DISCLAIMER (because people are having a hard time figuring this out): I am in no way connected to, affiliated with, married to a cousin of, live next door to, own stock in, supply pigs to, fly my ultralight over, swing dance with, play jai alai with, hunt leprechauns with, or have anything to do with Sweatman’s BBQ. This was purely a write-up of my personal experience at Sweatman’s in 2006. Things may have changed, or they may have not. Absorb this blogpost at your own risk. I make no guarantees.
Living in Charleston and having a small pork obsession I had heard about Sweatman’s BBQ for a while. I tried to make it out there a few weeks back but it was closed (yes I should have checked the Hours). So knowing I didn’t have much planned for the labor day weekend the wife and I decided to make the hour or so trip from Charleston to Holly Hill to give Sweatman’s a try.
When you come around the long corner on Highway 453 Between Holly Hill and Eutawville you see Sweatman’s from far off and it stands out. From the front, the old house from the late 1800’s is situated next to a huge pecan tree and has a long front porch evenly spaced with hanging ferns. The remote locale and the century old structruce more than hinted at what the que was going be like. We hit right at 12:30 and the line was literally out the door. Being that it is dove season I can easily say that 75% of the people there were in woodland camo all the more adding to the country small town feel Sweatman’s has. We both ordered pulled pork sandwiches with slaw and one order of banana pudding. The lunch buffet consisted of pulled pork with the expected SC mustard sauce, another tray of pork with what they called “Katchup sweet sauce”, an un-sauced tray of pulled pork, ribs, hash, rice, home-made pickles and slaw.
We took a seat in the dining room (an obvious more recent addition to the old house) which was full of people enjoying what I had been told by a number of people is some of the best BBQ in SC. Those people were right, he BBQ was fantastic. Lean, cooked perfectly, slightly smokey with a tangy mustard sauce that is even to or exceeds any of the style I’ve had before. The slaw was great too. Not too much mayo, a little tart and matched up fantastically with the pork. The waitress immediately brought us a full pitcher of sweet tea and water. I am not normally a sweet tea drinker (did I hear someone call me a Yankee?) but even so, I had about 5 cups. As we were finishing up the table next to us got a nice sized plate of skins that looked, smelled and sounded (crunch!) very good. On the way out we noticed the sign that said “We do not guarantee skins!”. Had I known they were an option, we would have ordered some. Next time for sure. For the three sandwiches (yes I had two, so what), tea, and banana pudding we spent about 12 bucks. Not bad at all.
Once we finished I wanted to head around back to see the pit. I wasn’t disappointed. There was a big pile of oak waiting to be broken down and another large pile of already split oak waiting to be added to the pit. While hickory is my wood of choice, oak is a fine substitute. I wanted to take a tour of the pits but felt a little guilty because of how busy they were. Plus it was pretty clear that they had finished any cooking for the week.
Sweatman’s is worth the trip if you are in the area. Next time we may try coming up for the dinner shift. I would guess the buffet has more choices of sides and I’d like to get a shot at some ribs and some skins. Definitely recommended.