Rodney Scott’s BBQ – Charleston, SC (Speedy’s take)

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Name: Rodney Scott’s BBQ
Date: 8/1/18
Address: 1011 King St, Charleston, SC 29403
Order: Pork and Rib Combo, fries/hush puppies, 6 smoked wings) (link to menu)
Price: $20 (combo), $6 (wings)

Speedy: Recently, I took a trip to Charleston with the extended family, so I knew I had to convince my brother and cousins to leave behind the wives and kids for a few hours to hit eat some ‘cue and drink some brews. Our first stop was Rodney Scott’s BBQ.

Of course I had heard of Rodney Scott before, but I had never been to either his Hemingway or Charleston location, so to say I was excited was a bit of an understatement. I knew I had to try both the pork and the ribs, and thankfully there was a combo plate on the menu, so despite the fact that I knew I had a second lunch coming up, I knew what I had to do. The best part – real-life Bro picked up the check. Just kidding – (spoiler alert!) the chopped pork was the best part, but the Bro paying was the second best part.

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After ordering, the food was brought out promptly, and it was time to dig in. I’ll start with the flagship of the restaurant – the whole hog chopped pork. Though we were in South Carolina, this was classic eastern NC ‘cue – smoked until perfectly tender, chopped fine, and sauced with the perfect vinegary, peppery dip. I loved the tang of the meat and don’t think I would change a thing. On his visit, Monk left Rodney Scott’s feeling mildly disappointed, but thinking back on it just makes me smile. I never tried any of the table sauce, because none was needed.

Monk: To clarify, I was only disappointed compared with that first bite at the legendary Scott’s BBQ in Hemingway, which was in the top 5 of barbecue meals I’ve ever had. My anticipation of that whole hog only grew exponentially in the almost 4 years between, so my visit was a slight letdown only compared with my (somewhat unfair) enormous expectations. On my next visit to Rodney Scott’s, I’m sure I’ll be able to properly appreciate it.

Also, while we tend to think of whole hog as eastern NC, the Pee Dee region of SC (basically, the northeastern corner bordering NC) has their own whole hog tradition which has its similarities. That’s what Rodney Scott draws from as does Elliot Moss of Buxton Hall Barbecue in Asheville, being that he is originally from the Florence, SC area. It makes sense when you look at it geographically.

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Speedy: The ribs, which Monk didn’t try, were also enjoyable. They were big, meaty, and cooked perfectly. I really enjoy dry rubbed ribs, which usually are extremely heavily seasoned and not sauced at all. These ribs were different in that they were not heavily seasoned and had only a hint of a glaze, so the pork flavor and the smoke really shined through. I think Rodney Scott did exactly what he wanted with these ribs, and I would recommend everyone try them, but they were very good but not transcendent to me. I did put some spicy sauce on for a taste, but it wasn’t really needed (though it went well). Overall, a very good effort and as a “second meat” at a joint, pretty impressive.

Monk: I definitely want to try the ribs next time. Everyone knows that Speedy is the rib guy of the bros, but I’ve read good things about them, including how Rodney Scott really cooked them for the first time at the 2017 Big Apple BBQ Block Party (talk about pressure). I’d be interested in tasting some of the other menu items as well such as fried catfish or the ribeye sandwich.

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Speedy: The smoked wings were good for what they are, but they themselves are not a reason to visit Rodney Scott’s. They had a nice dry rub and were smoked well, but I could have used a little more sauce. Wing tastes are so variable, and these just weren’t as good as the pork or ribs.

In addition to my ordered sides (hush puppies and fries), I also sampled the collards. The hush puppies were very good, the fries above average, but the collards were amazing. They had chunks of pork in and were seriously some of the best collards I’ve ever had.

To top off this awesome meal, I was able to chat briefly with the man Rodney Scott himself. For most of the time we were there, he was walking around the dining room making sure everyone was having a great meal, which we were. As a double bonus, Darius Rucker came in to eat. Surprisingly, he didn’t recognize me, so we didn’t get to chat, but it’s good to know that Rucker knows both 90s rock and barbecue.

Monk:  Unless Speedy is leaving something out here, I gotta say how surprised I am that he managed to keep his composure and not go all Chris Farley Show on Rucker – “Hey, remember when you were in Hootie and the Blowfish? That was awesome.”

Well done, Speedy.

Speedy: Overall, this was the best barbecue meal I’ve had in Charleston, maybe in SC. Our whole group agreed – we will be back to Rodney Scott’s.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 3 hogs
Pulled Pork – 4.5 hogs
Ribs – 4 hogs
Wings – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 4.5 hogs
Overall – 4.5 hogs

Linkdown: 5/9/18

– So this happened Monday night:

Rodney Scott is the first African-American to win Best Chef: Southeast and second pitmaster to win a JBFA

– Chris Prieto of PRIME Barbecue broke ground in Knightdale Monday for his new barbecue restaurant

– Sure thing, guys:

– This Charlotte Five guide to Best Charlotte diner’s, drive-in’s, and dives includes the  Bar-B-Q King drive-in

– Bar-B-Q King (opened in 1959), Art’s BBQ (1976), and Bill Spoon’s Barbecue (1963) are all on this list of iconic Charlotte restaurants open for over 20 years

– The Smoking Ho has some cool photos from last week’s Red Dirt BBQ & Music Festival in Tyler

– Midwood Smokehouse has several lunch options under $10

– For potential Mother’s Day gift needs:

Linkdown: 9/7/16

– Sneak peek of Scott’s Bar-B-Que second outpost opening in Charleston

– More on B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque opening their second location in Atlanta

– The Drawn Cutlass reviewed the recently-opened Midwood Smokeshack in Matthews a few days after it opened

– EDIA Maps is curating The Great NC BBQ & Brewery Tour October 1-16

– The origins of the Weber Grill from Smithsonian

– Daniel Vaughn of TMBBQ on The New Carolina Barbecue that includes Sam Jones BBQ, Picnic, Buxton Hall Barbecue, and Old Etowah Smokehouse

– Is “barbecue” for squares?

Linkdown: 8/31/16

– The 2nd edition of the Great NC BBQ Map will be available tomorrow

Charlotte Observer has coverage of it and as well as a release event at the Levine Museum of the New South this Saturday

– Is Virginia the true birthplace of barbecue in the US? This man thinks so, and has written a forthcoming book about it

A mild-mannered technology consultant by day, Haynes, 54, is on a mission to save Virginia barbecue from obscurity. In 2016, he succeeded in getting the Virginia General Assembly to designate May through October as Virginia Barbecue Season. He runs a blog called Obsessive Compulsive Barbecue that’s heavy on Virginia tidbits. He’s trying to market three Virginia-style sauces that he developed. And in September, his book, “Virginia Barbecue: A History” (Arcadia Publishing), is due in stores.

– Here’s a guide to Virginia barbecue regions by sauce

– Bill Spoon’s make a USA Today list of “barbecue restaurants worth a pilgrimage”

– Grant’s first impression of Tennessee barbecue joints along US-27: “pretty good, not great”

– Sweet P’s Barbeque and Soul House in Knoxville, on the other hand, was “downright excellent”

– Looks like Rodney Scott is joining the Charleston barbecue party by the end of the year

– Here’s an exclusive interview from Garden & Gun

– And B’s Cracklin’ BBQ of Savannah, GA is opening an Atlanta outpost this fall

– The more you know:

Friday Find: Why The Best Southern Barbecue Takes Weeks to Make

Another Eater and Southern Foodways Alliance video

Rodney Scott cooked his first whole pig at 11 years old, sealing his fate to become a barbecue pit master. Today, he runs the pit his parents — Roosevelt and Ella — opened in a converted garage in 1972: Scott’s BBQ, in Hemingway, South Carolina. Watch the video above from the Southern Foodways Alliance to learn more.

Linkdown: 7/6/16

– After their campaign stop Tuesday afternoon, Obama and Hillary stopped by Midwood for pork and brisket (Obama) and chicken and ribs (Hillary)

– Village Voice takes you behind the scenes with the pitmasters the night before the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party

– Scott’s BBQ is closed this week, returning a week from today

– For the home smoker, an Epicurious writer says he’s over lump hardwood charcoal because “it’s expensive, burns too hot, and doesn’t last long enough”

– Monroe, NC gets its first craft beer bar, and it also serves barbecue – Southern Range Craft Beer & BBQ

– Food Republic has the lowdown on barbecue hash, with help from Elliot Moss among others

– Time has listicles of 8 Incredible BBQ Spots in Texas (with help from Daniel Vaughn of TMBBQ) as well as 8 Best BBQ Spots in the Carolinas (with help from Rien Fertel)

– Business Insider teams with Foursquare for their list of top 50 barbecue joints ranked

– Southern Living barbecue editor Robert Moss has released an updated 2016 list of the best barbecue joints in the south

Linkdown: 2/4/15

– This NY Times article on the sisterhood of women chefs in NC is great, though I don’t really get the following line on “barbecue kids” – is this a euphemism for “hipsters”?

Ms. [Nathalie] Dupree, who lives in Charleston, put it a little more bluntly. “North Carolina has always been a place where food was very important, but the men were always more interested in the macho-boy stuff that attracts the barbecue kids these days,” she said. “So the women were free to make all the rest of the food.”

– Tyson Ho checks in with his latest blog entry for Serious Eats on how he picks and scavenges for equipment and other goods when another restaurant closes

– This post on how to help your local bbq joints was written with Texas joints in mind due to beef’s historically high prices, but can apply to local joints wherever you happen to be

– “Barbecue sandwich” is one of 16 sandwiches in Our State Magazine’s Southern Sandwich Tournament; here is their travel guide to each sandwich

– Destination BBQ’s blog has a map that helps make finding SC BBQ easier

– Home Team BBQ is opening a downtown Charleston location by Labor Day 2015

– From last summer, 5 questions with Bethanie Schemel of KC Barbecue Tours in Taste Trekkers (our list is here btw)

– Queen City Q is celebrating 3 years of being open next week with the special release of Susie Q Smoked IPA from Birdsong Brewing, named after the owner of the restaurant

– Speaking of beer and barbecue, NoDa Brewing and Midwood Smokehouse are coming together for a Texas-themed “Crossroads Cue Supper” with James Beard-winning author Robb Walsh; Speedy and I attended a similar event a little over 1.5 years ago with Sam Jones of Skylight Inn

– This week, Marie, Let’s Eat! checks out Porkie’s Original BBQ, a north Alabama joint in central Florida

– Last weekend, a barbecue was held to help benefit a local Charlotte firefighter battling cancer

– Two competitions have been posted on the NC BBQ Association website, one of them being the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival in Charlotte in May (our photos from last year)

– Scott’s Bar-B-Que is one of Thrillist’s best 13 restaurants in the south

Scott’s Bar-B-Que

Hemingway, SC
If you’ve never driven to the middle of the countryside or just a teensy town whose closest large city is the #1 destination for 19-year-old Spring Breakers along the Carolina coasts, just for a lunch of smokey pulled pork, you’re lazy, but also it’s time to take a trip to Scott’s. The Variety Store and ‘cue spot has been operating since’72, and it’s truly a family affair with son Rodney as the pitmaster that brought them to national fame. Order a 1/2lb of pork, slow-smoked and well-seasoned overnight, get your sauce spicy — you finally took this pilgrimage, so make the best of it — ask for crispy, fresh-fried pork rinds like you’re a regular in the know, and, then, whatever you do, remember to get at least 2lbs of pork and a gallon of sauce to go. Because, sadly, you aren’t a regular, but you’ll want to eat like you are as long as possible.

– Via TMBBQ, Live Oak Barbecue in Austin has closed; Rudy tried it about a little over a year ago and was not a fan

– Finally, if you feel so inclined we’d be honored if you would vote us for Best Local Blog under “Media – Best Local” in Charlotte Magazine’s annual Best of the Best Awards

Linkdown: 10/8/14

– Congrats to Marie, Let’s Eat! on their 300th barbecue review, Blind Pig in Jackson, GA

– The NC Whole Hog Champion was crowned after this past week’s championship in Raleigh, and congratulations to Grillfather Cooking Team of Roanoke Rapids, captained by Ernest Twisdale

A man and his two sons also participated as contestants in the Whole Hog Barbecue Championship this past weekend in Raleigh

– Charlotte Observer writes up next week’s Q City Charlotte BBQ Championship, which for the first time this year is a NC BBQ Association event

– Uncle Ho nears the opening day of Arrogant Swine

The first issue was getting my hogs. I have specific heritage breed pigs shipped up from North Carolina. Getting the logistics set up for them to arrive in time for me to cook is harrowing indeed. There’s really no last minute supplement either—it’s not like I can wander into any random supermarket and pick up a 200-pound pig if my delivery falls through.

Cook too much and you waste money. Cook too little and you not only lose sales, you also sour relationships with customers who made the trip to see you. It’s basically spinning a roulette wheel with over $20,000 all on red. If that’s thrilling to you, you’re in the right place. I, on the other hand, needed a midwife next to me reminding me to breathe while placing my orders.

– Congrats to BSA Troop 33 for winning Creative Loafing’s Critic’s Choice for Best Barbecue (huh?); meanwhile, Midwood Smokehouse wins the reader’s choice for best barbecue

– The Great NC BBQ Map gets more coverage, this time from Paste Magazine

– Mac’s Speed Shop buys a former auto shop in Greensboro and plans to expand there

– Charlotte Business Journal interviews Mike and Anna Hicks, owners of Carolina BBQ in Spartanburg, SC

– Here and Now reports on how politics and barbecue are intertwined in North Carolina

Scott’s Bar-B-Que gets mentioned in yet another barbecue list (via)

– John Lewis of la Barbecue to open a barbecue restaurant called Lewis Barbecue in Charleston next spring and as a result I just so happen to be planning a trip to Charleston for the late spring/early summer

– Speaking of John Lewis and Charleston, this:

– Charlotte, NC is the #1 “Best Big-City Bargain” according to Money Magazine and Midwood Smokehouse gets a brief shoutout