I’m on the road again. At any rate, on a trip down to meet my little grand nephew. I have so far done a combination of bringing some of my own food in a cooler, gone out to eat dinner at a Cuban restaurant in Maryland in the company of my cousin, her husband and my uncle and aunt (Very Good!) with leftovers for breakfast, ate at a mediocre buffet at the bottom of Virginia, and now (well, November 3rd) dinner at Wholly Smokin’ Downtown, Florence, South Carolina.
Florence off of the Route 52 exit doesn’t seem to have much happening but loads of typical strip mall sort of things — motels, chain eateries, and so forth. And really bad traffic patterns and traffic lights that always turn red as you approach them – and stay that way for quite a while!
I’ll note that the gas prices were as cheap as anything I’ve seen so far on this trip, including further south in this state (which is when I needed to buy the gas…) But it also has, a little off the highway (I-95) a smokin’ fine BBQ restaurant.
When in South Carolina…. try barbeque!
While they do have the Carolina signature shredded pork shoulder, this restaurant also smokes up a variety of other genuine cuts, including salmon. I was dog tired after my drive to date, so I didn’t think to opt for the shredded pork — indeed I was in the mood for ribs. And, while I was about it, how about getting the two-meat sampler platter, and prepare up to review two styles of meat? I’d never eaten burnt ends before (they’re from the brisket), so that was my second selection for that platter.
Oh, yes, need some greens — we could pick two sides, and lima beans were the only green selection for sides (the restaurant does serve salad platters, too, but not as a combo).
The dinner was AWESOME. Both meats were tender; gently low and slow BBQ cookery in play. The ribs were not (as they so often can be) fatty. The burnt ends were entirely yummy – a taste treat for the gustatory soul. Sauce wasn’t even necessary!
Two types of sauces were supplied: the sweet, tomato based St. Louis sauce, and the mustard-based South Carolina sauce. Both were very good, but my tastes run towards the mustard, and I was glad to have finally had a chance to try this on “native” soil. Agreed, it belongs more with the Carolina shredded pork, but 1) I love mustard and I prefer my food less sweet, and 2) I need to limit my consumption of nightshades, of which tomato is one.
The lima bean/corn side was very tasty, lightly seasoned and a great complement to the meal. The sweet potato fries were of perfect texture.
Ambiance – the front seating area is a regular dining area — in the back is bar seating. On Thursday nights, a band plays live back there starting at 7 am. They seemed to be competent country. You can hear them in the front but you’d still be able to carry on conversations. The restaurant is neat and clean, and waitstaff are friendly, efficient, and capable of juggling several tables smoothly.
And yes, the food is all smoked on site.
Rating: 4.9. And so good and wonderful that I didn’t need or want breakfast the next morning. (Yes, I know… unusual!). I left satiated, not stuffed — no, I didn’t finish all the fries.
Wholly Smokin’, 150 South Durgan Street, Florence, South Carolina.
PS, edited 11/10/2016: I tried pulled pork BBQ in Columbia, but I wasn’t impressed with the place I stopped in at. Meh. And their mustard sauce was basically just — mustard. A little water and vinegar and some sugar.
Later, I passed by an open-air roadside pulled pork BBQ joint — looks like probably the Real Deal — but the sign announced that they were only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. But if you are on Route 11 going east out of Pickens, SC, check them out?