Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Good Barbecue Restaurants in Charleston South Carolina Area

When visiting the Charleston area, it is imperative to take in at least one barbecue meal. There are plenty of options to choose regardless of location whether in the city or on the outskirts. I put together a quick list of some very good bbq joints located downtown Charleston as well as the surrounding areas. Of this list, I have tried Sticky Fingers, Bessingers, and JB’s. The other location Hickory Hawg ,comes highly recommended from friends and family. I have not tried Fiery Ron's and Jim ‘N Nicks in Charleston to date. I will have to test out these establishments in my future visits to the low country.


Sticky Fingers
Sticky Fingers is located at 235 Meeting Street in the downtown district. (There is also a location in Mt. Pleasant and in Columbia). These guys are a chain located throughout southeastern United States. This rib joint has some really tasty ribs with a myriad of sauce selections that include Carolina sweet, mustard, Memphis, habanero hot, and a few others. I purposely eat a light breakfast and lunch on rib day, so I can easily knock down a slab of Carolina Sweet with a side of sweet potatoes and a few cold Palmettos. I would definitely recommend this place for a great slab of ribs, but for true barbecue (pulled pork, chopped pork, pulled chicken), I would defer to one of the stops mentioned below.


This is another Charleston favorite located in the West Ashley area on Savannah highway (Hwy 17). This restaurant is one of many owned by the Bessinger family; Maurice’s and Melvin’s being the others. The pulled pork sandwich known as the “Big Joe” has a one of kind mustard based flavor that I have yet to find anywhere in my northern origin. The Carolina mustard flavor is always difficult to describe to my fellow yanks when I explain how unique and delicious this sauce is doused over pork. The sandwich comes with a choice of side and has a delicious sweet battered dipped onion ring. The homemade macaroni and cheese is to die for. We have tried to get the recipe from the counter help, but they insist on keeping this secret in the vault. Take time out to have a tasty barbecue lunch at this stop. There are numerous dishes for the younger ones. Just about every trip to the Charleston area requires a stop at Bessingers for a Big Joe, Mac and cheese and a grape Nehi.

James Island

JB’s Smokeshack

A few years ago we were heading back to Kiawah on Maybank from a long day in Charleston; we sort of stumbled upon this restaurant on accident as the restaurant choices got pretty lean the further we drove away from Charleston. This little diner located at 3406 Maybank Highway has a modest smoke house appearance that one could easily drive past if it weren’t for the numerous cars and trucks parked in front of this joint. We stopped in for what appeared to be a buffet night which made the place packed. We opted for a large order of pulled pork sandwiches and slaw and headed back home as the seats were pretty jammed. This place captures the essence of what a good barbecue joint should be with the small dining area tables covered in the red and white checkered table cloths, a large steel kettle of ice cold sweet tea in the corner, and the aroma of smokiness throughout. My conclusion of this place was the smoky barbecue meat was very tasty and slaw made an excellent sandwich topper. I give JB’s big thumbs up!

John’s Island

Hickory Hawg

This is one of the more recently added barbecue restaurants in Charleston area located in a strip mall at 2817 Maybank Highway on John’s Island. This restaurant is actually not too far from JB’s Smokeshack. I have not tried this restaurant but have spoken to relatives and other low country vacationers that absolutely love this place. The ribs are hickory smoked; as their restaurant name implies. This establishment is on my “to do” list with respect to barbecue joints to visit on my next voyage to the low country. The style of barbecue is known as east Carolina or Lexington style with vinegar and tomato base. The main fare includes pulled pork, ribs and burgers.

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