*** THIS RESTAURANT IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED ***
Jackie Hite’s is a grand South Carolina barbecue experience every day it’s open (Weds-Sun, lunch only). It is at its best on Friday, for what Mrs. Hite, Jackie’s wife, calls the pig pull. That is when whole hogs, long-cooked over hickory coals, are chopped up in the back room and laid out on the help-yourself buffet in piles of ham, loin, ribs, shoulder, and large, crunchy pieces of insanely luscious, salty and smoky skin. Plus, of course there’s hash to put on rice. Hite’s hash is uniquely buttery with mild mustard punch.
Speaking of mustard, it is coin of the realm here in Midlands sauces, and Hite’s puts out one tray of chopped pork already sopped with it — a delicious (if spectacularly unphotogenic) yellow-brown heap of wet meat. Ribs have a bit of mustard sauce on them, too, but the other hunks of pig — large and small, soft and crunchy — are only barely sauced: little more than hog and smoke. Apply more if you wish. (Vinegar-pepper sauce also is available.) For me, the ham, which is especially smoky-flavored, also tends to be fairly dense (especially the big chunks) and therefore much more tooth-friendly when judiciously moistened with sauce. Loin meat is looser-textured and moister and pure pit-cooked pleasure to eat with no distraction whatever.
Other than the hash, which is extraordinary, and beans, which are super-oinky, side dishes such as blackeyed peas, green beans, and creamy cole slaw are simply serviceable. Next to the whole hog buffet is a table of salad ingredients that look quite fresh, but honestly, I come to this place and literally become so hog wild that salad is the furthest thing from my mind. Near the salads is a small table of silly pastel puddings for dessert. A waitress will bring tea (sweet or not) or lemonade to the table and refill cups throughout the meal.