Dukes Bar-B-Q – Orangeburg, SC

Name: Duke’s Bar-B-Q
Date: 4/14/22
Address: 801-813 Chestnut St, Orangeburg, SC 29115
Order: Large barbecue plate with hash and rice and slaw
Pricing: $

Monk: Along interstates 26, 95, and 20 in South Carolina, you are certain to see signs for a number of Duke’s Bar-B-Q’s. While these are not all part of the same chain of restaurants per se, they are all loosely connected to the Duke’s barbecue lineage which goes back decades in the midlands of the Palmetto State.

Each store is independently owned an operated, and according to Destination BBQ this plain white cinder block building off Chesnut Street in Orangeburg is just down the road from the original Dukes Bar-B-Q that was opened by Earl Dukes in 1955 and launched the Dukes Bar-B-Q brand. That building sat less than a mile away but closed some years ago. This store is operated by Earl’s nephew Harry Ott, Jr and his wife Ann; Harry’s mother Elma was the sister of Earl and he learned the recipes from his other Uncle Danny in addition to Uncle Earl.

Not much has likely changed since 1975 when the Otts moved from their original location in St Matthews, and this rectangular box that is lit by fluorescent lights has a dining room with checkerboard table cloths at the front with the kitchen separated by the counter and serving area. Also going back to 1975, be sure to have cash on hand as they don’t take cards.

At Dukes, a large plate will get you a generous portion of hash and rice as well as barbecue topped with their mustard sauce and a side of slaw. The chopped pork was fine and the slaw inoffensive but for me, the draw was the hash and rice which isn’t overly sweet. I’m still a newbie when it comes to hash and rice, but I enjoyed the Dukes version of it which has a more orange tint than what I tried a few days earlier at new school Palmira Barbecue in Charleston.

New school is something Dukes definitely is not, but that’s a feature not a bug. Sitting four miles off I-26 in Orangeburg, check out Dukes Bar-B-Q for a classic, old school South Carolina barbecue experience.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pork – 3 hogs
Hash – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 3 hogs
Overall – 3 hogs

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

Monk’s Favorite Barbecue of 2021

Monk: While my hunch is that I had roughly as much barbecue as last year, I suspect the ratio of mediocre barbecue to great barbecue was higher than in past years. There’s always highlights to pick out, but let’s hope next year is a more favorable ratio.

In alphabetical order:

Jon G’s remains the gold standard for the Charlotte area. And it seems that the rest of the southeast is starting to catch on with Eater Carolinas naming them “Barbecue Restaurant of the Year” and Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn raving about them in an article from mid 2021. The future for Garren and Kelly remain bright.

Chopped pork sandwich from Noble Smoke – Charlotte, NC

Some of the meats at Noble Smoke can be a little hit or miss for me, but the Lexington-style chopped barbecue sandwich is ever reliable.

Speedy has said he often thinks the ribs at Peg Leg Porker are the best in the state of Tennessee, and who am I to argue? The full wings are also a must-order.

Randy’s ribs are a sub-regional variety with a sauce that I understand is found primarily in the Savannah area. It expanded my framework as to what barbecue is in different parts of the US.

Life-changing whole hog. So far I’ve only made it to Sam Jones’ outpost in Raleigh but I can’t wait to try this same tray at Skylight Inn this spring.

Sausage, wings, hash and rice, ribs, brisket, and turkey from Sweet Lew’s BBQ – Charlotte, NC (link to post)

Between the house-made sausage, the barbecue hash, and Lewis Donald’s ever-constant tweaking of his main meats, Sweet Lew’s continues to evolve, and I’m here for the the journey.

It’s a shame that Whispering Pines was takeout only but I’ll make the hour drive to Albemarle again I’m sure. Great Lexington-style barbecue.

Friday Find: Kevins’ BBQ Joints Interviews Elliott Moss

Monk: Kevin spoke with Elliott Moss recently in a wide-ranging conversation starting with his earliest memories of barbecue to how he got into cooking first at a Chic-Fil-A then The Admiral in Asheville, where he was awarded a James Beard Nomination, to the thought process behind Buxton Hall. Elliott also goes into detail about the dishes on his menu that make the restaurant in his mind: whole hog barbecue, barbecue hash, and chicken bog. I’ve read a lot on Moss both in his cookbook as well as various profiles online but this was perhaps the first time I’ve heard his voice in an audio interview.

Moss seems to be in a good place mentally and emotionally despite the pandemic, and it can seemingly be attributed to his decision to quit drinking last July. Between that and roller blading, his mind is as clear as its been in quite some time. Which is great for him.

Description: In this episode I chat with Chef Elliott Moss from Buxton Hall Barbecue in Asheville, North Carolina.

See all things Buxton Hall Barbecue here: http://www.buxtonhall.com
Visit Buxton Hall Barbecue here: 32 Banks, Ave., Asheville, NC. 28801
Give Buxton Hall Barbecue a call here: 828-232-7216
Current hours: 11:30am – 8:30pm – Tuesday – Sunday
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Hours: Open Friday and Saturday: 11:30am – 9pm – Sunday’s and Monday’s 12pm – 6pm
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