Shuler’s Bar-B-Que, Latta SC

I love it when expectations get confounded. Looking over the list of barbecue joints that we’ve visited, it’s safe to say that South Carolina has been the most uneven of all southeastern states. It’s the home of the godlike Scott’s, of course, and several other very good restaurants, but more than a handful that I’ve visited once and that’s about enough. Making matters worse, the Florence metro area was not only batting zero-for-two with me, but the zeroes were so disappointing that I was actually giving the Pee Dee region negative numbers. Continue reading “Shuler’s Bar-B-Que, Latta SC”


Maurice’s Piggie Park Barbecue, West Columbia SC

Last month, I indulged on another barbecue road trip. I’ll relate the details in the next chapter, and use the space here to talk about my experience at one of South Carolina’s best-known barbecue joints, Maurice’s. It’s a pretty large family-owned business, similar in size and local impact to, say, Country’s Barbecue in Columbus and eastern Alabama, Buddy’s in Knoxville, or Golden Rule in Birmingham. The business as we can perceive it today dates back to 1953, but it claims a somewhat older lineage on the strength of its bottled sauce, which the current owners’ grandfather, Joe Bessinger, began selling in a restaurant in Holly Hill SC in 1939. (A restaurant called Villa Tronco, also in Columbia, claims to be the oldest continually-operating one in the state, and was founded in 1940.) Continue reading “Maurice’s Piggie Park Barbecue, West Columbia SC”

Scott & BJ’s Bar-B-Q, Athens GA

Years ago, in some of the earliest chapters at this blog that mentioned barbecue around Athens, I lamented the closure of Carither’s, a very good restaurant that had been in an old red brick building on Milledge, near the old Bi-Lo and the bypass. I found it probably in 1995 and ate there off and on for the next decade. I was not the only one. The legendary ABC sportscaster Keith Jackson once called it the best he’d ever had. Continue reading “Scott & BJ’s Bar-B-Q, Athens GA”

True BBQ, West Columbia SC

When people talk about the best children’s museums in the country, there are three cities among the hundred eighty-odd that are on everybody’s top ten lists: Indianapolis, Boston, and Columbia. EdVenture is only ten years old, but it has an amazing reputation. It is huge and sprawling and has indoor and outdoor exhibits and I have been wanting to take the baby for several months. I had decided that we’d go in February, because we always end up in South Carolina in February, and was really looking forward to finally seeing this place. It did not disappoint. Continue reading “True BBQ, West Columbia SC”

Jackie Hite’s BBQ, Batesburg-Leesville SC

Back in the fall, when I circumnavigated South Carolina, the road took me through the small twin towns of Batesburg and Leesville, which are home to a pair of celebrated and famous barbecue shacks. (In case you didn’t read that awesome adventure, start here.) I knew before I started that I would only visit one of the two, so I flipped a coin and settled on Shealy’s, which turned out to be the better known and larger restaurant. I enjoyed Shealy’s a good deal, and as I read about their friendly rival, Jackie Hite’s, I knew that I’d have to make a return visit. Continue reading “Jackie Hite’s BBQ, Batesburg-Leesville SC”