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Moe Cason: Delicious Charleston BBQ Ribs

 
Moe Cason: Delicious Charleston BBQ Ribs

Written by Reynolds Wrap® Chief Grilling Officer Moe Cason

Lewis Barbecue

464 N Nassau St, Charleston, SC 29403

They say you can take a man out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of a man. This holds true to Owner/Pitmaster John Lewis AND his BBQ. He came to Charleston by way of Austin, Texas, where he helped establish the iconic Franklin Barbecue and la Barbecue. He definitely brought his roots with him when he opened Lewis Barbecue in 2016. I walked into his restaurant and thought to myself, “This feels like a straight up old school Texas BBQ joint!” The décor is simple with retro touches, and the menu is traditional BBQ with a few Southwest-inspired items like brisket enchiladas.

As a pitmaster, I am always curious about the type of pits other pitmasters use. Lewis designed and custom built his 1000-gallon pits – welded with his own hands. These pits run 24 hours a day with oak wood and engineered for perfect airflow putting out well balanced heat. The science behind his pits is remarkable and pays off because his food is outstanding. I was thrilled to see the only type of pork rib offered were Spare Ribs which are my favorite and far more flavorful than baby backs. These tender spares exceeded my expectations with simple Texas spices, deep but not overpowering smoke flavor, and juicy as all get-out. I have one word: Exemplary.

The smoked turkey, brisket, and “hot guts” sausage were just as high quality, and the sides would be a hit at any cookout, but the Green Chile Corn Pudding is the MVP. John Lewis knows what he’s doing and deserves all the respect put on his name.

Rodney Scott Whole Hog BBQ

1011 King St, Charleston, SC 29403

Winning a James Beard award is a big deal and Rodney Scott Whole Hog BBQ lives up to this accolade. I’ve known Rodney from the BBQ circuit for a while now and he is the real deal. His restaurant is not stuffy or hipster; it’s just a place to get good old-fashioned Carolina BBQ. The process starts by burning sticks of oak wood in a burn barrel then shoveling the coal remnants into custom-built pits.

Whole hog reigns supreme in this establishment, and his signature menu item is succulent, flavorful, and cooked perfectly. The spare ribs had a beautiful, sticky sheen that I know were properly mopped with Scott’s original BBQ sauce. The sauce tasted so good that I wanted to drink it! The simplicity of the seasoning complimented the sauce for a pleasant balance of tangy and savory. But my favorite aspect of these lip-smacking ribs was the flame kissed grill flavor which can only be achieved cooking directly over hot coals. James Beard would have had a pile of clean bones, sticky napkins, and smile on his face; just like I did.

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