Rodney Scott’s BBQ – a cut, chop, cook kind of place
A James Beard Award, an episode on Netflix Chef’s Table, many TV Shows, a BBQ book, 5 restaurants and a 6th of monstrous size under construction; Rodney Scott, with his Rodney Scott’s BBQ restaurant empire, the man is rightfully the ‘Hottest Pitmaster’ of the USA today. What once started with working nightshifts in his family BBQ-Joint in Hemmingway – where Rodney with red eyes as a standard-bearer of the authentic craft waved the mop over many smoke-shrouded pigs – he has now grown into a true businessman. In a refreshing environment of hip businesses in the larger cities, he introduces an increasingly large group to the art of whole hog barbecue.
When I first met Rodney, it was still in Hemmingway. During my first Road Trip through the USA it was the last stop before we would fly home from the Charlotte airport. At the end of the morning, Rodney was toiling in the semicircular romney shed above the concrete tubs where the last pigs for the day sucked up a full gulp of smoke before being plucked by hand to piggy deliciousness. Now more than 8 years later I spoke to him again, this time in his Charleston, N.C. location, the first of five BBQ joints to bear his name. He himself was no longer sweating over the steaming pits (which now consist of mobile custom steel grills) instead he is busy expanding his whole hog barbecue empire together with his investors.
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Rodney Scott’s BBQ:
Old School Traditions in a fresh and vibrant setting
This time we were in South Carolina for the new book ‘Brand New BBQ’ and chose Rodney Scott’s BBQ as a destination to get a taste of an old tradition in a new setting. Where Rodney Scott’s BBQ has succeeded particularly well is to be a refreshing and innovative BBQ restaurant. Fresh colors in the appearance, a striking amount of light in the dining room and beautifully presented dishes full of balance is what you will find at the front. Behind the scenes things are still old school. Wood is cleared (the cut), split (the chop) and burned to coals. These are then scooped with a shovel into custom built BBQs in which whole pigs are traditionally smoked during the night (the cook). These are then picked by hand and seasoned with a semi spicy rub and the traditional vinegar-based BBQ sauce. The balance you get from mixing the fattier parts (the belly, shoulders and neck) with the lean parts (the fillet and the ham) and the high acidity make this a pulled pork that is easy to digest and not heavy on the stomach.
During our visit we were lucky that Rodney was nearby, we had a short chat and before we knew it our whole table was filled with a huge cornucopia of BBQ meat and side dishes. We enjoyed the hush puppies, the greens, cracked the ribs with great enthusiasm and took large bites of the very tasty pork. And with every bite it was confirmed time and again: Rodney Scott’s BBQ is the tasty fusion of old & new school BBQ.