When you're in the birthplace of barbecue, get ready for greatness.

There’s lots of bragging and bluster in barbecue, but there’s only one truth. Pit-style barbecue started here hundreds of years ago on St. Helena Island when the Native Americans taught the Spanish settlers how to cook their hogs in a pit. It seems the Spanish liked it, as it’s still here and tasty as ever—just waiting for you to dig in at any one of the authentic barbecue places all across South Carolina.

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In SC, we don’t take the word “barbecue” lightly, which is why we never call grilling a hotdog or burger “barbecuing.”

Cooking slow and low takes a lot of love.

Barbecue is not a tidy affair—It’s big, smoky, messy and altogether awesome to behold. If you get a chance, poke your nose into the back where the real business goes down—you just might catch a glimpse of a pitmaster, perfecting his craft and loving every minute of it.

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While you can get barbecued chicken and beef in various forms, pulled pork is the undeniable original South Carolina barbecue.

Four official sauces. Zero wrong answers.

While a lot of places stick to one kind of sauce and call it a day, South Carolina offers up four distinct barbecue sauces. The tangy mustard-style sauce, developed by German settlers in the Midlands, is most associated with South Carolina, but you can’t go wrong with any one.

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Most popular in the Midlands, the mustard and vinegar based sauce offers a lovely, tangy bite that’s perfectly suited for pork.

Heavy Tomato

This thick sauce is all about smoky sweetness and is popular in western SC. Broadly appealing, this is the sauce you’re most likely to find in the grocery store.

Light Tomato

Commonly used in the Pee Dee region of SC, this sauce is composed of vinegar, pepper and ketchup for a hint of sweetness.


Popular along the SC coast and thought to be the oldest sauce in SC, this red vinegar sauce adds a nice amount of heat and works magic on pork.

We're continuing to make barbecue history.

Seeing how South Carolina is The Birthplace of Barbecue, it’s practically become an art form here. In fact, one of our own pitmasters, Rodney Scott, recently took the James Beard Award for Best Chef, Southeast. It’s only the second time the award has gone to a barbecue “chef” and the first time ever that an African-American won the Southeast. Yes, Rodney’s barbecue truly rocks.

Dig into the history and download a BBQ trail map.

Learn more about the beginnings of barbecue in America, read up on the four official sauces and download a SC barbecue trail map at SCBBQTrail.com

Get the Map