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‘Let’s Go Whole Hog’: A ‘Culinary Tour’ of South Carolina Barbecue


Do you love barbecue? Whether or not you’re from the south, chances are that you’re a fan of barbecue in some form. It’s not only a classic southern dish, but a staple of the best summer meals and get-togethers.

That’s why today, we’re going to dive back in to a subject we’ve covered before – but people can’t seem to get enough of. And with good reason! Barbecue, in all of it’s variations, is rich in cultural heritage and just tastes great. Sound good to you? Then read on for more information about barbecue, and what makes a classic South Carolina barbecue authentic – and a truly not-to-miss experience.

First, it’s important to note that the term “barbecue” refers to smoking the meat. Just cooking it over a fire is actually “grilling” the meat, not a true barbecue. For a fully authentic experience, you need to have your meat slow smoked.

But in fact, when most people think of barbecue they’re thinking about the sauce. Many people have a preference – sweet, savory, tangy, or even just a dry spice rub – but they don’t know much about where that style of barbecue comes from. (If you could use a refresher course for info on that subject, check out our previous blog here.)

Here, we’ll cover the barbecue styles authentic locally. South Carolina has at least four sauce traditions. It’s known for a mustard-based sauce, but there are other regional variations that include tomato, vinegar-pepper, and ketchup-based sauces. (Some people count a variation called “light tomato,” as well. It’s basically the vinegar-pepper sauce with a little ketchup.) The sauce is sometimes added while cooking, and other times served on the side. Which way is “best” is a subject of much debate.

Another highly contested BBQ topic? Most often, when people say “barbecue” in South Carolina, they mean pork. Of course, you can have chicken or beef, but the local tradition is to go “whole-hog.” South Caroline is known for whole-hog barbecue, often served cafeteria-style so that you can choose from the cuts. This variety is most often served with the mustard sauce. Barbecue can be served as a cut of meat, or often as a pulled pork sandwich with slaw or other side.

Sound delicious? We think so. In fact, we know we’re not alone in thinking that South Carolina has some of the best barbecue anywhere.

In fact, some have said, “If your goal in life is to sample every style of barbecue in America, you don’t have to travel across the country to do it. Just visit South Carolina, the only state in the nation where you’ll find all four of the basic types of barbecue sauce, sometime on the same menu.”

If that sounds good to you, then we invite you to join us in a culinary tour of world-class Charleston cuisine – including barbecue. Book a tour, or give us a call to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!

Ready to learn more about how to experience the best culinary tours in Charleston South Carolina? We invite you to visit the website to learn more, then reach out to us directly with any questions. Whether you’re hungry for an authentic farm-to-table experience, are interested in spending some quality time in Charleston’s best bars, or just looking to get a taste of the most exciting cuisine in the city, we have the culinary tour for you.

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