• Shealy’s Bar-B-Que, Leesville, S.C.

    Just a block over and down the street is Shealy’s, the other Midlands BBQ institution.

    Shealys BBQ, The Mrs Plate!

    Shealys BBQ!

    We showed up just before opening time, parked the Barge around back and marvelled at the lineup of Shealy’s delivery and catering trucks. Not small-time any more. Service was starting for the day and fortunately we were just in time; in a half-hour buses pulled up carrying groups from other towns!

    In direct comparison to Jackie Hite’s, the standard pulled pork was moist and tasty, more moist and more tender than Hite’s. I understand that Shealy’s uses butts and Hite’s does whole hog and that’s probably why since there’s no lean meat. The chopped mustard-sauced pork was great but was more mustardy than Hite’s.

    Fried chicken was equal, as were sides.

    Hash is another Midlands treat; Shealy’s hash was great and a little more mustardy than Hite’s. The difference in mustard taste between Shealy’s and Jackie Hite’s isn’t ¬†tremendous but it is there.

    And now, dessert!

    Nanner puddin! It was exactly as good as Hite’s and if possible even a little fresher!

    OK, brass-tacks time. Comparing these two 100-mile BBQ joints about a couple of blocks from each other, Shealy’s wins by a nose for the better pulled pork. I’m not real sure why anyone would go to a Leesville BBQ joint for pulled pork while their specialty is mustard-sauced chopped pork and hash, but there it is. We stuffed ourselves to the point of exploding knowing that we wouldn’t have BBQ this good for a while.

    Shealy’s Bar-B-Que House
    340 E Columbia Ave


  • Jackie Hite’s BBQ, Leesville, SC

    There’s something called 100-mile barbecue, as in “I’d drive a hundred miles to get some.” ¬† Jackie Hite’s is right up there in the top of the pack.

    We tried to beat the after-church crowd on Sunday and just barely made it. Cars and pickups were already parked almost a block down the road alongside the tracks; the takeout door had a line out the door and the sit-down line was almost to the door. Fortunately it’s a buffet, so we got ourselves huge loads and sat down.

    Mac n Cheese, Greens, Pork, Fried Chicken, Fried Okra and bread!

    Mac n Cheese, Greens, Green Beans and Potatoes, Pork, Fried Chicken, Fried Okra and bread!

    We had two kinds of pork, regular pulled pork and mustard-sauced finely-chopped pork. The pulled pork was good but really isn’t Hite’s forte; the addition of some mustard sauce made it better. The chopped pork sauced with a somewhat different mustard sauce was absolutely wonderful and is what Midlands barbecue is known for.

    The fried chicken was great, moist, drippy and juicy but not greasy and far better than the Kentucky fried colonel. And this is at a barbecue restaurant. Mom even ate the skin.

    A Midlands specialty is BBQ hash. It’s sort of hard to describe other than to say it’s a thick soup/stew made up of all sorts of piggy parts with some mustard sauce and served over white rice. There are hash cookers who work for restaurants and there are others cooking in a shed out back; what they have in common is that hash is a BBQ art of it’s own.

    Part of the Buffet!

    Part of the Buffet!

    Jackie Hite’s has hash nailed, hitting all the right notes without going too far in any direction. Great!

    I reckon it’s time to mention sides. We both got the same things except Mom got some greens and mac’n’cheese that I didn’t have room on the plate for. The fried okra was amazingly crispy, the flat beans and taters were tasty and Mom said the greens and somewhat Velveeta-style mac’n’cheese were good.

    Then we hauled ourselves off to the dessert bar and zeroed in on one thing, Nanner Puddin. Light fluffy whipped cream, banana cream, lots of bananas and crispy ‘Nillas. That was amazing; crispy ‘Nillas means that it was made like right now or a little while earlier, not yesterday. Superb!

    All the while, at least an hour or more, the line for the buffet snaked around the room.

    Jackie Hite’s BBQ
    (803) 532-3354

    460 East Railroad Avenue
    Leesville, SC 29070


  • Melvin’s Legendary Bar-B-Q, Charleston, S.C.

    On a rainy Monday morning heading out from James Island County Park we dropped into Melvin’s in Mt. Pleasant. Who says we can’t have barbecue for breakfast?

    I figured it would probably be pretty good since Melvin was one of the Bessinger barbecue family. I was wrong; it was really good.

    We both had the chopped pork plate, today’s special, which came with around one-third pound pork, cornbread and one side. We got mac’n’cheese and added sides, hash for me and onion rings for Mom.

    Chopped Pork Plate!

    Chopped Pork Plate!

    The first taste of the pork was stunning for both of us; it’s what barbecue should be. Distinct smoke but not too much, bits of crunchy bark and moist but no greasiness.

    The mac’n’cheese was thick and cheesy with a little crunchy topping. None of the orange stuff.

    Mom got a couple of onion rings. That’s right, a couple of huge onion rings. Unfortunately they were a miss; she says they were very heavily battered with a cake-like texture and greasy.

    Free Pickle and Pepper Bar!

    Free Pickle and Pepper Bar!

    My hash was spot-on with lots of porky bits and that funkiness good South Carolina hash has. Recalling our visit to Shealy’s a few years ago, this was less mustardy.

    We did sample Melvin’s sauces although they weren’t needed on the pork. The mustard sauce is mild with a mustard and vinegar twang but it won’t knock you over, and the red sauce is a standard tomato-vinegar sauce, not sweet, and has a distince peppery finish. Both sauces are fine.

    View from out front!

    View from out front!

    Melvin’s Legendary Bar-B-Q is at:

    925 Houston Northcutt Blvd.
    Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
    (843) 881-0549

    538 Folly Road
    Charleston, SC 29412
    (843) 762-0511