Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang!

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Heartbreaksoup
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2012/09/04 12:57:58 (permalink)

Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang!

In February, I set out on a solo road trip driving around Alabama - literally in a great big loop around the state - to eat my weight in barbecue, and a couple of other things.  The resulting 7-part series on my blog has turned out to be one of the most popular things that we've ever featured on Marie, Let's Eat! and so I'd like to try to repeat it with a two-day trip around So'ca'lina, eating hash and rice and mustard sauce over pork at ten or more places, plus two or three local curiosities.
 
I'm assembling a rough itinerary of where I'm going.  The basic plan is to start around 11 am on an October Thursday in Pendleton (off I-85 south of Greenville) at a popular place called Smokin' Pig, and then stop into Greenville's Smoke on the Water around 12.30.
 
What I might do after that is... continue up I-85 to Gaffney and Willard's Hash & BBQ, then SC-5 and SC-55 to Clover and Courtney's BBQ.  Another twenty miles along SC-55 puts me in Rock Hill at Bats BBQ.  Continue east, via SC-5 and US-521 to Cheraw and Bill's BBQ.  The trip wouldn't be complete without a stop at South of the Border.  Then south down US-301 to Schoolhouse BBQ in Scranton, and possibly stop for the night in Lake City.
 
Is anybody familiar with these joints?  In most cases, I've picked them for what looks like the ease of getting there, as I have so much driving to do.  Am I overlooking a much better nearby alternative in favor of one of these?
 
I haven't started working on day two yet, but here are some thoughts:
 
Charleston and Columbia will not be included.  There will be time enough to linger in these larger cities later on.
I will probably work my way down I-95 some ways, and cut over to Orangeburg for a stop at the old Dairy-O.  Orangeburg will probably be the southernmost stop on the trip, unless anybody is aware of any place around St. George's that I should go.
I'd rather not use I-26 going back north, but haven't considered the most fun other route back to Greenville.  I would like to travel *west* of I-26, probably up US-178...  Does anybody know of any good places this way, in towns like Batesburg or Saluda?
I have no need to stop by any of Maurice's restaurants.
I am curious, however, to see one of South Carolina's Zestos, if there is one outside Columbia.
Is there anything at all along I-20 between Augusta and Columbia?
Last stop will probably be in Anderson somewhere, before returning home.
 
Legendary (or otherwise highly regarded) joints that we have already featured at our blog and do not need to revisit: The Beacon, Midway BBQ and Kingsman.  I don't need to detour in their directions.
 
Thanks in advance for any input!
#1

28 Replies Related Threads

    buffetbuster
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/09/04 13:15:03 (permalink)
    I love the ambition here! 
     
    It isn't mentioned on your list, but the 521 BBQ in Indian Land is excellent.  And if you are interested in non-barbecue suggestions, a pimento cheeseburger and cherry smash from Northgate Soda Shop in Greenville and the hot dogs from the original Skin Thrashers location in Anderson are worthwhile stops.
     
    Good luck and enjoy!
    #2
    Heartbreaksoup
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/09/04 13:49:14 (permalink)
    I might sub 521 BBQ for Bats, thank you!  And yes, non-BBQ recommendations are very nice as well, although cue, hash, and chicken mull/stew are the main objectives, I'd love to know about anything else along or near my path that is notable.
     
    We have been to Northgate for the blog and agree that it's excellent.  It didn't occur to me that mention that I've been there, and to Henry's Smokehouse, and don't need more Greenville recommendations, though.    Smoke on the Water will be the only Greenville stop this time; we'll be returning to that city soon to take our baby to their children's museum.
     
    Skin Thrasher's might make for a good story because of its history, though.  Marie and I did stop by one of their stores in Greenville in 2010 and honestly were not really impressed, but perhaps the original location might have something new to inspire me.  I'm kind of ambivalent about it.  Anything else in Anderson stand out for anybody?
    #3
    improviser
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/09/04 14:40:33 (permalink)
    I really enjoy The Pompous Pig in Anderson. I always get their sausage, because you hardly ever see it on menus at Southern barbecue places.
     
    I've been meaning to try The Smoked Pig for awhile. It always has a big crowd whenever I drive by.
    #4
    Sue in MtP
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/09/05 20:14:28 (permalink)
    You really should consider Scott's in Hemingway. It's Mecca for us locals, and it's not far out of your way. I also like Brown's in Kingstree.
    #5
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/09/05 21:10:34 (permalink)
    Heartbreaksoup
     
    I truly envy your trip. Between visiting Charleston and vicinity several times  and my small "bite" of Columbia last week, I'm curious to see what lies in the rest of the state.
    #6
    Heartbreaksoup
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/09/06 13:06:21 (permalink)
    Hemingway is only 25 miles from Lake City.  That sounds reasonable!  Thank you, Sue!
     
    Oh, my, I just read what John T. Edge has to write about Scott's.  Sweet Christmas, I have to wait 'til OCTOBER to go?!?!
     
    http://www.nytimes.com/20...ing/10United.html?_r=1
    #7
    Sue in MtP
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/09/06 19:24:40 (permalink)
    Aw. poor thing. Think about it this way: you have something to look forward to!
    I hope you love it like we do. You'll be in very rural country. Just in case you don't now, Ron McNair is Lake City's favorite son. 
    #8
    ayersian
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/09/06 21:19:13 (permalink)
    Heartbreak, PLEASE sub 521 BBQ for Bats in Rock Hill!  I'm from RH and can tell you that Bats is nothing special -- like many newer BBQ shacks, they're trying to do too many things (ribs, pulled pork, brisket, links, etc.), none of which is worth eating.  I went there for the first time last month and won't be back.  Any place that uses the term "pulled pork" instead of "BBQ" in the Carolinas ought to be ashamed.  There is no good BBQ in Rock Hill, but 521 BBQ in Indian Land is well worth the drive.  I just finished the 26-stop Historic NC BBQ Trail, so I'm curious to read your findings in my home state.    Chris
    #9
    evanjohnson
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/09/11 15:40:36 (permalink)
    Sue in MtP

    You really should consider Scott's in Hemingway

    I second Scotts Variety in Hemmingway.  Sean Brock of Husk Restaurant (Charleston) took a seasoned pro hog cooker (Rodney Scott) to NYC to win best of show at Meatopia 2011 for whole hog. ()  Just don't visit the restrooms at Scotts- rustic is an understatement.
     
    Also, Lonestar Barbeque in Santee is worth a visit.  The BBQ is good but not great but the sides by CIA-trained Chef Chris Williams are outstanding.  Chris works alongside his wife and children in some cool old buildings that have relocated to the site.  Just off I-95 in Santee.
    #10
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/09/11 20:54:00 (permalink)
    Hi Heartbreak!  (1) Have you been to Shealy's in Batesburg-Leesville yet?  It's worth the trip, but make sure you try the fried chicken and green beans.  (2) I don't know of a Zesto's outside Columbia, but you really should try the Triangle City location once you get here.  
    #11
    Heartbreaksoup
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/09/12 15:34:07 (permalink)
    Nancy, I flipped a coin between Shealy's and Jackie Hite's in Leesburg.  US-178 conveniently goes right through town on the way to Anderson!
     
    Thanks for the input, everyone.  The current plan is now:
     
    1. The Smokin' Pig, Pendleton
    2. Smoke on the Water, Greenville
    3. Willard's Hash & BBQ, Gaffney
    4. Courtney's BBQ, Clover
    5. 521 BBQ, Fort Mill
    6. Bill's BBQ, Cheraw
    7. South of the Border, Hamer
    8. Schoolhouse BBQ, Scranton
    -stop in Lake City for the night
    Day two:
    1. Scott's BBQ, Hemingway
    2. Brown's BBQ, Kingstree
    3. McCabe's BBQ, Manning
    4. Dairy O, Orangeburg
    5. Shealy's BBQ, Leesburg
    6. Dixie Drive In, Greenwood
    7. Pompous Pig, Anderson
     
    Now I just need to phone 'em all tomorrow and make sure nobody up and closed on me.  So many of these places are only open Thursday, Friday and Saturday!
    #12
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/09/12 23:09:58 (permalink)
    They're both good, but I would give the edge to Shealy's, so good for you.   Can I nitpick one more thing?  You'd be better off spending your South of the Border time (jiminy christmas) at Shiloh Fish House in Chesterfield.  :)
    #13
    Sue in MtP
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/09/13 07:18:12 (permalink)
    I SO agree. I see that big sombrero and I step on the gas. Yuk.
    #14
    Heartbreaksoup
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/09/13 15:17:53 (permalink)
    South of the Border will be the first thing that I drop in the event that I get sick of driving, to be sure.  I wish to feature it at my blog because I have a great love for bizarre novelty architecture.  I don't expect there's going to be anything here worth eating (and heaven knows I will have had plenty), but, much like the old Kay's Kastles signs that I've located and featured, and our own Big Chicken (which certainly isn't worth setting foot in), I'm keen to let my camera take me all over the tacky-fool place!
    #15
    Sue in MtP
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/09/13 20:15:56 (permalink)
    I get that. Just plan to use the bathroom somewhere else. :D
    #16
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/09/13 23:03:51 (permalink)
    There's tacky-fool, and then there's near-racist craven money-taking that I guarantee one day you'll be hiding from your kids.  
    #17
    rs303909
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/10/01 23:59:58 (permalink)
    You need to swing by South of the Border just to buy some spicy Blenheim Ginger Ale. Still made with sugar and so much ginger it will give you quite a tingle in the back of your throat and only comes  in bottles Plus it might settle your stomach after all that food.
    And since the renovations its a lot nicer. Not much in the way of food, but  a nice greasy tamale is OK once in a while.
    #18
    Sue in MtP
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/10/07 08:40:24 (permalink)
    You can get Blenheim all over SC without having to put up with faux Pedro and yucky bathrooms:
     

    #19
    evanjohnson
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/10/09 08:36:35 (permalink)
    Drink the HOT pink capped Blenheims!
    #20
    Heartbreaksoup
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/10/19 21:57:31 (permalink)
    This was where I ended up in the end:
     
    1. The Smokin' Pig, Pendleton
    2. Tanner's Big Orange, Greenville
    3. Willard's Hash & BBQ, Gaffney
    4. Courtney's BBQ, Clover
    5. 521 BBQ, Indian Land
    6. Bill's BBQ, Cheraw
    7. Schoolhouse BBQ, Scranton
    -stop in Lake City for the night
    Day two:
    1. Scott's BBQ, Hemingway
    2. Brown's BBQ, Kingstree
    3. McCabe's BBQ, Manning
    4. Dairy O, Orangeburg
    5. Shealy's BBQ, Leesburg
    6. Smokey Joe's BBQ, Greenwood
    7. Dixie Drive In, Greenwood
    8. Pompous Pig, Anderson
    9. Cook Out, Anderson
     
    I'll write it all up for our blog in a couple of weeks, but the gold star went to Scott's, which was absolutely incredible, just about the best, or darn near close to it, barbecue I have ever had.  Amazing!
     
    I abandoned South of the Border for time constraints, which was just as well, as I took a long break at a Best Buy in suburban Charlotte and then got caught in very long rush hour gridlock on I-485, and the sun set before I would have arrived, making the visit pointless.  I am, of course, quite familiar with Blenheim's.  It is very good, but not a patch on Buffalo Rock.
     
    The other very good places were: Smoking Pig, McCabe's, and Pompous Pig.  Everything else (bbq-wise) was pretty good / okay with three terrible exceptions: Schoolhouse, Brown's, and Smokey Joe's.  I did not enjoy any of these at all.
     
    Scott's, and Midway in Union (which I've visited before), are by leagues the best SC BBQ that I've found.  Interestingly, Midway now runs Willard's, but while their hash and mull are the same, and fabulous, the pork is emphatically not, just kind of so-so.  One day, I'll do a two-day tour like this again, and try some different places on a different route.
    post edited by Heartbreaksoup - 2012/10/19 21:59:49
    #21
    Heartbreaksoup
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/10/19 21:59:10 (permalink)
    Oh, and Nancypalooza - there WAS a Zesto in Anderson.  It is a, ahem, BESTO today!  Hooray for lost franchise agreements! 
    #22
    Heartbreaksoup
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/11/06 02:45:47 (permalink)
    I just wanted to let everybody who helped out know that I've completed my blog posts and photos about this trip.  You can start reading here:
     
    http://marieletseat.com/2...uth-carolina-part-one/
     
    And just click on ahead through the links at the bottom of each page.  Enjoy!
    #23
    evanjohnson
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/11/06 08:51:56 (permalink)
    Nice write up.  A lot of miles and que!
    #24
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/11/07 07:57:17 (permalink)
    Thanks for the heads up on Scott's BBQ.  I will be driving from Raleigh to Charleston next month and it sounds like the detour to Hemingway will be worth it.
    #25
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/11/07 08:23:38 (permalink)
    Heartbreaksoup
     
    Thanks for the heads up on the SC BBQ joints.
     
    As I told you when I met with you and Marie back in August, your blog is just a wealth of  valuable information.
    #26
    improviser
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/11/07 13:52:14 (permalink)
    Glad you enjoyed The Pompous Pig. I still haven't made it to The Smoking Pig, but I'll definitely eat there soon. Looking forward to reading your trip report. 
    #27
    ann peeples
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/11/07 18:24:59 (permalink)
    Very nice blog.....looking forward to your report, as well.
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    tavernbowl
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    Re:Help me circumnavigate South Carolina, gang! 2012/11/26 04:16:18 (permalink)
    there are local food corners avail you the the varieties of food saga and some exciting games activity thrills.there's the lot of parking space. thus totally fun and charm all around.yo should opt there.
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