BBQ Road Trip #1
I recently joined the Southern Foodways Alliance as part of my embracing my roots and interest in examining the preservation of the best of Southern culture. The food of the South certainly is a cultural best. If you look at the SFA website, you will find a link to a short film “Cut Chop Cook” about The Scott’s BBQ in Hemingway, SC. It is a great film and captures a commitment to a heritage of pit cooked pork barbecue and pulled pork.
Scott’s is perhaps the most publicized South Carolina BBQ “joint.” It has been featured in Saveur , The New York Times, etc. ; it has been recognized by the Southern Food Alliance! Hey, food is life, I am writing about life. BBQ is an essential of Southern life. “Lets do a road trip to Scott’s as my first post on a revitalized Pindrop! We will make it part of a series on BBQ “joints” in South Carolina, the South, the US and the world!” What ambition…
What a start…
Ambiance: Scott’s is a tin roofed roadside, classic. I had actually looked it up on Google Street View and was anxious to see the property. I was not disappointed. At a crossroads one-half mile outside of Hemingway, SC, it is classic roadside Southern architecture: tin roof, concrete block construction, abandoned and broken florescent sign…perfect. Especially, the wooden pews/benches under the porch overhang
The interior is really more convenience store than restaurant. If it is busy; don’t expect a table. Go to the porch pew. If it is really busy, eat in the car or take out.
If you need to pick up essentials, Scott’s is also a store. Talk about a trip down memory lane. How do you pronounce “Vienna Sausage.” If it sounds like a city in Austria, you are in the wrong place. Cane syrup?
I found the staff to be great. You need to respect these ladies with the “yes mams” and “thank you mams” BTW, I’m in my 60’s but I still know how to respect people.
Food: After all that, I really hate to write this part of the trip review. I honor the heritage, I honor the ambiance, I honor the technique, I honor the wood, I honor the North Carolina vinegar barbecue (maybe it is also Pee Dee bbq). So having honored all that… the bbq and meal “sucked.” Why?
1. We came on a Wednesday (April 1) which is the first day they are open during the week. Great, I thought, “they sold out last week and it will be the first pigs off the pit.” Wrong. It was last week’s pig, held over with spicy vinegar sauce to keep it moist. I walked to the pit area and it was “cool.” After I left, I got a Facebook message that they were “sold out” for the day. Yes they had!
Those of you who show up this Thursday are in for a treat as the pig will be fresh, the skin will be warm and you, hopefully, will get the experience that the hype promises. We did not.
2. The sides? This is not the buffet bbq. Come for the meat. The beans are from a can and the slaw is inedible.
3. Bread? Wonder Bread…Awesome… it has been years…
4. Drinks? From the cooler. Pepsi, water, orange drink, etc. No homemade ice tea.
OK… it is “all about the meat, bout the meat. No trebble”
I did not know where to put this but, they offer pork skin. Not the fried stuff others write about; the trimmings! On a good day, this would be the pinnacle of Southern food. Chewy, dripping with fat…everything your Doctor and Trainer warns you about.
But, NOT TODAY! Maybe it was “APRILS FOOLS DAY”. No, it was a very bad day at Scott’s. I will repeat and report.
Next post: I am off to Portugal where they are proud of their roasted, acorn fed, black pigs. A bit too exotic for a second post, but opportunity presents itself. Hopefully, I can convince some producers to let me document. I will report, then back to Lexington, SC for Report #3.