Palmira Barbecue – Charleston, SC

Name: Palmira Barbecue
Date: 4/11/22
Address: 99 S. Market Street, Charleston, SC 29401
Order: Whole hog barbecue, hash and rice, beans, slaw, and collards (link to menu)
Pricing: $$

Monk: As has been well documented, Charleston has experienced a bit of a barbecue renaissance the past few years. Swig N’ Swine and Home Team Barbecue have expanded onto and around the peninsula. Rodney Scott started his self-titled barbecue empire in Charleston in 2017 And now has locations in Birmingham, Homewood, AL, and Atlanta. John Lewis started Lewis Barbecue around the block from Home Team BBQ’s downtown location and Lewis has since opened his border cuisine restaurant Rancho Lewis. Then, in recent years, Palmira Barbecue entered the Charleston barbecue chat.

Hector Garate named Palmira Barbecue after his grandmother and his approach to barbecue reflects both his Cuban and Puerto Rican heritage. He got his start at pop-ups at local breweries, but last fall the Port of Call Food + Brew Hall came…er, calling. Port of Call is what I would consider to be a mini-food hall at the former Bubba Gump Shrimp Company location right off the market. It has a great biergarten-style courtyard with an outdoor bar, 2 more indoor bars, and 5 total food stall options: Italian, Greek street food, Asian Fusion, acai and poke bowls as well as a raw bar. I found it to be a great concept and while business was a little slow on a Monday evening I have been told it gets pretty packed on the weekend.

Palmira offers smoked whole hog every day of the week and on the weekends expands its menu to include some combination of beef cheeks, brisket, beef barbacoa, and house-made sausage. The approach is “farm-to-pit” and for the whole hog, Garate partners with Marvin Ross of Peculiar Pig Farms in nearby Summerville for the heritage hogs that he smokes. The result is flavorful barbecue that is pulled and mixed by hand. Garate spent some time in eastern NC, and perhaps some of that influences his whole hog. Fantastic stuff.

Garate also offers hash and rice most days, a dish that Hector apparently loves and eats daily according to his interview with the Tales from the Pits podcast episode earlier this year. For his hash, he smokes the pig head that goes into the hash and pours the meat gravy over Carolina Gold rice. I might go for a double order next time around.

The Cuban and Puerto Rican influence really came through for me in the sides. The beans have a “Puerto RIcan twist” in the form of I believe sofrito. The Palmira slaw is vinegar-based but nothing like you’d have in either eastern or western North Carolina. The collards pack quite a kick in the form of spice on the back end.

Big things appear to be on the horizon for Hector Garate and Palmira Barbecue. Instead of waiting for a pricey smoker to be built and delivered to him, Hector built his own smoker and will soon be expanding into smoker building for other customers – Cienfuegos Smokers.

Port of Call Food + Brew Hall is a fine start, but I can see Hector expanding to his own brick and mortar for a second location before too long. In short, based on my experience I expect to see more of Palmira Barbecue and its sustainable approach to whole hog and Texas barbecue around Charleston in the near future.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3.5 hogs
Pork – 4.5 hogs
Hash – 4.5 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 4.5 hogs

Friday Find: Robert Moss talks barbecue history on Tales from the Pits

Monk: While the Tales from the Pits guys were in Charleston in early March, they recorded a podcast interview with Robert Moss, who lives in Mount Pleasant. In it, they nerd out a little on barbecue history, discuss among other things the Holy Smokes Barbecue Festival, and Robert also gives a few under the radar barbecue recommendations for South Carolina, North Carolina, and Texas.

Description:
We were thrilled to have the chance to sit down with Robert F. Moss during our recent trip to South Carolina for the Charleston Wine + Food Festival. Robert is a wealth of culinary knowledge and the research he’s done on barbecue history is second to none. Born and raised in South Carolina, Robert is an accomplished author who has had several books published on Barbecue, spirits, and other facets of culinary history. He’s an absolute wealth of information and in this episode we discussed topics ranging from modern barbecue, historical barbecue, and Robert’s daunting task of composing Southern Living’s 50 Best Barbecue Places in the South list. 

Tune in to hear some great stories on barbecue history and be sure to pick up Robert’s incredible books. Go to his website to sign up for his ‘Cue Sheet newsletter.

Robert F. Moss
Twitter: mossr
Instagram: robertfmoss
Website: robertfmoss.com

Thank you to Charleston Wine + Food for helping to facilitate our recordings during this trip
Website: charlestonwineandfood.com

Linkdown: 4/27/22

Native News

At Port-A-Pit BBQ in Statesville, they serve the public as well as help the community fundraise

BBQ King gets a segment on Spectrum News 1

Old Colony Smokehouse looks like it should be added to my list

The Smoke Pit is one of the recommended places to eat when in Concord just north of Charlotte

The best barbecue places in Eastern NC according to WNCT’s analysis of TripAdvisor data

Get tickets to the Carolina BBQ Festival while you can

Non-Native News

The first in a series of articles from the great Hanna Raskin leading up to the Southern Foodways Alliance Fall Symposium on Barbecue. Can’t wait to read the rest.

John Lewis has brought “border food” to the lowcountry with Rancho Luis

I know nothing about any of these restaurants in NoVa, but here you go

Another national list

The famed Tootsie Tomanetz of Snow’s BBQ celebrated her 87th birthday last Thursday

Friday Find: Palmira BBQ on Tales from the Pits

Monk: Hector Garate brings his Puerto Rican and Cuban influences to whole hog barbecue and his approach to barbecue at Palmira BBQ (named for his grandmother). I’ll have more on Palmira in the coming weeks (particularly the hash and rice), but in the meantime enjoy this short conversation from Charleston Wine + Food with the Tales from the Pit guys.

Description: Hector Garate has combined the inspiration of his heritage, his upbringing, and modern techniques to create a menu at Palmira BBQ in Charleston that produces high quality items from top to bottom. Serving high quality meats and flavorful, carefully crafted sides, Palmira has burst onto the barbecue scene and quickly become one to watch.

In addition to being open seven days a week, Hector and his partner chef Graham Calabria have also launched Cienfuegos, a pit building business inspired by the direct heat cookers Hector built to cook the heritage breed hogs he serves at Palmira.

Check out Hector’s story and be sure to add a stop at Palmira BBQ to your next Charleston trip.

Palmira BBQ
Instagram: PalmiraBBQ
Located inside Port of Call Food Hall
99 S Market St
Charleston, SC