Name: Maurice’s Piggie Park
Address: 1600 Charleston Highway, West Columbia, SC 29169
Order: #2 Little Pig – BBQ pork, Carolina Hash over rice, homemade coleslaw, hushpuppies and dinner roll (link to menu)
If you’ve ever traveled in South Carolina, you may have seen billboards for Maurice’s Piggie Park. They are kind of hard to miss, littered over the major highways in and around Columbia with a photo displaying a barbecue sandwich with an unappetizing orange-ish brown-ish portion of barbecue. While this is mostly due to some unfortunate food photography, the mustard sauce can also be to blame. It is no secret that the Barbecue Bros are no fans of mustard in our barbecue but on a Sunday afternoon driving on our way to Charleston for a mini-vacation, Mrs. Monk and I took our chances.
The West Columbia location off Charleston Highway used to be a drive-in restaurant but nowadays the covered awnings are just used for normal parking though they do add somewhat of a retro touch along with the giant sign out front. Maurice’s has a fast-casual set up – you order at the counter and the food is brought to you sometime later. I ordered the Little Pig combo, made my sweet tea, and then sat down with Mrs. Monk and took in the ambiance.
Now, I do have quite a bit of experience with SC mustard-based barbecue, having spent a few semesters in college doing an engineering co-op and living in Greenville, SC. I enjoyed it at time but have since refined my palate quite a bit barbecue-wise. So this particular Sunday, at this particular Maurice’s, what was the verdict? Yea…I’m just not that into SC barbecue anymore. In fact, I’m now firmly in the “mustard doesn’t belong near barbecue” camp. The texture and chop of the barbecue was pretty okay but it was ruined by the golden mustardy sauce.
The hush puppies were not sweet, thus they were not for me. The coleslaw was mayo-based and average. But what I really want to talk about is the barbecue hash on rice. This is apparently the classic barbecue side in South Carolina and is kind of a meat stew-slash-gravy served on white rice. What’s actually in the gravy? You probably don’t want to know. I kind of liked it at first but the more I had, the more I was convinced it was not something that should accompany barbecue. It’s just…weird.
There are 14 locations of Maurice’s Piggie Park in central SC, but if you find your taste in barbecue to be similar to the Barbecue Bros (or at least me), you really don’t need to bother.
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 2.5 Hogs
Pork – 2 Hogs
Sides – 2 Hogs
Overall – 2 Hogs