Re:Weekend in South Carolina
Mon, 10/26/09 11:15 AM
Before I left on this trip, I contacted Chris of ayersian to ask for a recommendation near Charlotte before the drive down to Columbia. The place Chris recommended was 521 BBQ in Indian Land, SC, which closes at 8:00PM. My plane was scheduled to land at 6:35PM, so if everything went smoothly, I should have no trouble making it on time. But, of course, the real world doesn't work that way does it? My plane landed 12 minutes early. But there were no available gates, so we sat on the runway for almost 20 minutes. Since all my luggage was carried on, I hustled down to Budget Car Rental. And they had a sign that said that they were closed at I had to go to Avis. Apparently, I was the only person on the planet who hadn't heard that Avis bought Budget. So, I got in the long line at Avis. One person in front of me is arguing that it shouldn't cost more to bring back the tank empty and was throwing a fit. I was ready to prepay this guys gas just to shut him up. Finally, I get to the front of the line and there is a problem with my rental. He tells me I need to catch the shuttle to the off-site lot and ask for the manager. I do this and it takes the manager 15 minutes to show up. At this point, I am on the verge of going insane. The manager checks me in and my car is waiting for me, with engine running, next to the curb. What that was all about, I have no idea. It is now just a few minutes before 8:00PM and I figure any chance of me eating at 521 BBQ is out the door. But, it is good to have friends in high places. And when I mean high places, I am referring to connections at bbq parlors. Chris' friend Amy works at 521 and I call her to tell her I will be too late. But in a sweet Southern accent, she tells me they have a combo tray waiting for me, that they still have to clean up and to get there as fast as I can. Can do! Unfortunately, my GPS would not accept the name of the town Indian Land. While driving way too fast to get there, I call Amy back for help with the directions. Her directions were perfect, but it took her telling me them a few times. Once again, my Yankee ears weren't hearing things correctly. When she told me to go past Indian Land High School, I thought she said hospital. She said, no, high school and this time I heard hostel. Does Indian Land really have a youth hostel? Finally, I understood her and pulled up at 521 BBQ at 8:20PM. Amy was waiting for me at the door and immediately put this plate down on the table. The crinkle cut fries and baked beans were all fine, but the ribs, with meat easily pulling off the bone were the first thing I polished off. Even better was the excellent chopped pork. Extremely moist and tender, I had a great time eating this with the three different sauces you are given. The red tomatoey sauce and yellowish mustard sauce are both commercial sauces, with the tangy vinegar sauce is homemade.
Excellent! Also coming with the meal are some fantastic sides. In general, I'm not a hushpuppy fan. Most hushpuppies I run into have a hard shell with a gummy interior. But not these. 521's hushpuppies are oddly shaped, wonderfully crunchy, with a faint sweet taste on the inside. Sorry, the photos of the hushpupies were too blurry to post. Another highlight is the vinegar cole slaw, which reminded me just how close I was to the North Carolina border. Along with a large glass of good sweet tea, this was a bbq meal to remember! While they continued to clean up, I took a few inside photos of the place. Can you believe that not only didn't they not charge me for all this wonderful food, they even insisted I take some more pork and ribs with me. How cool is that? Needless to say, I owe a big thanks to Amy for the incredibly generous hospitality and Chris for setting this up. 521 BBQ was easily the best of the three bbq joints I visited during my weekend. http://www.roadfood.com/R...229-5330/521-bbq-grill
<message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 10/26/09 11:21 AM>