Opened by the Crowder family in February, 2018, Patriots’ Smokehouse is an earnest BBQ that wants to make customers happy. It succeeds! I love the basic BBQ: succulent pork shoulder just faintly laced with unique smoke flavor, hacked to smithereens. It’s unique because the smoke comes from peach wood, which Ron Crowder believes is sweeter than traditional hickory, infusing the meat with earthy perfume more subtle than most traditional smoke-cooked pork. Beef brisket gets the same treatment; and although South Carolina is much better known for pork, this beef gives Texas’ finest a run for its money. It is velvet-tender, succulent, and profound. While house-made mustard sauce is a welcome companion for the pork, Patriots’ beef wants no sauce whatever. Simply sliced on a platter or in a sandwich, it cannot be improved.
All BBQ parlors in this area serve hash on rice, and every one is different. While most tend to have a visceral, viscous character, the hash you’ll have here is downright stately — clean and high-quality. Equal measures of brisket and pork shoulder and enough spice and sauce give it a unique sweet/savory flavor. It pairs gracefully with the rice it tops and is an ideal companion for any meat on the menu. Heck, it’s so good and hearty that a simple plate of it with nothing else makes a lovely dinner.
Chicken stew isn’t always on the menu, but when it is, do order some. It’s a very simple concoction– shreds of smoke-cooked chicken in a vividly flavorful, butter-yellow broth along with little pieces of soft-cooked potato. The chicken itself is extraordinary, infused with smoke perfume. As an entree, chicken is so tender that application of utensils would seem brutal.
Patriots’ is a casual place with a staff who all seem part of the family, whether or not they are. As for its name, the decorative theme is 1776, including flags and pennants that recall the War of Independence. In point of fact, it is an only-in-America eating experience.