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Good BBQ around Columbia, SC?

I'm going to be travelling through Columbia and was thinking of sampling some 'cue. Where should I check out. I've heard very mixed things about Maurice's. I think there's a place called Shealey's that has received some positive word. Any tips would be appreciated.

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  1. I avoid Maurice's.

    Shealy's is a few miles west of town in Batesburg-Leesville. Their chicken is better than their 'que, but it's all pretty good.

    Consider Little Pig's on Alpine Road. I like it. Also Boar's Nest off I-26 near Irmo. Or Hudson's Smokehouse on 378 toward Lexington.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ellen of SC

      I second Boar's Nest and Hudsons. But Little Pig's on Alpine Rd. is so much closer to your route and par to the prior mentioned.

    2. Hi albini!

      What day(s) of the week will you be traveling and what road(s)? The best BBQ in SC will not be found in Columbia and will generally be available Thursday-Saturday. If you are in Columbia on Friday or Saturday I would suggest you drop by Hite's, on Dreher Rd. in West Columbia. They slow cook whole hogs over wood coals. Ask for a pound or two of "rib cut". You will not be disappointed, I promise. It's by far the best I've had in the area. Hite's is take out only.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Cpt Wafer

        I'm going to be going through town this Monday and Friday, just passing through, going between Charlotte and Charleston, but I'm willing to make a bit of a detour for some good grub. On the Friday I'll definitely stop by Hite's for takeout. I'll be heading to Statesville, NC, that day - about 45 min. north of Charlotte. Hopefully it'll still be good by the time I arrive (I'm sure it will).

        I'm also going to start another thread for good bbq along the route, not just Columbia.

        Thanks for the tips.

        1. re: albini

          albini, just make sure you ask for rib cut, not ribs. Also tell them you want all "flat meat", no loin, and you'll be golden.

          1. re: Cpt Wafer

            Yes, go with Hite's as was suggested. And the rib cut is mighty good - I am craving it right now. Bring a cooler and you'll be fine on the way to Statesville. Little Pig's is also one of my favorites. Another good place for next time is Farm Boy's in Chapin (off I-26) - they have mustard and vinegar/pepper based.

      2. Little Pig gets a vote from me. Buffet for $8.95 but most of the sides are not too great. Go for the greens and hush puppies. Pulled pork and chicken were good but the half of whole hog to pick from was outstanding.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Wineman

          Yep! That's the ticket - the picking pig over to one side of the main buffet. Mmmm.

        2. Here's one place you might choose to skip: Po Pigs on Knox Abbott Drive. Though I've always known their pork is roasted-not-smoked, I have eaten there on occasion because of decent prices, moist pork, and very good fried chicken.

          Last night's visit, however, was dismal. The buffet wasn't being replenished at all. I picked many pieces of fat from the pork. Bread was stale. The hushpuppies were strangely spicy. (?!?) And service left a lot to be desired.

          I should have known not to enter at all - When stepping from the car my foot landed in a nasty deposit of chewing tobacco. ***shudder***

          Here's hoping the management will get it together...

          1. Hi!

            I lived in Columbia for a short time for work.

            I have two faves for BBQ.

            Millenders in West Columbia is the best for your mustard based sauce. The best night to go is Thursday as they roast and pick the pigs that day. I've spent many a evening with the ladies there helping pick pig. The mustard sauce is great, the fried chicken is great, the sides are good, the people who own it and work there are the salt of the earth.

            I also liked a place out by the airport called grrrrrrr, I can't think of it right now! Their sides are VERY good and include home-made potatoe chips which alone are worth the price of admission. Their pork is awesome and they have not only the SC mustard based sauce but also a tangy red sauce, ah, yes the name is Dukes.

            Millenders is open Thursday- Saturday and Dukes is Friday and Saturday only if memory serves.

            Please let us know where you end up!!!!

            2 Replies
              1. re: Ellen of SC

                Oh...I am sad to hear that. Can you please tell me when they closed? Does it look like hey've sold the property?

            1. Oh, and check out the chain "lizzard's Thicket" for sort of fast food souther food. Their fried chicken is AWESOME and their sides are great too! It's not really fast food.

              Rush's is good for a fast burger.

              1. Millender's closed about 2 years ago (maybe a little less). From what I can see from the interstate the property is still for sale, but it's very hard to get to now. They did some strange stuff to the interstate and the frontage road.

                I like Dukes by the Airport. They are one of the few places that still puts fatback on their buffet line.

                The last time I ate at Bo-B-Q I did not enjoy it. Also the last time I ate at Palmetto Pig near the University the meat tasted like it had been frozen. Not tasty at all.

                3 Replies
                1. re: scbuzz

                  I agree about Po Pigs. I can't stand it. Their sauce is too salty and the mac and cheese is terrible. My husband always went on and on about the Bo B Q (same company, I think) on Edisto saying it was better, but I tried it recently and it was full of fat and funny pieces!

                  1. re: scbuzz

                    Looks as though Bo-B-Que is history. I was by there a few days ago and the sign now says Hudson's Express. Should be a major improvement.

                  2. Another BBQ place not worth the trip is Doc's BBQ on Shop Road. The BBQ was not good, the sauce is PURE vinegar and the whole place smelled of some type of cleaning chemical.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: scbuzz

                      While I agree the bbq is a definite "skip it", the fried chicken is great!

                    2. Thanks, scbuzz. Doc's had been on my list to try.

                      Now it isn't.

                      1. No idea about BBQ there but otherwise very much recommend Goat Feathers at 5 Points.

                        ... there's an old chowish thread here that mentions it, and has a couple BBQ recommendations too:

                        1. Ok...I was devastated when Millenders closed. I have eaten at hundreds of BBQ restaurants in my lifetime, all through Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Fla, Ga, SC, NC. Millender's by far was my favorite BBQ restaurant of any place Ive ever eaten. They set the bar by which I compare other places to. The chicken, ribs, and most especially the hash were so damn good! Except for the hash, each item by itself werent blue-ribbon prize winners... It was the whole package that made it a good eating place. The gravel parking lot,{edit} the "B" on the door :), the waferboard walls & tables, the red checkered plastic table cloths. The little hole in the wall where you put your plates. The cracklin' on the buffet, the fresh WHITE BREAD for making sandwiches out of chicken & rib meat! The HASH and RICE!! The vanilla pudding & sweet-tea mixed with lemonade.

                          It will be sorely missed by me. I want that hash recipe. I dont care if it had hog brains or balls in it, thats what probably made it so good!

                          If anyone knows how to contact Mrs Millender, please forward her this letter.

                          Thank You

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: A Fn Noob

                            Unfortunately, Mrs. Millender won't give up her recipe! I am her niece and I have asked people in the family. No one knows her recipes except her and she's not telling!!

                            Just to let you know...she's still got it! We had a family reunion last month and she made some bbq sandwiches! They were just as good as I remembered!! And they were gone within minutes of everyone realizing they were hers! She is such an amazing cook but so was my Great grandma too which was her sister.
                            Aunt Addie Mae is getting on up there in age and just as sweet as always! Hopefully one day she will give that recipe to someone in the family so her wonderful talent can live on!

                            1. re: act417

                              act417, would you please email me? luckygirl1333@yahoo.com

                              I used to manage the hotel next store to Millender's and I spent a lot of time with Mrs. Millender, her daughter in law and the rest of the staff. I would love to be able to get in touch with Mrs. Millender's D-I-L Betty.



                          2. And I am disgusted that Lizards Thicket,Maurice's, and Goatfeathers areeven mentioned in the same thread as Millender's.

                            I hear Shealy's is good, but have not been there. But if you are driving through Cola wanting BBQ, keep on driving I guess.

                            Right now the best BBQ in SC in a little place on HWY 76N, between Westminster,SC and Clayton,GA. I dont know the name. They dont have a sign, except for a posterboard on the roadside with the words BBQ and and arrow drawn on it. They are only open on Fri, Sat nights. The building is a nice log-cabin looking place. Just get on 76 and follow the cars on Friday night. Best to get there before 6pm, by 7pm he's usually sold out of food.