQ scene, but I think on my next trip, I’ll check out a new place instead of a return to Home Team BBQ.