My first (and last) time at Pete’s BBQ in Fort Mill, SC

Monk: On Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays for Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day weekends for the past 55 years, Pete Wheeles of Pete’s BBQ has been serving up barbecue out of his home in Fort Mill off India Hook Road. Earlier this week, the Charlotte Observer posted a story that this weekend would be the last one of service ever. Pete’s wasn’t really on my radar until that story but I made my way on the Friday of Memorial Day 2018 to check it out while I could. Getting there shortly before 9, I encountered about an hour’s long line of several dozen folks.

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Folks at Pete’s BBQ primarily order bulk orders for their holiday weekend plans – often several pounds of barbecue and several racks of ribs in addition to pounds of slaw or beans – so the line wasn’t moving at quite the clip I would have wanted for my much smaller order. Plus, I had no idea about the actual barbecue itself. After about 20 minutes, the line had moved about 50 feet. This was going to take a little longer than an hour.

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Forty minutes later, I approached the doorway of the shack. But may I say, I love this sign.

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Pete’s only takes cash or check and I had just gotten only $20 cash out of the ATM on my way there. And again, I had no idea of the barbecue itself, so I just went with a pound of barbecue and a pint of sauce and headed back to my car, passing a news truck on the way out.

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Waiting in line, I overheard someone stating that if someone hadn’t had Pete’s BBQ before then they were in for a treat. Unfortunately, that wasn’t quite the case for me. I found the barbecue to be oversauced to the point where I couldn’t detect any smoke in the meat. It wasn’t bad per se, but it just wasn’t my style of barbecue.

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Locals certainly seem to love Pete’s BBQ and showed out on the first day of their last weekend of service ever (some apparently lining up as early as 5am for a 7am opening). If you are reading this on Monday, May 28, 2018 there may still be some barbecue available (though once they run out they run out). If you are reading this anytime after, then you have missed it. Regardless of how I feel about the barbecue (which again, isn’t my style but different strokes etc.), 55 years is quite an achievement.

Congrats to Pete’s BBQ and enjoy the retirement.

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