Somewhere in the middle of nowhere in South Carolina a voice cries in the wilderness proclaiming to all the faithful to make straight the highways to Scott’s BBQ. That voice of course is that of Rodney Scott. It’s a fairly reasonable demand, there’s only 600 or so people in Hemingway, South Carolina and most tourists are definitely not in the area to go stare at the old railroad. If you talk to a lot of whole hog cooker or many people cooking any barbecue the old fashion way, it’s a pretty depressing conversation. On the one hand they’ll talk about how awfully hard and terrible the work is, on the other they’ll lament the dying of the art. Scott’s answer? – sure beats farming.
In addition to being the town’s BBQ guy, he’s also the town’s tree removal service. You have a tree down? He’ll come by with axes and chainsaws ready to take it off your hands free of charge. AND he’ll invite you to the annual easter BBQ for your kindness. Think about that for a second, he’ll take care of YOUR problems and still invite you over for a thank you meal. We all thank God does BBQ but for heaven’s sake let’s get the man into Congress!
Style – This is old school BBQ right here. Wood is burned down to embers and shoveled under the pig in open pits. The hog is cooked facing down and flipped at the final few minutes of cooking. Scott cooks the “Pee Dee” style of South Carolina BBQ which means a vinegar pepper sauce. Not a drop of mustard in sight! This makes him fairly similar to his eastern cousins in North Carolina. The major difference here is that he seasons the hog on the pit. So after flipping, the hogs are basted while he takes a large spoon and breaks up the meat. Extra coals are placed under the pig to cause the sauce, now pooling in the pig’s cavity to boil. This final act of boiling binds the flesh with the sauce.
Fuel – Rodney uses a mix of hickory, pecan and oak. I’m fairly confident that the mix is whatever he has on hand at the moment. He does seem to prefer the flavor of oak though. Like most stick burners, the question is less about wood flavor and more about output of BTUs. He notes that pecan is the fastest and hottest burning wood, hickory makes the longest lasting coals, and oak coals makes the best flavor.
Sauce – As we’re in the Pee Dee region – vinegar & pepper rules the day. It seems that there’s a nice mix of powdered and crushed peppers in there. He also likes placing lemons into his sauce. The big element in this part of the south is the seasoning of the pig with Accent, an MSG product. Many text have been written about MSG, long of it is – get over it. MSG has no harmful effects, you can not develop an allergy or sensitivity towards it, otherwise the entire nation of China would have one chronic headache. Who knows? Toss a little Accent into your food, you might like it.