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Florida Hound in Charleston.. MUST HAVE BBQ!?!

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FloridaE46 Feb 13, 2009 02:27 PM

I'll be traveling up to Charleston this weekend and after seeing "BBQ Paradise" on the travel channel I HAVE TO HAVE some amazing BBQ while I'm there.
Any recommendations? we are taking 95 up.

-Reed

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  1. JayL Feb 14, 2009 06:35 AM

    Plenty of places to stop...but you asked for "amazing" bbq and I've yet to find any in that class myself.

    Look up Sweatman's BBQ in Holly Hill, SC. It's out of the way, but not that far off I-26. This place is legendary and serves up some decent bbq. It's not the best I've had (far from it), but most people make the claim that it's the best. If I were making a trip such as yours, it would be worth a stop to say you've experienced it.

    In Charleston proper you'll have Melvin's and Bessingers. Both have good reputations.

    There's also Home Team BBQ if you like a "'hip" atmosphere and decent food. Again, not great food, but a fun experience.

    There's also a couple of places out on John's Island...Hickory Hawg and JB's Smokeshack.

    Across the Cooper River from Charleston, in Mt. Pleasant, you'll find Mama Brown's BBQ. The bbq might leave you lacking, but they have great vegetables.

    8 Replies
    1. re: JayL
      Low Country Jon Feb 14, 2009 07:54 AM

      JayL, have you tried this new place Oink! out on Highway 17 near the intersection with Highway 41 in "upper" Mt. Pleasant? It was supposed to open about a month ago, but I haven't heard any reports yet. The blurb I read in the local paper said they would be serving "eastern NC" BBQ. I thought that might be of interest to you since you grew up Down East like me.

      1. re: Low Country Jon
        JayL Feb 14, 2009 08:23 AM

        Are you talking about "Moneyhun's Oink" that was on Clement's Ferry off of 41? That place was open less than a year and another bbq place is open in it's place. I didn't get to Moneyhun's before it closed (I tried, but the doors were already padlocked) and I haven't been to the new place out there called Palmetto Pit.

        I've not seen a place on 17 near 41. I'll have to open my eyes (I live down that way and go by there every day). Now I'm gonna have to go get in the truck and take a drive!

        1. re: JayL
          JayL Feb 14, 2009 08:28 AM

          LCJ...you're right. I did a quick search and found the following City Paper blurb:

          Oink comes to L.A.

          It seems like forever since we were able to announce the opening of a new restaurant . . . but this one is a barbecue restaurant, and that’s worth a little extra attention:

          Oink, a new barbecue joint, has hit the scene in L.A.–Lower Awendaw, that is–in a refurbished green cinderblock building on Highway 17 up past Park West (3563 North Highway 17, if you want to be exact). They feature Eastern North Carolina barbecue, including chopped pork, a spicy vinegar sauce, slaw, barbecue potatoes, and hushpuppies. Oink is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

          I actually live down in Park West (just renting so don't think I'm all "elite" or anything) and OINK! is a bit further north from our 17 entrance. I never turn in that direction and had no clue there was a place there. We might go try it out this afternoon.

          Thanks for the heads up!

          Jay

          1. re: JayL
            Low Country Jon Feb 15, 2009 08:06 AM

            Jay, if you haven't tried Oink's yet, I think you'll probably like it. I have some quibbles, but when it comes to the main event--the 'cue--I think they do a good job, probably the best vinegar & pepper BBQ I've had in the Charleston area. I talked to someone I took to be one of the owners, and he told me they use a big, four-rotisserie combo smoker fired by oak wood and gas. They cook whole hogs in addition to chicken and ribs. The smoke flavor definitely comes through in the 'cue, which is sort of a medium chop with a good blend of meat from across the pig. It arrives only lightly sauced and I applied a good deal of the house V&P sauce at the table. A really nice flavor of smoke and sweet pork amps up under the influence of the sauce. Considering how lightly sauced the 'cue is when it arrives from the kitchen, I'm surprised they don't offer a range of sauces on the table. You could easily add a Lexington or mustard sauce on top of the light vinegar sauce to good effect, I think. While I admire their authenticity in only offering a V&P sauce, I wonder if offering multiple sauces might make things easier for folks who wander in with no knowledge of what V&P BBQ is all about.

            The slaw as very good, though they don't give you enough in contrast to the large amount of BBQ on the plates. The Brunswick stew had a good flavor but was more like a soup served in a bowl. I've had enough stew to know there really is no standard, but soupy stew seems strange to me in an "eastern NC" BBQ place since traditionally the stew would be served on the plate with the 'cue. The hushpuppies were unsweetened, very old school, though I actually prefer the sweeter kind myself. The cornbread was also unsweetened and mine had char marks and a pronounced smokiness I couldn't explain. Did they warm it in the smoker??? The banana pudding was sweet, huge, and had real meringue. Pretty nice.

            All in all, I found this place to be a winner. I"ll definitely go back for the 'cue and to try their Carolina burger (chili, slaw, onions, mustard) -- I've had trouble finding a place that makes a good version down here. My wife wants to try the fried local flounder. I like that they feature local seafood and other local ingredients, like Clemson blue cheese on one of their salads.

            It's interesting to launch a restaurant featuring "eastern NC BBQ" in an area where that same style is essentially the native style of 'cue (though it seems harder to come by these days). Eastern NC BBQ never recognized state lines, so it has remained the home-team style in this neck of the woods. Close by, Momma Brown's is the only other place that serves V&P, whole hog 'cue. Though in the same style, MB's 'cue is very different--pulled rather than chopped and drenched in V&P sauce. I prefer Oink's but Momma Brown's has a lot of other great things going for it on its buffet, so I think I'll still be visiting both places in the future!

            1. re: Low Country Jon
              JayL Feb 15, 2009 10:58 AM

              Good review, Jon. We went to OINK yesterday afternoon (I put a review on the main page). We also found things we liked and things we wondered about, but we left happy and promise to return.

              The only other place around here that you'll get whole hog bbq is Mama Brown's. MB's bbq tastes way too sour to me...too much vinegar and not enough pepper (and salt). We go to MB's for the vegetables/sides on the buffet.

              OINK had good bbq. As I said in my review, the sauce was certainly not something you'd find in eastern NC...but it wasn't too far off.

              I also asked about their pit and found out they are using a Southern Pride. They should have no problems putting out some fine bbq with that.

              We did not try the ribs, hushpuppies (something you get for free in eastern NC), brunswick stew, or dessert. I will agree with you that at home brunswick stew is not soupy at all, and normally you can serve it on the plate as it will stand on its on.

              We enjoyed our visit and will certainly be going back. Besides, it's less than a mile down 17 from where we live!

              1. re: JayL
                Suzy Q Feb 16, 2009 10:59 AM

                They charged you for hushpuppies? Ooooh. I would say that was NOT a good sign if y'all hadn't already tried - and approved - the 'cue!

                1. re: Suzy Q
                  Low Country Jon Feb 16, 2009 03:08 PM

                  You can choose hushpuppies as one of your sides if you get a plate, but otherwise, yeah, you have to pay for them. But the cornbread is complimentary.

                  Speaking of the cornbread, examining the leftover piece I had yesterday, I figured out the mystery of the char marks. They actually weren't char marks at all but apparently cracklins that had settled to the bottom of the batter. I appreciate that they are attempting to make honest to goodness cracklin cornbread, but wow, these cracklins were seriously charred. The smell of smoke and fire was so strong, it made me jerk my head back when I went in for a sniff. No way I could eat it, but I'm glad I solved the mystery! Hopefully, they'll be more selective of their cracklins in the future. By the way, my wife's cornbread was fine, so it seems to be an isolated incident.

              2. re: Low Country Jon
                Low Country Jon Feb 15, 2009 11:55 AM

                Ah, synchronicity! I think I started writing my report just a little bit after you posted yours, but I didn't see it. Here's a link to yours if anyone wants an easy cross-reference: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/596352

                I should have mentioned, as Jay did, that Oink's is on the higher end of BBQ places, both atmosphere and price wise. It's one of the few non-chain BBQ places in the area where they actually take your order at your table. The Pretty Pig plate, a lot of BBQ plus a little slaw, cornbread, and two sides, runs $10.50.

      2. SISC Feb 14, 2009 10:55 AM

        I'll second the Home Team BBQ recommendation. Their smoked chicken wings are money. It will be busy up there this weekend with the Blues Bash going on.

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