Hite’s BBQ – West Columbia, SC

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Name
: Hite’s BBQ
Date: 5/20/17
Address: 240 Dreher Rd, West Columbia, SC 29169
Order: Barbecue plate with hash and rice, slaw, and roll (link to menu)
Price: $8

Monk: Back in early 2015, John T. Edge’s article about Hite’s BBQ in Garden & Gun Magazine initially put the joint on my radar. Due to the fact that I don’t make it down to Columbia all that often plus the fact that Hite’s is only open Fridays and Saturdays meant that it would still be over 2+ years before I would be able to finally check it out. Not that I hadn’t tried before unsuccessfully, making the trek down the day before this past New Year’s Eve specifically to check out Hite’s only to find out they were closed. Hite’s is a family operation so I definitely couldn’t begrudge them for not being open before a holiday, but it meant that I would have to wait another 6 months before eventually checking them out.

Hite’s is a takeout only joint run out of a simple cinder block building but does have a few picnic tables overlooking a small lake on the property which apparently has 3 generations of Hite’s living on it.

The menu is very simple, with choice of sandwiches, plates or takeaway pounds of either whole hog, ribs, or chicken. The pork was a tad dry on this day and though mustard will never be my favorite style of barbecue sauce with pork it was still quite good.

Hash and rice comes standard with each plate and was my favorite part of the meal. Not that it’s quite as good as the hash a mile and a half down the road at True BBQ, but it’s still pretty dang good nonetheless.

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There was nothing special about the slaw, which I didn’t feel the need to finish. The rolls that came standard with each plate were fine but in the interest of saving my stomach from the carbs, I saved them for my daughter to have at the beach later that week.

After my meal, I snapped a few photos around the property, including the Hite St sign and the huge stacks of split logs behind the joint before current owner David Hite (grandson of original owner John D. Hite) was kind enough to invite me to check out the pit room. At that point, all of the hogs were off the pits so it was just chicken, so I quickly snapped a few shots when he revealed the pit. I spoke with him for just a few minutes about the family operation behind Hite’s and the requests he sometimes gets from various news outlets (which he isn’t always to accommodate due to the joint’s limited schedule). I certainly appreciated David taking some time to chat with me.

Hite’s BBQ wasn’t necessarily my favorite barbecue of the vacation week (more on that in the coming weeks) but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it for folks passing through Columbia looking for a taste of true midlands SC-style barbecue.

For more reviews of Hite’s BBQ, check out:
Marie, Let’s Eat!

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 3 hogs
Pork – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 3.5 hogs
Hite's Bar B Que Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

True BBQ – West Columbia, SC

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Name
: True BBQ
Date: 12/30/16
Address: 1237 D Ave, West Columbia, SC 29169
Order: Small barbecue dinner with hash and rice, collards, and slaw (link to menu)
Price: $13.01

Monk: Ever since reading this Garden & Gun Magazine article last year about Hite’s BBQ in West Columbia, it shot to the top of my list. Being that it’s only open on Fridays and Saturdays, I took the opportunity during my week off between Christmas and New Year’s to make the trip to Columbia specifically to check it out on a Friday, only to find this:

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Nevertheless, my other planned stop was True BBQ not more than a mile away so I decided that I would head there and would figure out my second stop later.

During my research for the quick trip, I checked Marie, Let’s Eat! (as I always do when it comes to barbecue in the southeast) and True BBQ was received very favorably by those folks so at that point it was a no-brainer for me.

Speedy: Grant actually specifically mentioned seeing you here on Instagram and being jealous. It seems he’s been a bit disappointed by the Chattanooga ‘cue…

Monk: Yea, I get that sense based on some of the latest chapters on the blog, which is too bad…

I had timed my trip to arrive in Columbia as close to 10 as possible (which ended up being more like 10:30) since Hite’s opens at 8am, but luckily True BBQ opens at 10:30 Wednesdays through Saturdays.

Seeing as how I was planning to eat another meal shortly after, I only ordered a small barbecue dinner. I’ll get the pork out of the way – it was a bit on the dry side, especially considering it was so early in the day and should have been freshly smoked. You get a choice of three sauces – the Pretty Lady mustard sauce, Sexy Lady red sauce, and Lexington vinegar sauce – and it needed it. Hopefully this isn’t the case normally.

Hash and rice is a dish that intrigues me more and more these days and at True BBQ it comes standard with every dinner along with two sides. This was damned good hash and rice and by far the best part of the meal. Next time, I may even get a double order as one of my sides. The collards were above average but the slaw was a bit of a letdown and would be my choice to be replaced by more hash and rice.

As an aside, apparently the pork chop is worth ordering since the only other customer there with me at 10:30 was raving about it to pitmaster Ernest Zanders who was back and forth between the kitchen and the smoker out in front of the building, which was the first thing I noticed pulling into the parking lot. So take that for what its worth for those who are considering ordering that item.

In addition to the pork, True BBQ has some daily specials like brisket and beef ribs that may or may not be worth checking out. But at the very least I can recommend the hash and rice. As Grant so succinctly put it, “it’s two-hundred mile hash.” Come to think of it, next time I may just go triple sides of hash and rice…

For more reviews of True BBQ check out:
Marie, Let’s Eat!
Destination BBQ
Eat It Atlanta

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 3 hogs
Pork – 2 hogs
Hash and Rice – 4.5 hogs
Sides – 2 hogs
Overall – 3 hogs
True BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
True BBQ

The Best Barbecue We Ate in 2016

Whole hog pulled pork plate

Whole hog pulled pork plate from Buxton Hall Barbecue

Q: What was the best barbecue (new or old) that you ate in 2016?

Monk: 

  • Whole hog barbecue from Buxton Hall Barbecue, Asheville – It’s simply a revelation that you can find true eastern NC/Pee Dee whole hog in the mountains of NC. I can’t wait to get back to Buxton Hall.
  • Lamb belly from Hometown Bar-B-Que, New York – I didn’t quite know what to expect with lamb belly. It was pulled similar to their pork but had completely different flavor profile. I don’t know where else I might be able to try it again that’s a little closer to home but I want to in 2017.
  • Hash and rice from True BBQ, West Columbia, SC – Grant of Marie Let’s Eat! said it best about the hash and rice from this West Columbia joint which opened in 2011: “It’s two-hundred mile hash.”

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Speedy:

  • Brisket from B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque, Atlanta – From review: “The seasoning was amazing, and the meat was tender and juicy. Overall, this was in the upper echelon of briskets that I’ve tasted.”
  • Beef rib from Hometown Bar-B-Qu, New York (above) – From review: “It was seasoned well, providing some bark on the outside, and was cooked to perfection – tender but not overly so.”
  • Chopped pork from Lexington Barbecue – Every year.

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Rudy:

  • Brisket and sausage sandwich from Black’s Barbecue, Austin (above) –   From review: “And it was amazing, because the fat from the brisket was soaked up by the bun, giving it a rich moist taste. The spice from the jalapenos also gave the sandwich some great flavor.  The brisket was the same great brisket you are accustomed to getting from Black’s, as was the sausage. “

What was the best barbecue you ate in 2016?

Linkdown: 9/23/15

– Rodney Scott has influenced Sean Brock. Here’s how:

– The history of smoking with mesquite wood

– Marie, Let’s Eat! makes a quick sojourn to SC and visits Hite’s and Little Pigs in the Columbia area, as well as Dennis’ Bar-B-Q on the way back home

– Washington Post’s glossary of NC barbecue terms and where to eat in NC

– Washington Post’s Jim Shahin: Why North Carolina’s Barbecue Scene is Still Smoldering

North Carolina barbecue is certainly at a crossroads, one that gets to the heart of questions about identity and authenticity, and the survival of pit-smoked pork establishments that eschew the everything-for-everybody approach once seemed unlikely. But Skylight Inn and Lexington Barbecue are on track to maybe prove that prediction wrong. And new places such as Picnic and Buxton Hall are helping spark a resurgence in creativity and respect for heritage that may help revive the scene. North Carolina barbecue might someday be removed from the endangered-species list, after all. I’ll hold off on that autopsy for now.