Carolina Kitchen

Eat your way across the state during BBQ Cook-Off season Twitter: @foodsusanMarch 18, 2014 


    We’ve made a map to help you keep track of all the barbecue cook-offs in South Carolina. Download it at

    Columbia area BBQ contests

    Smokin’ at the Farmers Market Commissioners Cup BBQ Cook Off and Festival returns March 21 and 22 to the State Farmers Market, 3483 Charleston Hwy. Come out from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Friday, March 21, for the Anything Butt (no pork) competition or swing by for the main event 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, March 22, for pork ribs and Boston butts (tastings both days while supplies last). Sanctioned by the Southern BBQ Network, prizes will be awarded in the following categories: Grand Champion SC State Champion, Reserve Champion, Pork Butts (1st, 2nd, 3rd), Pork Ribs (1st, 2nd, 3rd), Anything Butt, and new in 2014, Peoples Choice. There will be activities for children and live music. Ticket packages available at ticket booth. More information, contact Jackie Moore at Team entry forms and vendor/food truck information at

    3rd Annual Benefit BBQ for Boy Scouts, set for March 21-22 at the Sumter County Fair Grounds, is a fundraiser for the Henry Shelor District, Boy Scouts of America (Sumter, Lee and Clarendon counties). Friday night, 6-9 p.m., “Wing-Ding” will be served to the public in a wing contest; and Saturday 11 a.m.-2 p.m., pulled pork butt will be served, with ribs available for purchase from cook teams.

    South Carolina Barbecue Association Cookoff Competition in Walterboro, March 21 and 22. Not to be confused with other organizations or competitions, this is hosted by The Colleton Center and Coastal Electric Co-op at Coastal Electric’s Outback facility along Jeffries Boulevard in Walterboro. The SCBA-certified event will feature an “Anything Butt” cook-off the evening of March 21 with the main event (Boston butt) March 22. Judges will be under the direction of Lake High Jr., president of SCBA. Teams can sign up by contacting Colleton Center at (843) 549-8360 or Wayne Keith at (800) 328-9425. The public is invited to taste and cast their votes ($1 per sample ticket). Families welcome.

    Columbia Warrior Cook-Off is a new barbeque competition sanctioned and judged by the S.C. Barbeque Association on May 24 at the State Fairgrounds. Prizes will be awarded to the top five barbeque cooking teams. The competition is open to the first 75 teams to properly complete the entry process by May 9 and be accepted. Cock Pit Barbeque, organizer of this event, seeks donations and sponsorships; proceeds from this event will go to the Wounded Warrior Project. More information at or or call Brooks Herring at (803) 269-4167. Downloadable entry and sponsorship forms linked to this article at

    South Carolina BBQ Trail is a site created by the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism that is a comprehensive resource of everything related to South Carolina barbecue. There is a downloadable map featuring mom-and-pop barbecue spots and features on sauces and sides.

The days are getting longer and warmer, for sure. And with that comes the restless feeling that I should take to the back roads of South Carolina and explore. And when I say “explore,” I mean “look for some really good barbecue.”

Luckily, beginning this weekend, I won’t have to drive too far.

Friday and Saturday, to me, mark the official start to the barbecue cook-off season in South Carolina with two events: Smokin’ at the Farmers Market Commissioners Cup BBQ Cook Off and Festival at the State Farmers Market in West Columbia and the South Carolina Barbecue Association Cookoff Competition in Walterboro.

Barbecue cook-offs generally work like this: Friday night is an Anything-Butt night where all sorts of items, other than pork, come off the smokers. I’ve sampled great tasting pizzas, chicken, shrimp (and grits) and vegetables during these evenings.

Saturday is what everyone waits for, the big event: Boston butts and pork ribs. Judging is usually done before noon and if you want to sample some of the best barbecue, you better come early. My dad and I have driven to one or two cook-offs just past a “normal” lunchtime (around 1 p.m.) and some of the teams have been picked clean. There’s almost nothing worse than showing up and there’s no ’Q!

Anyway, Smokin’ is sanctioned by the Southern BBQ Network, a great group of guys and gals who taught me all about the barbecue judging process.

This will be the third year of competition. The winning team receives an invitation to participate in the World Food Championships in Las Vegas in November.

The SCBA event in Walterboro, Smoke in the ’Boro, is new and organized by Lake High, president of the SCBA, and hosted by The Colleton Center and Coastal Electric Co-op.

You can eat your way across the state this spring and summer by attending a barbecue cook-off competition. I’ve listed a few here for your planning purposes (and see an interactive map at

Got a cook-off coming up and want to be included in our listing? Email us at


21-22 Smokin’ at the Farmers Market Commissioner’s Cup BBQ Cook Off and Festival, State Farmers Market, 3483 Charleston Hwy, West Columbia,

21-22 Smoke in the ’Boro, Coastal Electric Outback Building, 2269 Jeffries Hwy, Walterboro,

28-29 Hub City Hog Fest, Grain District, Spartanburg,

28-29 Horsin’ & Hoggin’ BBQ Cookoff, Newberry Street, Aiken


4-5 Big Brothers & Big Sisters BBQ Festival, 2502 West Hillcrest Terrace, Florence

4-5 Pawleys Island BBQ Battle at the Beach, Beaver Bar, 3524 Hwy 17, Murrells Inlet

10-12 Bar-B-Que Shag Festival, Hemingway,

11-12 Teal Chicken-Pig Pickin’, Coastal Carolina University,

11-12 Come See Me BBQ Cook Off, Wintrop University Lake, Rock Hill,

11-12 Carolina-Georgia Border BBQ Cook-Off, Hardeville

25-26 Project Hose BBQ Cook-Off, Main and Broad streets, Greenville,

26 Southern Flame Food and Music Festival, The Ponds, Summerville,


2-3 Picking and Pigging in the Park, Saluda Shoals Park,

2-3 Hog on the Hill BBQ Cookoff, Main and Gadsden streets, Chester,

16-17 Pig in the Park, Mineral Spring Park, Williamston,

24 Columbia Warrior Cook-Off, SC State Fairgrounds,

30-31 Days of Thunder VIII BBQ, Blues & Brews, Thunder Tower Harley Davidson, Elgin,


6-7 High on the Hog, White Hall Plantation, Beaufort,

6-7 Hejaz Shrine Temple BBQ Cook-Off, 200 Ranch Road, Mauldin

13-14 The Mighty Moo, Veterans Memorial Park, Cowpens,


10-12 Festival of Discovery BBQ & Blues, Greenwood,

19 The SC Peach Festival, Gaffney,


14-17 FLW Forrest Wood Cup, Lake Murray, or


TBA Edgefield Heritage Festival, Oakley Park, Edgefield,

TBA Smoke on the Water, 300 Senate, Columbia

5-6 Butts & Bluegrass BBQ Festival, Clover,

19-21 Tobacco Festival Cook-Off, Lake City,

26-27 City of Mauldin BBQ & Family Festival, Mauldin


TBA Kershaw Hog Jam, Kershaw,

3-4 Gaston Collard & BBQ Festival, Gaston,

31-Nov. 1 Pig on the Ridge, Ridgeway,

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