The Midlands barbecue scene offers a wide range of flavors and choices. South Carolina is home to four distinct types of sauces – tomato, ketchup, vinegar-pepper and mustard – and you can find restaurants in Columbia and Lexington that will offer them all. Here are some of the area’s most frequented pit-stops.
Hite’s Bar-B-Que has been around since 1957. This family-run business does whole-hog and hams, chicken and hash and and features a mustard-based sauce. Take-out only, open Friday and Saturday. 240 Dreher Rd., West Columbia, (803) 794-4120.
Little Pigs has been around since 1963. In addition to barbecue and ribs, you’ll find pork chops, chicken and fish and three sauces to choose from (mustard, tomato and vinegar-pepper). Open Wednesday through Sunday, 4927 Alpine Rd., (803) 788-8238, www.littlepigs.biz
Southern Belly BBQ specializes in pulled pork sandwiches. Choose a selection from the menu or make a custom sandwich from a list of seven sauces and add-ons such as roasted red peppers, pickles, cheese and bacon. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday, Southern Belly’s porch is the perfect place for a late lunch or early dinner. 1332 Rosewood Dr., (803) 667-9533, www.southernbellybbq.com
Palmetto Pig is an in-town all-you-can-eat barbecue buffet (which can be dangerous). Open Tuesday through Saturday, 530 Devine St., (803) 733-2556 www.palmettopig.com
Big T’s, the original location is a trailer with a pit alongside in Gadsden. There are dine-in locations, with fried chicken, fish and sides and such, at 7535 Garners Ferry Road, (803) 776-7132 and 1061 Sparkleberry Lane Ext., (803) 788-4295, bigtbbq.com
Belly’s Southern Pride in Lexington is my go-to place for smoked chicken. Mustard is the dominant sauce here. Open Friday and Saturday, 2508 Augusta Road, (803) 356-8284
LowCo BBQ is a catering company operated by Lou Hutto specializing in whole hog, pulled pork and beef brisket. You can get his barbecue at BarNone in Five Points (620 Harden St.) or hire him for your special occasion. www.lowcobarbecue.com
Yellow Dog Barbecue operates out of Pinch and The Attic, two bars in Five Points. Will Lacey dares to be different serving up smoke chicken nachos, brisket burnt-end sandwiches and BBQ chicken pizza. Pinch/The Attic are located at 640 Harden St.
For more information about barbecue locations in the Midlands or throughout South Carolina, a good resource is the SC BBQ Trail Map at bbq.discoversouthcarolina.com
Susan Ardis, Twitter: @foodsusan