Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Charleston BBQ Extras

Cover image by Jonathan Boncek — great as always
There's nothing like a little leftover barbecue! This week, I wrote the cover story for the Charleston City Paper on the current barbecue boom that's happening here in Charleston. As always, there was far too much good stuff from my interviews that didn't make it into the piece. Here are a few of the choice bits.

A Significant Factor in the Booming Charleston Barbecue Scene Is the F&B Talent Already Here

“The really positive thing I didn’t expect,” John Lewis says, “is to have such a fantastic staff.”

 “The level of the F&B people here is the best in the whole country. The most professional, the most competent.”

Lewis credits Ben Garbee, the General Manager at Lewis Barbecue who previously was at EVO pizzeria, for his extensive network within Charleston's culinary community and his ability to recruit great people for the team. As for the work itself,  “It’s harder than other kitchens,” Lewis says, “but it’s also lots of fun.”

At one point in the past, Melvin's Barbecue was cooking on J&R Oyler pits before switching to the gas-assist Southern Prides that they are now phasing out in favor of all wood on Oyler pits.
"I had them back in the early '80s in Charleston," David Bessinger says. "When Luther's BBQ came to town." Luther's was a Texas-based chain that was setting up what was going to be a large-scale barbecue operation in Charleston, and they installed a massive Oyler 1300 series pit. But the restaurant never opened, and Bessinger bought their Oyler and started using it at Melvin's. Ultimately, he didn't find it to his liking back then, but that was three decades ago. "They’ve improved on them a lot since then," he says.

Our Pitmasters are Heading to NYC
Perhaps tellingly, when I spoke to Aaron Siegel, he wasn’t at one of his three restaurants but rather up in New York City, where he and Garrigan was preparing to cook at the “Taste of Charleston” event at the James Beard House alongside Craig Deihl and Bob Cook of Cypress Restaurant, Chris and Suzanne Stewart of the Glass Onion, and Jonathan Banta of the Atlantic Room at Kiawah Island.

These days, it seems, a taste of Charleston cooking isn’t complete without a little barbecue.

And some good parting advice . . . Ultimately, Siegel’s advice is simple: “Stick to your guns and do what you do best and the folks in Charleston will go after it.”

3 comments: said...

Super-Duper site! I am Loving it!! Will come back again, Im taking your feed also, Thanks. bbq catering

Strange Party said...

This is a great place organize an event; they have great staff and great events put on here! I had nothing but great times and great conversations at event venue here. They served slider and shrimp cakes as appetizers with chicken skewers, and eggrolls that had veggies on the inside and some kind of creamy fruit sauce on top.

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