Dukes

All-You-Can-Eat | Bar-b-q
Memorable
One of the best
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The name Dukes will get the attention of any southern barbecue aficionado, for the Dukes family has been a player in hickory-smoked pork for longer than a half century. There are Dukes restaurants throughout South Carolina, and while each is an independent entity, all trace their ancestry to Earl Dukes, who opened a barbecue in Orangeburg in the 1950s. Most of them serve pretty much the same meal in pretty much the same way: an all-you-can-eat barbecue buffet, generally available only on weekends.

Dukes of Aiken is a classic, its pulled pork a helter-skelter mélange of hunks and strips and little nubbins that range from moist to chewy to crunchy. The meat is subtly laced with smoke flavor, but really, it is all about the pork itself: nutty-sweet, lean and luscious at the same time. Good as it is all alone, you definitely want to add some of the distinctive tangy yellow mustard sauce so popular in central South Carolina. Its snap teases the most out of the meat.

To go with the pork are more than a dozen different side dishes, including a really tasty hash and rice, cheesy squash casserole, mac ‘n’ cheese, broccoli-cheese casserole, rutabagas, greens, beans, et. al., and a big bin full of help-yourself cracklin’s that are feloniously sensual, quite literally melting in the mouth as soon as you crunch down on them.

If pork is not your dish, do consider chicken. Fried chicken is masterful, encased in luxurious crust and accompanied by freshly made potato chips. Barbecue chicken lacks the wickedly indulgent pleasure of fried, but its flavor is radiant and fully satisfying.

Note that Dukes is open for lunch and supper only Thursday through Saturday, as well as for lunch only on Wednesday and Sunday.

What to Eat
Dukes, Cracklins
Cracklins
Must-Try
Cracklins are just about the piggiest snack imaginable: strips of pork rind fried until shattering-crisp.
Dukes, Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken
Must-Try
Duke's fried chicken crunch-crusted, juicy, and vividly seasoned.
Dukes, Barbecued Pork
Barbecued Pork
Must-Try
South Carolinia 'Q: motley smoked cooked pork with tangy-sweet mustard sauce
Dukes, Squash Casserole
Squash Casserole
Must-Try
Squash rarely tastes as rich and indulgent as it does in Dukes' sumptuous casserole.
Dukes, BBQ Chicken
BBQ Chicken
Must-Try
BBQ chicken is nearly as memorable as BBQ pork.
Dukes, Cabbage
Cabbage
Tender cabbage is a great side dish for a meal full of spice and zest.
Dukes, Peach Cobbler
Peach Cobbler
Peach cobbler is more chewy than peachy.
Dukes, Rutabagas
Rutabagas
Rutabagas are tender and earthy with a peppery tingle.
Directions and Hours
closed now
Sunday11:30am - 3pm
MondayCLOSED
TuesdayCLOSED
Wednesday10:30am - 2pm
Thursday10:30am - 8:30pm
Friday10:30am - 8:30pm
Saturday10:30am - 8:30pm
Roadtrips
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
10 stops | 48 MILES | 1 hr 22 min

Aiken has long been a vacation destination for the horsey set – back in the 1950s, weekly non-stop train service direct from New York served wintering horses, horse owners, and their staff. It remains a destination for horse people of all kind. If riding (or watching) the four-legged athletes conjures up an appetite, there is…

10 stops | 286 MILES | 5 hr 42 min

South Carolina is a magnificent barbecue state with diverse regional styles. Heading north by northwest from the coast, you'll eat red-sauced, mustard-sauced, and minimally-sauced pork, with hash on rice being a common denominator among nearly all of the state's great whole-hog parlors. Restaurants in the southeast tend to have normal 6-day-a-week hours, but many of…

Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
No
Outdoor Seating
No
Website

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