Perhaps it’s just because I’ve grown up in North Carolina, but I feel like SC is a little overlooked when it comes to BBQ. We talk about North Carolina BBQ often, but delicious smoked meat doesn’t disappear when you cross the border. In fact, when Southern Living Magazine released its yearly top 50 Barbecue Joints, it was actually the Palmetto State that came out on top, in two different ways. 9 BBQ restaurants in South Carolina included on Southern Living’s Top 50 Barbecue Joints for 2023. That’s one more than North Carolina’s 8. It was a South Carolina spot that ranked highest on the list as well-coming in 5th.
A good portion of these are located in the Charleston area, which is known for its culinary scene. But there are also some small town joints steeped in history.
So how exactly where these BBQ joints ranked? Southern Living’s Contributing BBQ Editor Robert Moss, traveled across the South trying as many restaurants as possible. So each of the top 50 restaurants is personally tested and approved by a certified expert. He took into consideration factors such as overall experience, setting, food presentation, sauces, and regional authenticity. Some recognized restaurants are repeats from previous years (if you’re good you’re good!). However, there are also some new additions to the rankings.
It may come as a surprise that South Carolina’s 9 restaurants on the list aren’t the most. That honor goes to Texas who had 14 spots included on this list. I guess everything is bigger in Texas (and they probably have more to choose from!) So take a look below at each of the South Carolina restaurants recognized as the best of the best. Interested in the full list? You can find that here. Thanks to Southern Living for sharing this information with us!