My assumption before moving to the south was I’d be invited over for backyard BBQ’s every weekend. I come from a family that grilled out every weekend, but this was more Long Island grilling… lots of fish and oysters, but also steak and chicken. So my stereotype for the south was ribs and more ribs and sweet tea… everywhere! When I moved down here I realized that potlucks are what are most common. I think I have at least 3 potlucks to go to every month, but sadly never any BBQ’s.
Thankfully over the past year, Kari and I have bonded over a shared interest in nature, hiking, and food… more specifically, BBQ. About 3 months ago, I shared my frustration with Cate Ryba about not finding a good BBQ place. She recommended Bull Hawgs in Pauline. I was excited, so Kari and I planned a date for the next Saturday. Sadly, I didn’t do enough research and found the place closed. I mean, we drove the 20 min there for nothing. Starved and in need of BBQ we landed at Carolina Barbeque in Spartanburg. And it wasn’t good.
A little deflated from our last trip, I made sure to ask advice from some local BBQ aficionados. Erica Brown was my savior. She told me that I had to go on Fridays, around lunch time, because it was rib day! And if you didn’t go early enough, they sometimes ran out. Since Kari works every Friday, I convinced her to take a long lunch today to go get the best ribs around. Plus, she is editing a book for Hub City with Bull Hawgs on the cover… I mean, it is just research.
At 1 PM today, Kari, Ian, and I headed back out to Pauline with the hope of it being open. As we drove closer and closer, our excitement mounted. We were hungry and delirious. We pulled up to the 1/3 gas station, 1/3 old general store, and 1/3 BBQ joint and saw the glorious sign “RIBS TODAY!” Oh yeah! The sweet ride has begun.
We walked in and it was everything we could’ve dreamed of. Taxidermy animals stared at us from every direction, the local police at a table gave us a “How ya doing?”, and the paper towel rolls (not napkins) on every table screamed messy deliciousness. Both Ian and I order the ½ rack plate and Kari ordered the BBQ sandwich. Ian was literally shaking with happiness when the plates arrived.
And it was delicious! I don’t think I have ever had a vinegar based BBQ sauce –which I believe is famous in North and South Carolina –was amazing. So thank you for recommending it and thank you Bull Hawgs for the most glorious BBQ I have had here in Spartanburg (well Pauline).
And as we sat there digesting our food and too many cups of sweet tea, I looked up and saw the bumper sticker “AHHHHHHH….. The Power of Pork.” Perfection.