Carolina BBQ

Review by: Michael Stern

The city of Aiken is surrounded by three traditional all-you-can-eat pig-pickin buffets: Dukes, Bobby’s Barbecue, and Carolina BBQ. Of the three, Carolina is the most humble: a fairly small place, more meditative than boisterous. But there is nothing humble about the array of food available. It’s a grand selection, a true taste of the Central Savannah River area.

The first time I tried to eat here, I had driven straight through from Connecticut, arriving early one Wednesday evening, ravening for BBQ. But I had forgotten that traditional South Carolina barbecue parlors are weekend-only affairs. I returned the next day (the weekend in this place starts on Thursday) for what proved to be a memorable feast.

The pork is a gorgeous, hacked-up mess of smoky pig that ranges from velvet soft mouthfuls to long, chewy shreds to crisp and crunchy bark. It’s sauceless as presented in the buffet; tables are set with sweet red sauce that is fine if that’s what you like and hot-sweet mustard sauce that is just right for this meat. You’ll also want hash on rice, the hash being a hearty stew that is comfort-food supreme and a de rigueur BBQ companion in the CSRA (Central Savannah River Area).

Among not-to-be-missed side dishes are sweet ‘tater tots rolled in sugar, buttery discs of fried squash, fried chicken skin, corn nuggets, onion-sweet hushpuppies, wonderfully ragged macaroni and cheese, extremely candied yams, and three different kinds of pickles.

Dessert is an afterthought. There are serve-yourself soft ice cream and a trio of soft sweet things including dense banana pudding, ultrasweet peach cobbler, and some sort of chocolate creamy swirl. I recommend skipping dessert in favor of a return trip through the exemplary buffet line.

Directions & Hours

10:30am - 8pm
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 10:30 AM – 1:30 PM
  • Thursday: 10:30 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:30 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:30 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

What To Eat

Banana Pudding

DISH
Barbecued Pork

DISH
Hash & Rice

DISH
Hushpuppy

DISH
Macaroni and Cheese

DISH
Peach Cobbler

DISH
Pickles

DISH
Fried Squash

DISH
Sweet ‘Tater Tots

DISH
Sweet Tea

DISH
Fried Chicken Skin

DISH

Carolina BBQ Recipes

Discuss

What do you think of Carolina BBQ?

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