Hite’s Bar-B-Que | Whole Hog | Columbia, SC

Review by: Michael Stern

The Glorious Rib Cut

Hite’s goes whole hog. Take a look at its rib cut. Not for the pantywaist, this great mass of protein comes from the midsection of a smoke-cooked hog. Crackly skin clings to the top of a thick stripe of belly. The belly rests, barely attached, to a quartet of ribs. Tart mustard sauce — a South Carolina signature — sets the whole huge meat monument aglow. This is one amazing piece of food.

Delicious Parts of the Pig

You can buy skin, ribs, and chopped pork independent of each other. You may have to do that if you arrive late. Connoisseurs come early and often buy out the day’s supply of rib cuts. Don’t worry, though. Marvelous as the rib cut is, each element, separately, makes taste buds very happy. You almost could make a meal of skins themselves; they retain that much meat. Crunch into one and pork flavor fairly explodes across your tongue. Chopped pork comes as a motley pile. Some pieces are off-white and double-bite size. Some are golden shreds. Throughout the meaty melange, mahogany-colored crunchy bits sing the celestial duet of swine and smoke together. Spare ribs come clad in meat that offers just the right tooth resistance. They ooze porcine goodness with every chaw.

Beyond hog and smoke-cooked chicken, Hite’s dining menu offers cole slaw, hash on rice, beans, and banana pudding. That is all.

Grocery Shopping

Cooks in search of groceries relish prowling through Hite’s butcher case for ready-to-cook meat in season (November through Easter). Here you’ll find chops, roasts, bacon, and sausage. Seekers of more exotic pork products avail themselves of liver pudding, souse, tails, feet, and neckbones. Need lard? Hite’s sells it by the gallon. All these are for taking home, not for eating on premises.

Hardly Any Place To Eat

In fact, there is no place to eat inside the little BBQ parlor. Everything Hite’s serves is taken out, and much is sold by the pound. But you can buy a sandwich or a plate with the right side dishes. Eat it at one of a few al fresco tables at the other side of the parking lot by a tranquil pond. Eager appetites simply dine off dashboard or tailgate.

A third generation of the Hite family now runs the operation. It remains true to central South Carolina barbecue tradition in every way. I don’t only mean its focused menu, its pit, and its devotion to cooking the whole hog, but also in its severely limited hours of operation. You can buy from Hite’s only on Friday and Saturday. If you like BBQ, plan accordingly. This is one of the state’s greats.

What To Eat

BBQ Chicken

DISH
Chopped Meat Dinner

DISH
Spare Ribs

DISH
Rib Cut

DISH
Skins

DISH

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