The Best Barbecue in Charleston

23 February 2020

I’m sitting here in my hotel bed nearly unable to function because I’m so full of pork and beef. I didn’t mean for this to happen, but it’s almost impossible to resist the call of good food in Charleston. Our first thought when we landed — where’s the closest barbecue joint? No, not just the closest, where’s the best barbecue joint in Charleston?

As soon as we got off the plane, we dropped our bags at the hotel and headed straight to Rodney Scott’s BBQ. My standards were high after having Fox Bros Bar-B-Q in Atlanta, but Rodney Scott did not disappoint. The pork was vinegary, and it pulled apart like melted cheese. It was unlike anything I’d ever had before. A beautiful and unbeatable introduction to the finest barbecue style of South Carolina.

The funny thing is, we had heard of this guy before, and just didn’t know it. We both remembered watching an Anthony Bourdain episode of Parts Unknown, where he traveled to South Carolina and ate some damn good barbecue at a joint two hours outside of Charleston. In the episode, this guy literally basted his meat with a mop soaked in marinade. Later that night we tracked down the episode to discover more places to eat at while here.

Near the end of the episode, they got to the barbecue bit, and said something along the lines of “Most of the barbecue you’ll find in the south is shit…” The camera then pans to a guy whose business “Scott’s barbecue” is the real deal. My first thought is… oh no, was the barbecue we had not good? How do I get my hands on some of this stuff? Am I willing to drive 2 hours out of the city for the best barbecue in the south? And then, they introduce the master smoker as “Rodney Scott.” Both my fiancé and I said, “Hey! That’s what we had today!” Turns out, he had set up shop in the city, and we had the best barbecue in South Carolina. Good enough for me.

The next day… we hit the smoker again. This is why the pounds are piling on. My pants are tight, and the muffin is far overreaching the boundaries of my jeans. Is this ideal given that in just a few short weeks my wedding dress will be arriving and require a fitting? No, absolutely not, but there’s barbecue to be had, and I’m not in Charleston everyday.

Round two: Lewis Barbecue, more of a Texas style. The walls are adorned with cattle ropes, horse shoes, and subway tiles. The line is long but moves quickly, and we enjoy our local Edmund’s Oast Baby Bubble Barbecue beer while we wait, made especially for this very reason.

Before we get up to the counter, we realize that the giant beef ribs are sold only on Saturday, and it just happens to be Saturday! We get them, along with a combo plate filled with fatty beef brisket, pulled pork, Texas hot link, green chile corn pudding, potato salad, and cowboy pinto beans. My credit card weeps as I swipe it, but the tears soon dry as we eat our fill until that whole damn platter is gone. All that remains is a king sized beef rib bone that looks like it came from a brachiosaurus, which I think that my dog would rather enjoy if he were here right now.

Y’all, I’ve had just about the best barbecue in town, and I don’t think I need to eat anything else for days, maybe even weeks.

Thanks for the hospitality, Charleston. I’m loving you so far.

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