Monk: 2022 was yet another year of great barbecue. In addition to finally getting to spend some time in the eastern part of the state for whole hog (although still not nearly enough), I tried two of the best new school barbecue at Palmira Barbecue in Charleston and Lawrence Barbecue in Durham. In terms of North Carolina, in the last weeks of the year I ate at two of the best joints in Buxton Hall Barbecue and Stamey’s. Here are the meals in photos listed in alphabetical order.
Whole hog barbecue dinner from B’s Barbecue, Greenville, NC (link)
Whole hog and ribs from Buxton Hall Barbecue in Asheville (re-review coming soon)
Hash and rice from Duke’s Barbecue in Orangeburg, SC (link)
A little bit of everything from Jon G’s Barbecue in Peachland, NC
Pork, brisket, and sticky ribs from Lawrence Barbecue, Durham, NC (link)
Whole hog barbecue, hash and rice from Palmira BBQ, Charleston, NC (link)
Whole hog barbecue from Skylight Inn, Ayden, NC (link)
Chopped barbecue plate with extra brown from Stamey’s Barbecue, Greensboro, NC (re-review coming soon)
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.
Unfortunately for Daras, he doesn’t own the flagpole-sized plot, though, because Bessinger sold the flag pole and the land it’s sitting on to a Confederate veterans’ group, precisely so he could ensure it would never be taken down.
The South Slope area is quickly emerging as a gastronomic hotspot. Housed in a former skating rink, Buxton Hall (buxtonhall.com) offers a modern take on traditional barbecue in this throwback space. Enjoy plates of impossibly tender pork with vegetables cooked in the meat drippings, surrounded by the faded images of decades-old skating figures still visible on the walls. It also benefits from an in-house pastry chef who turns out superb sweet treats such as banana pudding pie to finish off a hearty, hog-based meal.
– NC joints get a shout out from Daniel Vaughn in this piece
Despite the difference in preferred protein, I think the closest style to Texas barbecue is in North Carolina. They cook primarily pork, but they still value cooking with wood just as much as we do in Texas.
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