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Best BBQ in NC, SC & GA

I'll be travelling all 3 states over a week. Starting from Charlotte, NC, then making a loop that will go SE towards Charleston, then continue down the coast til Savannah, GA and then back up towards Charlotte passing through as far west as Augusta.

I love BBQ and have never tried Carolina Q before. So, if I were to eat in just 3 spots during my tour of food gluttony, which 3 should they be?


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  1. Unfortunately, you'll miss the best NC bbq spots. If there's any way you can detour up to Lexington, NC you should do so and go to Lexington BBQ #1. Otherwise, between Charlotte and Charleston is Sweatman's, an outstanding example of SC style 'q. Only open Thursday - Saturday.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bbqdawg

      Triangle isn't on your journey, but we've got a selection from The BBQ Pit to the Q Shack (although debate rages on if it is NC Q) and Alan and Sons. But Smithfield's is a quick intro in a pinch. And there's a good little dive in Grabtown, NC (I remember all the Ava Gardner memorabia - and the q).

    2. -While I'm not a fan of the SC mustard base I'd say if you've never tried it then you need to check out Sweatman's in Holly Hill, SC

      - My two favorite BBQ places (near Charlotte - but on the SC side) are:
      Courtney's BBQ
      1166 Highway 55 E
      Clover, South Carolina 29710
      (803) 222-5900

      521 BBQ
      7580 Charlotte Highway/521
      Indian Land, SC

      1. Vandy's in Statesboro between Savannah & Augusta has been around forever & is some the best cue in that part of the country.

        1. low country SC BBQ

          sweat mans in holly hill
          mama browns in kingstree
          melvins on james island... for your quick everyday Q needs :)

          3 Replies
          1. re: abroxton7

            Ever so slight correction...

            Mama Brown's BBQ is in Mt. Pleasant. In Kingstree it's Brown's BBQ. Same family I believe, just the names are mixed around a bit.

            1. re: JayL

              Brown's in Kingstree SC is fantastic.

              1. re: UrDaddy

                I wholeheatedly agree. I'm NC born and bred, so I love pepper vinegar. Brown's and Mama Brown's have that. I live close enough to Mama Brown's to know when the chicken's frying. Lord help me....

          2. I'll be driving from Charlotte to Atlanta tomorrow and was wondering the same thing. I've already been to Honey Monk's, Allen and Son's, Stamey's, Bridges, Sweatman's and Keatons. Just wondering if there are any bbq destinations along 85 bet. Charlotte and Atlanta that can't be missed. Thanks, y'all!

            6 Replies
            1. re: littlegirltree

              I've never been, but on another thread a place called The Spotted Pig, in Fair Play, SC was recommended. Might be worth checking out:


              1. re: bbqdawg

                A little off topic, but what location of Allen and Son's do you go to? I've seen you post before, and have only been to the one on the road heading to Sanford.

                1. re: veganhater

                  I go to the one between Hillsborough and CH, at the intersection of Hwy 86 and a road whose name I can't remember, a mile or so north of I-40. Pretty sure thats different from the one you are referring to. I've never been to that one, and I'm virtually certain there is no connection between them.

                  1. re: bbqdawg

                    Thanks. They do share the same name, don't they? I haven't been to the one on 86, though the location on highway 1 was good, but not great. I must try the other location.

                    1. re: veganhater

                      There may have been some connection at one time. It does make for some confusion. My understanding from comments on this board is that the Hwy 86 location is far superior.

              2. re: littlegirltree

                It's a bit of a side trip, but you could hit Carolina Barbecue in New Ellenton.


              3. Since you'll be driving the coast from Charleston to Savannah, you'll not be far from Po Pigs in Edisto Island, SC. The detour (not that long), both for its scenic, old-timey south drive and the fantastic bbq and equally fantastic sides, is well worth it. Choosing the sides is the hardest part; sometimes I think I could eat just the sides, but then I'd have to miss the to-die-for pulled pork. If I lived within a few hours, I'd be a regular there. If you go, be sure to check the hours. I think they're closed Monday & Tuesday.

                Since you'll probably be going through Columbia, and if you can get around the fact that the proprietor's dedication to the confederate cause may eclipse even his devotion to bbq, you might want to try Maurice's Piggy Park (several locations in the area now). Despite Maurice's #1 obsession, he serves up darned good Q.

                Sorry you won't make it to Lexington #1 in NC or to Allen & Sons near Hillsborough, NC, because those are great NC bbq spots. Make another trip!

                3 Replies
                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                  Maurice's in Columbia is wildly overrated, according to my palate.

                  1. re: UrDaddy

                    Well, I'd rather drop my bbq bucks elsewhere, truth be told. So which of the places you recommend are in Columbia--or easy to get to for someone on a relatively tight schedule, just driving through?--because I'd sure give somebody else a try.

                    We were first steered to Maurice's by my neighbor, a Columbia native who raves about the place. I've only ever driven through Columbia, maybe once a year, and it's the only place in the town I've ever eaten. It's always been pretty tasty compared to what we can expect from the usual just-off-the-interstate spots. But I'd love to find a new favorite in Columbia for the next time I'm passing through.

                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                      >I'd love to find a new favorite in Columbia

                      J D Hite's on Dreher Rd. in West Columbia, although their hours are very limited. Take-out only, open Friday and Saturday. Very good chopped pork and BBQ chicken. I skip the ribs. Excellent sweet pickle slaw.

                2. South Carolina's contenders are easy. There is Sweatman's on a glorious old country road between Holly Hill and Eutawville. There is Jackie Hite's in an old white building next to the railroad tracks in Leesville. J.D. Hite and Son (no relation) operate exactly as they have done for the past 70 years in West Columbia. And then there is Scott's Variety Store at Brunson's Crossroads near Hemingway.

                  Scott's takes the cake. Go to NYTimes.com and search for the article John T. Edge recently wrote about the authentic brilliance of Scott's.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: UrDaddy

                    Great list. If you haven't tried McCabe's in Manning I'd say it would be worth the trip. It's on a par with the others you mentioned.

                    1. re: Cpt Wafer

                      Amen on McCabe's. Often overlooked but one of the absolute best.

                    2. re: UrDaddy

                      I won't comment on the quality of Scott's BBQ in Hemingway, but I do want to say (having been there about an hour ago) that it's more of a "take home some bbq" place; not so much a restaurant.

                      1. re: quartney

                        Very true, it is nothing like a restaurant. But they do call it Scott's Variety Store & BBQ, so I suppose they've got that covered.

                    3. On the southeast side of Augusta - where US 1 and the Interstate loop intersect - is Sconyers BBQ, which I would definitely recommend.

                      1. For 50 years I have traveled the Carolinas, Georgia. And Virginia. Outside of my own, the best BBQ (Pork) I have eaten BBQ is Carolina BBQ in New Ellenton SC.

                        The pulled pork is almost naked with just a hint of V&P sauce. Two sauces are on the table although the pork is moist.

                        The hash and rice is the thing that brings me back from Williamsburg VA.

                        This no frills BBQ joint with a $7.00 all you can eat buffet, costs me several hundred dollars a year to partake. (Traveling expenses)

                        A BBQ pilgrim that misses this shrine might miss the Holy Grail!