One of the main objectives of this trip to Myrtle Beach South Carolina was to find, and eat some authentic Carolina Style Barbecue. I have heard for years how this style of barbecue is so good. Excellent vinegar based sauces and tender meat drove me to seek and sample Myrtle Beach barbecue. As of now my search continues. After an exhausting 6 day attempt to eat said barbecue I had 2 meals and many closed establishments but I cannot say I ate real Carolina Style Barbecue. Here is the story.
The first attempt started with a GPS search for barbecue. Now there were parameters that had to be met. 1st, it had to be an individually owned restaurant. No chains or outlets that sold someone else’s barbecue. 2nd, it had to be cooked onsite. I wanted to physically see the barbecue smoker at the location. It ensures freshness and originality. 3rd it had to be Carolina Style. The first hit on the GPS took me to Radd Dews barbecue house. It sounded perfect. Making barbecue since the 60’s, and located in Conway South Carolina. We arrived on a Monday in time for lunch. Lesson 1….. No barbecue restaurants are open on Monday. The sign said they were open Wednesday for lunch. Came back Wednesday and they were closed. Too bad because I could smell the barbecue cooking. Unfortunately we would not have the opportunity to return.
Later that day as we explored North Myrtle Beach we came upon K T’s barbecue shack. We were starved and decided this was our chance. The restaurant was everything I expected from a South Carolina Barbecue joint. Smokers in the kitchen, a good bar, and several sauces from mild to hot on the table. The service was fast and we ordered the combo plate. Chicken, Brisket, pork ribs, and chopped pork were all included. We also got the white cabbage cole slaw and a tomato cheese dish that was kick ass. The highly anticipated barbecue plate arrived. What I thought was a chicken thigh actually turned out to be pork ribs. These ribs were so tough we could not even eat most of them. The chicken breast was ok as were the brisket and pulled pork. The real problem was flavor. There was little to no smoke flavor at all…. Or any flavor for that matter. The sauces were the only favorable part of the meal, but that is a disappointment. If the meat does not stand on it’s on the sauce ain’t gonna save the meal. K T’s was a nice place and had good atmosphere. The employees and owner were quite nice. The barbecue failed to impress.
After several closed establishments and out of business restaurants, someone recommended Big D’s Barbecue Barn. Hey it was recommended it had to be good right……… We arrived at the end of lunch and found a lunch buffet with 2 kinds of pork barbecue, a vinegar based pulled pork and a mustard based pulled pork. Also included were barbecue chicken, fried chicken and various vegetables and desserts. It was an all you can eat buffet and that should have been a clue. The pulled pork barbecue, both types, was fair at best. It was so chopped up it could have been any type of meat and the only flavor was the mustard or the vinegar base. The barbecue chicken was ok but it would not win any competitions. Big D’s got it’s start many years ago by cooking whole hogs and selling them. Somewhere along the way the fast buck and buffet took over. The fried chicken was pretty good, but it was not enough to get me to ever spend money there again.
So as Tastes Like Travel left South Carolina we still had our goal unfulfilled. I love barbecue and smoking all kinds of meats. As we travel the food is often the most important part of our travel. Maybe you know of a place we can try next time. If so comment on Facebook or at the bottom of this blog. Looks like we are going to need help finding genuine Carolina Barbecue.