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Apr 20, 2011 01:17 PM

SC BBQ the quest is on

OK, so I will be in Charleston the week of May 10th and need a SOUTHERN BBQ FIX BAD! If it were my last meal on earth it would be slow smoked, cooked TRUE Southern BBQ:)

So where do ya'll recommend?? I need this like air :)

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  1. Mustard or pepper vinegar?

    1. You're SOL in Chuck-town. There's passable BBQ but nothing outstanding.

      You're closest option would be Sweatman's. It'd be about an hour drive but if that's what you're dead set on then you won't find anything remotely as good between Sweatman's and Charleston. It's cooked over coals as you would expect and is very very good. No doubt about it. Just look around on here and you'll see tons of people touting it. Here's the address: 1427 Eutaw Rd., Holly Hill, SC.

      If I were you, I'd drive past Sweatman's and go to McCabe's BBQ in Manning instead. It is cooked over coals just like Sweatman's but they do two things that I think makes it better. They mix the burnt ends in with the inside meat giving all of it the smokey flavor that you want. Sweatman's, on the other hand, separates the two which I don't like nearly as much. McCabe's also sauces their meat before they serve it (Kind of a modified vinegar sauce that's a little thicker). I think the sauce is pretty close to being as important as the meat. They don't put too much on...just enough so it flavors the meat. It is really one of the greatest foods ever anywhere. Although Sweatman's is the people's choice for the best in the state, McCabe's gets the nod from those who really know what they're talking about. Here the address for it: 480 N Brooks St, Manning, SC 29102.

      Don't get me wrong. There are lots of other places you could go but none are going to remotely compare to these two.

      6 Replies
      1. re: GrillMaster

        Good recommendations.

        Is Maurice's still around? I ate there a while back while in Columbus. First time I ate SC 'hash' and their mustard sauced pork. Don't think they're around Charleston though.

        And the ambiance was...definitely unique.

        1. re: Leadmine

          Skip Maurice's. Not only for the obvious, but also because I hear from a Columbia local that it's gone downhill in the past few years.

          What you want is to go to Melvin's (in Mt. Pleasant in the Whole Foods parking lot) or on Folly Road. Melvin is related to Maurice, but does not share the same politics. The BBQ is terrific, the sides are's where I go when I'm on that part of the coast. And the bonus is, if you're with anyone who'd rather have a burger, Melvin's are awesome.

          1. re: sisterbeer


            That's my Whole Paycheck!

            I like Melvin's ok for fast food. Wouldn't go to maurice's on principle, but I've heard the same thing.

            I asked the OP which he' prefers, but he hasn't answered so I'll say, if you want the real thing, go to McCabe's, Brown's (Kingstree) Schoolhouse (Scranton) or Scotts (Hemingway). While in Charleston eat shrimp and grits.

            1. re: Sue in Mt P

              I liked Scott's BBQ sauce, and I ordered Shealy's sauce from Lee Bros. a few years back. Very good on both, although Shealy's tasted better(more mustard based vs. Scott's vinegar).
              Not sure how the 'que at either stacks up, though.

              1. re: Sue in Mt P

                The week I spent working down there, Melvin's was a godsend. I didn't have time during lunch hours to cross the bridge or go far, and I am a bbq addict with a big weakness for SC style. This is despite being imprinted on eastern NC style.

          2. re: GrillMaster

            GrillMaster is correct. Charleston is a BBQ wasteland. You have to drive a bit to get good BBQ. The McRib at McDonald's is better than any BBQ you can get in Charleston.

            Your first choice should undoubtedly be Sweatman's, which is "out in the country" between Holly Hill and Eutawville.

            Your second choice should be McCabe's in Manning.

            Your third choice (because of distance) should be Scott's near Hemingway.

          3. I know this is going to sound off-the-wall, but I've had good bbq at kiawah island. Once a week they have an ayce bbq and oyster roast (buckets of oysters over charcoal). It was whole hog, served without sauce and clearly smoked over wood. The oysters were great too. Price included live music, soft drinks, sides and cobbler. The downside is that over the years, it's gotten expensive, I think $35 last time we went so we stopped going.

            I like sweatman's but I don't have it in my top 10. As others have pointed out, McCabes and Scotts are great. No love for Bessingers mustard sauce? It was my first exposure to sc mustard sauce and I still pick up a bottle whenever we visit charleston.

            1. when u say southern barbecue...that covers a lot of ground...
              south carolina u can have mustard based,vinegar based,ketchup based...
              u need to be more specific in what u are looking for...