Sweatman’s Bar-B-Que – Holly Hill, SC

Name: Sweatman’s Bar-B-Que
Address: 1427 Eutaw Rd, Holly Hill, SC 29059
Order: Barbecue sandwich with hash and rice and banana puddin’ (link to menu)
Pricing: $

Monk: Holy crap, you guys. I mean, holy crap. Sweatman’s Bar-B-Que has been on my list for a few years now, considering how I tend to get to Charleston a couple times a year and Holly Hill is not super out of the way if you are willing to take the scenic route off I-26 just east of Columbia around Orangeburg. Based on my visit, its a detour well worth taking.

Sweatman’s has been around since 1977 and according to Grant’s story over at Marie, Let’s Eat! in 2016, the current owners Mark and Lynn Behr bought the restaurant from their friends and original owners Bub and Margie Sweatman in 2011. Thankfully, it appears they have continued the practice of cooking whole hogs over coals for 12-14 hours.

As this was going to be a late afternoon snack, I did not opt for the full buffet line, instead ordering a a sandwich with a side of hash and rice. The waitress obviously sensed a weakness for ‘naner pudding in me by suggesting I also get it, but it wasn’t too much of a stretch considering its only $1.50 with tax.

The main building of Sweatman’s appears to have had a larger dining room added onto it at some point over the years, and that thing was like stepping back into the 80’s in the south but in the best way.

I bit into my barbecue sandwich and darnit if it wasn’t a near transcendent bite of barbecue. The wood smoke shone through each bite and was accentuated by the sweet and tangy mustard barbecue sauce. This was different than almost every other midlands South Carolina mustard-based barbecue sandwich I’ve had where the shredded pork is drowning in the sauce. The sauce here still let the wood smoke be the star and was content to act as a supporting actor.

The hash and rice was the co-star, if my forced metaphor hasn’t begun to completely break down yet. I’ve only had one other “200 mile” hash and rice before and that was at True BBQ in West Columbia. This was on par with that. I still don’t have the vocabulary to properly describe hash and rice, but this savory-gravy-over-rice-dish is a must-order at Sweatman’s.

Briefly about that banana pudding – it was quite simply one of the best naner puddings I’ve had ever. I wish I had gotten at least 2 more for the rest of the weekend (slash the rest of my meal). What a capper to the meal.

Sweatman’s Bar-B-Que is absolutely worth the detour but be aware that its only open two days a week on Fridays and Saturdays. So be sure to plan your pilgrimage accordingly.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 4 hogs
Pork – 5 hogs
Sides – 5 hogs
Overall – 5 hogs

For other reviews of Sweatman’s, check out
Marie, Let’s Eat!
Destination BBQ

Sweatman's BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday Find: Zagat Discovers the Soul of South Carolina Barbecue

Zagat explores the different meats and side dishes of South Carolina barbecue in a short documentary entitled “Hogs & Hash: Discovering the Soul of South Carolina BBQ”.

BBQ in South Carolina means whole hogs, hash, and plenty of mustard sauce. And although certain areas and establishments don’t abide by all of these features, the passion these pitmasters have to carry on the legacy of their state’s barbecue reputation unites them.

 

Linkdown: 4/19/16

Eastern NC barbecue is coming to Etowah in Western NC from one of the guys behind the Bling Pig Supper Club in Asheville

– Whereas Elliott Moss was the first to bring whole hog barbecue to the area so here’s a profile from Food Republic

– The final stops for Grant on his barbecue tour of (mostly North) Carolina barbecue joints: a Lexington Barbecue redux, Richard’s in Salisbury, and Mike & Jeff’s BBQ Diner in Greenville

– B’s BBQ and Lexington Barbecue make this list of 25 Restaurants You Have To Visit In North Carolina Before You Die

– The BBQ on the Bluff competition is this weekend in Fair Bluff, NC

– Would NC uniting under a mustard-based barbecue sauce lead to the immediate repeal of HB#2? Charlotte Magazine thinks so in this tongue-in-cheek article

– Some are even getting their own Heinz barbecue sauce…

Linkdown: 12/9/15

– Robert Moss follows the mustard line from SC down through Georgia and into Florida

– If you are looking for a gift for the NC barbecue or beer lover in your life:

– Daniel Vaughn explores the greaseballs of Southwest Texas at Patillo’s Bar-B-Q

-Johnny Fugitt profiles Smokee Mo’s BBQ for St. Louis Magazine

– Marie, Let’s Eat! revisits the 50 year old Hickory Hut BBQ in Dallas, GA

– NPR’s The Salt food blog profiles Sam Jones’ new barbecue joint, Sam Jones BBQ

To understand the significance of Sam Jones BBQ, you have to understand the place in the barbecue firmament. And you have to start with barbecue’s place in the Tar Heel state. Aficionados regard North Carolina not only as a capital of barbecue, but a cradle of the cuisine. It is as central as basketball to the state’s identity.

But so many barbecue joints have replaced wood with gas that some folks feared the impending death of all-wood pit cooking. The North Carolina Barbecue Society estimated a few years ago that only 30 wood-pit barbecue restaurants were left in the state. To diehards, the demise of traditional wood-smoked barbecue in North Carolina would be tantamount to a death in the family. Maybe worse.