Wednesday, December 03, 2008

South Carolina BBQ Odyssey

The parts of South Carolina that I have visited deploy either vinegar or mustard-based sauce on their barbeque, as indicated on this map. I like vinegar best, because the mustard sauce I've had tends to be too sweet. Does anyone make a spicy mustard sauce? That would be ideal.

Melody and I tried three new barbeque spots during the latest trip. First, we stopped before we even entered SC at Allen & Son, in Chapel Hill.

Pictured above: two sandwich platters, which we ordered based on Esquire's claim that they're the best chopped pork sandwich in the United States. They were pretty good. My fried okra was excellent, as were the mugs of sweet tea. The hush puppies were like donuts. Their Brunswick stew was full of corn and was extremely viscous.

With an intermission consisting of Bo-jays and Thanksgiving, we drove out to the main culinary attraction: Bub Sweatman's. We visited two years ago and we were very excited to return. We drove two hours south of Charlotte and drove into the Sweatman's parking area which was deserted. That was worrisome.

Sweatman's supposedly doesn't have a phone, so we didn't call ahead, and we got burned:

We sat in the parking lot for about thirty minutes consulting our mobile devices and observing as one car after another pulled into the parking lot, saw the sign, and dejectedly drove away. The fourth or fifth place we called turned out to be open: Big T's, outside Columbia. My phone was still full of podcasts, so the detour was no problem. (I recommend "The Stakeout", from The Moth.)

Big T's turned out to be a satisfactory substitute. They had homemade pork rinds, collard greens, and barbeque and hash covered in mustard sauce.

I had to ask for an account of the difference between "skins" and "cracklins". Turns out cracklins have more fat. The skins were good, even though some of them were so tough they seemed likely to knock my molars out.

The next day we finished our barbeque holiday with lunch at Mac's Speedshop in Charlotte with Melody's brother. They had weak sweet tea but pretty solid sandwiches. I saw a dude eating a piece of meat attached to a bone the size of my forearm. (I think it might have been the "Kansas City Beef Rib".)

For another recent survey of food on a recent trip to the Carolinas, see this post.

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