Pork is king in Carolina barbecue parlors, and nearly every place that smoke-cooks whole hogs in the western half of South Carolina also serves a side dish of hash on rice, the hash made from parts of that hog. Midway BBQ of Buffalo, southeast of Greenville, is different. Yes, it does cook hogs, offering magnificent pulled pork that is a joy to savor even before getting sauced. But the house specialty is hash, and Midway’s hash is no mere companion to something else. It is a substantial main course. And it is not pork hash. It is beef.
Beef hash is such a long-standing tradition among barbecue parlors in Union County that Midway has declared the town of Buffalo to be the “Hash and Chicken Stew Capital of the World.” There once were dozens of places in the upcountry that made a specialty of this type of hash. Midway, since 1941, is the one that endures. Its hash is a stalwart stew of beef cooked low and slow with butter and onions and salt and pepper until the meat loses all resistance and becomes nearly as soft as baby food. Each forkful resonates with salty protein flavor.
Midway’s chicken stew is a similar, simple dish, very much like what people in Georgia know as chicken mull: pieces of bird simmered in butter and milk and minimal seasoning until the meat quite literally falls into shreds. Customers are given a half-stack of saltines to add as desired, creating a creamy pabulum that demands no tooth work whatsoever. There are no pyrotechnics in this dish. It is warm comfort food par excellence. For a dash of excitement, the stew is served with a little cup of spicy-sweet bread and butter pickles on the side.
Unlike spare, hog-only BBQ parlors throughout much of the region, Midway accompanies its specialties with a full roster of side dishes, including such classics as broccoli casserole, fried okra, and turnip greens as well as lesser known variants including macaroni pie and pineapple casserole. It’s all good. A full meal of meat, three side dishes, and tea costs well under $10.
Buffalo, South Carolina (town motto: “Where the friendly people roam”) has hardly more than 1000 citizens, but the reputation of Midway BBQ is such that people come from far and wide. By noon on any weekday, the red-checked tablecloths are crowded with plates of precious South Carolina food and the air rings with the joy of eaters who all know they are on to a very good thing.
Thanks to Roadfood correspondent Albert for suggesting Midway BBQ. Albert described himself as “just a Bbq eater that has traveled over 1 million miles (truck driver) eating Bbq.”