ABOUT RODNEY SCOTT’S BBQ
About Rodney Scott
2018 JAMES BEARD BEST CHEF: SOUTHEAST WINNER
Rodney Scott moved with his family to Hemingway, SC when he was just one year old. His family opened Scott’s Variety, a convenience store and grocery of sorts located on the side of the old highway that ran through town. Although they sold local produce and cold drinks throughout the week, every single Thursday they they did a little something extra: the Scott’s smoked whole hogs. The intoxicating smell of smoked pork was enough to bring in all the locals, but the flavor of the Scott family’s whole hog BBQ is what kept them coming back.
The Scott’s built their own hog pits out back behind the store and fired them up with hardwood coals. Young Rodney was just 11 years old when he cooked his first whole hog, and it couldn’t have come a day sooner. As word began to spread about the Scott’s weekly BBQ feast, more and more people were hankering for a taste. It turned out that just one day a week of whole hog BBQ was simply not enough. By the mid 1980’s they moved to smoking hogs two days a week, and before long two days turned into three. Finally, in 2012 they added a fourth day, offering old-fashioned whole hog BBQ every week from Wednesday through Saturday.
But it wasn’t just locals that were eating all those hogs. People drove for hours — from Charleston, 90 miles south, and even beyond — having heard about Rodney Scott and the old-fashioned whole hog BBQ they were cooking in Hemingway. Before they knew it, even the New York Times was praising Rodney and the magic of Scott’s BBQ.
In 2010 Rodney was invited down to Charleston to cook at the Charleston Wine + Food Festival. Rodney, accompanied by his infectious personality and delicious food, was an instant hit and by the end of the festival people were already calling him the “Charleston BBQ Guy.” Nobody cared that he had traveled 90 miles for the occasion. More event invitations followed, and Rodney traveled distances as far as Australia and Belize to share his passion for whole hog BBQ.
As Rodney’s notoriety grew around Charleston, so did the requests for him to open a joint a little closer to town. Impressed by the hospitality of everyone he met in Charleston, Rodney fell in love with the town and its charm. In July of 2016, Rodney Scott left the family business to start a new chapter and open his own place.
Rodney Scott’s Bar-B-Que in Charleston takes all the things that Rodney values about BBQ and his time in the family business and combines them with a larger space and an expanded menu that lets him incorporate his life experienc
es into the foods he loves to eat. Whole hog is still the king of the menu at Rodney Scott’s BBQ, but it’s got a lot of flavorful friends to keep it company. From the fan-favorite spare ribs that are covered in a special rub, slow-smoked and slathered in Rodney’s Sauce, to baked mac n’ cheese with a crispy breadcrumb topping, there are many items that showcase Rodney’s food lifestyle.
Southern fried catfish and pit-cooked BBQ chicken provide a little variety to an otherwise pork-packed diet, and homemade sides like fresh-cut shoestring fries satisfy a craving like nothing else can. Vibrant memories of his mothe
r making banana pudding on Sunday afternoons led to Rodney adding homemade banana pudding to the menu. And Rodney’s personal favorite Southern comfort food, Chicken Perlo, is crafted with both skill and creativity, offering his Charleston guests the same joy that he receives from eating it.
But just because Rodney’s menu has a little bit of variety doesn’t by any means signify he’s forgotten about that BBQ. Smoked over glowing coals of oak with a touch of hickory and pecan hardwood, the fresh whole hogs are first cooked belly down for 12 hours before they’re flipped over on their back, seasoned and doused liberally with Rodney’s Sauce and allowed to cook a little longer to let the flavors soak in. These hogs are then pulled and served on sandwiches, as a plate with two sides, over grits with a side and cornbread and, of course, by the pound. In fact, Rodney Scott’s BBQ even has a drive-thru window so folks can leave work and pick up a full meal on their way home.
The passion Rodney Scott has for the joy of a satisfied diner is simply too big for a small town. And though its roots run way back to that little roadside joint in Hemingway, Rodney’s Scott’s BBQ is ready to branch out in Charleston.
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