I’m pretty excited about my upcoming road trip through South Carolina. Home of the “100 Mile BBQ”. BBQ so good you’d be willing to drive a 100 miles for it. And with gas prices the way they are it better REALLY be good.
I really like the concept. It reminds me of my days working as a cook in French Restaurants. In Europe, the Michelin tire company has a travel guide which awards stars to restaurants across the country. The maximum three stars means “worth a special journey”. The only difference between the two is that the 3 Michelin star places will cost you 20 times as much with only 1/8 of the food. Plus they have this annoying habit of shaping all your meat to look like either blocks or cylinders.
The inspiration to drive and eat through South Carolina was my frustration with trying to find well recommended places in Georgia. Not wanting to waste a food trip I’ve decided to simply drive from New York down to Georgia. Unlike Georgia, South Carolina BBQ has LOTS of fans. You can even find helpful maps and recommendations on the South Carolina BBQ Association‘s website.
On this particular trip I’m hitting mainly the heart of the so-called “mustard belt”. South Carolina actually has 3 major sauces and one minor sauce. Most websites including the SCBA will list that there are four. I and the South Carolina tourism site happen to disagree with that assessment as the “heavy tomato” sauce is really just an outside import that appease the general American public. There’s nothing distinctly Carolinan about it. The site notes the basic sauces types as
- Watery thin and fiery hot pepper and vinegar concoctions dominate the Pee Dee region.
- The upstate and Savannah River areas favor peppery tomato or milder ketchup-based sauces.
- A yellow-mustard-based sauce is favored in the Midlands.
The most iconic sauce is of course the mustard sauce. The other two are identical to their equivalents in North Carolina. Hence most of the places I’m hitting are mustard belters.
The itinerary will be
- Bucky’s – Greenville
- Henry’s – Greenville
- Midway BBQ – Buffalo, SC
- Jackie Hites – Batesburg-Leesville, SC
- Carolina Bar-B-Que – New Ellenton, SC
- Maurice’s – Columbia, SC