Food & Drink

6 South Carolina BBQ restaurants you have to try in Columbia

Why do people get so defensive about BBQ in the Carolinas?

Observer food writer Kathleen Purvis explains what happens every time she writes about BBQ - and tells us the one thing that astonishes her every time she eats a barbecue sandwich.
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Observer food writer Kathleen Purvis explains what happens every time she writes about BBQ - and tells us the one thing that astonishes her every time she eats a barbecue sandwich.

You could get into a full-on hour debate about which region has the best barbecue, but if you’re from South Carolina, you know the answer.

The Palmetto State — our lovely home.

Pork reigns supreme in the state, but the most amazing part about South Carolina’s barbecue is the variety of sauces you can have with your BBQ.

The Midlands is known for having a mustard-based sauce, thanks to the region’s German influences.

If you’re looking to try some amazing South Carolina BBQ, hit one of these Midlands restaurants:

1. Southern Belly BBQ

Why you should go: This Midlands BBQ made it to the No. 1 spot on both TripAdvisor and Yelp. It’s even made the list as one of the best South Carolina BBQ restaurants on Yahoo!, Sports Illustrated and more. With BBQ this famous, you have to taste what has everybody talking.

2. Little Pigs Barbecue

Why you should go: This BBQ buffet is another restaurant highly raved about both by customers and critics. Southern Living featured them as one of the best South Carolina barbecue joints and it wasn’t just the meat they praised. Apparently the restaurant’s sides, —including collard greens, hash and hush puppies — are also amazing.

3. Palmetto Pig

Why you should go: With a name like Palmetto Pig, you can expect nothing but authentic South Carolina barbecue at this restaurant. People on TripAdvisor and Yelp rave about the restaurant’s hush puppies, mac ‘n cheese and, of course, pulled pork.

4. Doc’s Barbeque and Southern Buffet



Why you should go: TripAdvisors say this is the best place to go if you just want some good, home-cooked barbecue.

5. True BBQ

Why you should go: This family-owned restaurant drew enough attention to catch a few celebrities’ eyes. R&B singers Toni and Tamar Braxton brought their family to the joint. That could mean a few more celebs could pop up from time to time. Be sure to try the “pretty lady” and “sexy lady” sauce when you have a chance.

Honorable Mention

6. Midwood Smokehouse

Okay, before you start to scream “Midwood isn’t South Carolina barbecue!” just hear us out.

This restaurant chain, located in both North Carolina and South Carolina, is still worth a visit even though it’s technically “Texas-styled” barbecue. Even former president Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton made a visit to the chain’s Charlotte location.

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