True BBQ makes customers happy in at least two ways. First, it serves superb meat in the South Carolina manner — smoky-sweet pork with hash on rice and lots of other soulful side dishes. Second, it surrounds its clientele with the good vibes of an enthusiastic crew on a mission to do good. In the Zanders family’s mind, the restaurant they run is a religious calling — a white board on the wall gives thanks to Jesus Christ — but even if the man from Galilee is not your personal lord and savior, it’s hard not to be infused with the high spirits of the staff.
Even an adamant heathen, so long as he has a taste for good barbecue, is going to to be singing hosannas to the intensely-flavored chopped pork that is the menu’s highlight. Hacked into a virtual hash of mostly soft, some chewy, and a few crisp pieces, this dish delivers a perfect balance of swine and smoke. It is moist and succulent, but all the better when daubed with some of the house-made Pretty Lady sauce — a slightly sweet, slightly tangy variation of the locally-loved mustard sauce. (The alternative Sexy Lady sauce is red, spicier, and with vinegar punch.)
The pork is fine when bunned for a sandwich, even better on a plate surrounded by such sides as mac ‘n’ cheese, collard greens, potato salad, baked beans, corn or cole slaw. All dinners come with True’s superb hash on rice, which is a bed of fluffy white grains topped with meaty sauce that is smoky, slightly sweet, judiciously spiced, and downright salubrious.
Note: If you come late in the day, it is possible True BBQ will have run out of ribs or chicken or even chopped pork. That’s a natural risk when barbecue is cooked the long, slow way. It’s a risk I did not want to take, so I arrived at opening hour, 10:30am. The downside of that strategy was that dessert was not yet ready. So, there’s a wonderful excuse for returning. As if I need one!