Henry’s boasts that it serves “the leanest butt in town.” In many kinds of cooking, lean means dry — portent of joyless (albeit virtuous) eating. But when pork is cooked in a balmy haze of hickory coal smoke for 12 hours, then scrupulously hand-pulled to remove bone and fat, the remaining lean meat can drip with flavor. So it is in this conscientious establishment, which hits all the right notes of a righteous Deep South BBQ parlor.
Hacked-up pork, served in a 4- or 6-ounce sandwich or on a plate with a couple of side dishes, is succulent enough that sauce isn’t necessary. However, Henry’s mustard sauce is a tangy-sweet South Carolina paradigm, pairing beautifully with the velvety meat.
Ribs, which cook a mere (!) 8 hours, are ridiculously tender. Poke them gently and meat will separate from bone. Now, these ribs are not lean. No, indeed. Meat and fat are magically melded so that every bite weaves together the satisfying resistance of muscle fibre with the melting luxury of fat. Heavenly eating!
Among side dishes, sweet potato souffle is a stand-out, an earthy companion to pork, sweet enough that it could be dessert. The Midlands favorite hash on rice is less felicitous, rather like a wetter version of pulled pork.
Henry’s is a clean, efficient little shop with rustic wood tables and the aroma of smoldering hickory all around. I arrived at 11am when it opened, and ate right away, but I am told that at prime mealtimes, all seats are taken and there can be a wait.
There are two other Henry’s, one in Greenville at 1842 Woodruff Rd. (864-213-9770) and one in Simpsonville at 123 N. Main St. (864-967-0007).