What better way to eat authentic barbecue than at its birthplace, South Carolina? As a result of the earliest food fusion between the natives and the Spanish, the taste of pork cooked indirectly over low heat has remained to gratify even our contemporary tastebuds. Charleston has its fair share of restaurants opening up that serve these succulent smoked meats. Each restaurant offers a unique experience, whether it’s the sauce or the texture of the meat. If you’re looking to go barbecue-hopping this weekend and satisfy your palate, read this article to see our list of the 10 best BBQ joints in Charleston, South Carolina.
1. Lewis Barbecue
Are you craving some Texas-style beef brisket in one of the country’s best barbecue cities? You can’t go wrong with Lewis Barbecue. Owned and operated by John Lewis, this pitmaster’s unswerving dedication even made him create his own custom-designed smokers. It’s no surprise why barbecue enthusiasts are willing to wait in line. Lewis Barbecue is known for its smoked pork spareribs and legendary beef brisket. Texas hot guts sausage, oxtail, and beef ribs are also part of the menu.
Address: 464 N Nassau St, Charleston, SC 29403
Website: Lewis Barbecue
Opening hours: Mon - Wed: 11am - 10pm; Thu: 11am - 4pm; Sat: 11am - 10pm; Sun: 11am - 9pm (closed on Fri)
2. Rodney Scott's BBQ
When it comes to the old ways of cooking barbecue, Rodney Scott’s BBQ has stayed with the tradition and raised it to a whole new level. Also known as Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ, this joint smokes the entire hog with embers burned down in a hardwood fire. This leaves a one-of-a-kind flavor on the meat which serves as proof why barbecue has always been a favorite among foodies. Featured in Netflix’s Chef’s Table, expect to experience a balance of spicy and smokey meat every time you chuck one into your mouth. This joint will not disappoint you at all.
Rodney Scott's BBQ
Address: 1011 King St, Charleston, SC 29403
Website: Rodney Scott’s BBQ
Opening hours: 11am - 9pm (daily)
3. Swig & Swine
Are you looking for barbecue meat that goes well with beer? Swig & Swine is one of your best choices in the area. They slow cook their meat in low heat and smoke by burning high-quality oak, hickory, and other hardwood. Customers stood by how flavorful the meats are because you don’t even need a sauce. Swig & Swine offers a varied selection of beers, both crafted and the usual Budweiser.
Swig & Swine
Address: 1217 Savannah Hwy, Charleston, SC 29407
Website: Swig & Swine
Opening hours: 11am - 9pm (daily)
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4. Home Team BBQ
Do you want to experience a wild fusion of upscale dining with a homestyle barbecue? Home Team BBQ takes great pride in this. Diners are so satisfied not just with the food, but the service as well. The ambiance is family-friendly and cozy. The best item on their menu is their St. Louis cut ribs. They also offer a wide selection of cocktail drinks. You should also consider their barbecue nachos that go well with beer.
Home Team BBQ
Address: 1205 Ashley River Rd, Charleston, SC 29407
Website: Home Team BBQ
Opening hours: 11am - 10pm (daily)
5. Poogan's Smokehouse
Poogan’s Smokehouse is all about good food and ambiance. The exposed brick wall and wooden tables give off a casual vibe, a perfect backdrop as you eat their famous pulled pork sandwich. This massive sandwich also goes well with their barbecue ribs. Poogan’s Smokehouse sticks with the traditional way of slow-smoking the meat, which makes them succulent and flavorful.
Address: 188 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401
Website: Poogan’s Smokehouse
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11am - 9pm; Fri: 11am - 8pm; Sat: 11am - 10pm; Sun: 11am - 9pm
6. Bessinger's BBQ
If you’ve watched an episode on Man v. Food about a massive, half-pound pulled pork sandwich, this is where it’s happening. This Colossal Joe Sandwich also has a Texas brisket in it and smothered by a delicious mustard barbecue sauce. This is not the only dish you will find at Bessinger’s BBQ. They also have ribs that fall off the bone, tasty smoked wings, and collard greens that go well with the meat. They’re also famous for their signature mustard barbecue sauce, which they also sell in separate bottles.
Address: 1602 Savannah Hwy, Charleston, SC 29407
Website: Bessinger’s BBQ
Opening hours: 11am - 9pm (daily)
7. Melvin's Barbecue
Melvin’s Barbecue is another restaurant that’s famous for its mustard-based barbecue sauce. As a matter of fact, they all came from the same family tradition, the Bessinger’s. Voted Best in Charleston for more than 10 years already, Melvin’s Barbecue offers pulled pork barbecue cooked over hickory coals for over 24 hours. Their cheeseburger is also worth trying, being considered by Emeril Lagasse as the best in America. Don’t forget to taste their onion rings that look like golden donuts and go well with any meat on the menu.
Address: 538 Folly Rd, Charleston, SC 29412
Website: Melvin’s Barbecue
Opening hours: Mon - Wed: 10:30am - 9pm; Thu: 10:30am - 8pm; Fri: 11:30am - 9:30pm; Sat: 10:30am - 9:30pm (closed on Sun)
8. Dukes Barbecue
If you are into sauces, you will not be disappointed when you dine at Dukes Barbecue. There’s a chain of them in South Carolina and they all take pride in their own version of mustard barbecue sauce. This is an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant to satisfy your barbecue cravings. After you have picked your meat, you can mix and match a variety of sauces available on the buffet. There are smokey ketchup-style sauce and a vinegar-pepper style, to name a few. Aside from smokey meats, they also offer other local dishes like Southern fried chicken.
Address: 331 Folly Rd, Charleston, SC 29412
Website: Dukes Barbecue
Opening hours: Sun: 11am - 3pm; Tue - Wed: 11am - 8pm; Thu - Sat: 11am - 9pm (closed on Mon)
9. Smoky Oak Taproom
Barbecue and beer always go well together. Smokey Oak Taproom is a great place to check out, especially in the evenings. Pair your order of pulled pork, brisket, chicken, or pork ribs with their selection of over 40 different kinds of beer. The secret to the flavor of their meats is red oak and hickory. They cook them slowly over the hot coals of this hardwood, making them tender with that smokey flavor. They also offer delectable choices of sides such as hand-cut fries and zesty collards.
Smoky Oak Taproom
Address: 1234 Camp Rd, Charleston, SC 29412
Website: Smoky Oak Taproom
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11am - 2am; Fri: 11am - 11pm; Sat - Sun: 11am - 2am
10. Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint
While most of the joints on this list offer either South Carolina traditional taste or Texan-style barbecue, Marin’s Bar-B-Que Joint offers a different approach. They follow the West Tennessee-style whole hog barbecue. Tennessee is best known for its “wet” and “dry” pork ribs. Martin’s sets itself apart from the rest in Charleston with their “wet” pork. The meat is basted during smoking, locking in the flavor and the juices. Expect a flavorful pulled pork shoulder when you dine at this place.
Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint
Address: 1622 Highland Ave, Charleston, SC 29412
Website: Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint
Opening hours: Tue - Thu: 11am - 9pm; Fri - Sat: 11am - 10pm; Sun: 11am - 9pm
Give in to Charleston's best barbecue joints
Charleston is more than its romantic cobblestone streets and historic antebellum mansions. In recent years, the local cuisine has elevated to a new level, especially with the consensus that South Carolina is the actual birthplace of barbecue in the US. Pick from our list of the 10 best BBQ joints in Charleston, South Carolina, and satisfy your cravings for both authentic and revolutionized smokey barbecue meat.
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