Waterwheel Road Grocery

Review by: Michael Stern

Biscuits are ready every morning by 7, Monday through Friday, at this farmland market. Saturday — and only Saturday — it becomes a barbecue destination. Just across the road from the little grocery store is an iron pit in which in which pitmaster Roland Brown smoke-cooks ribs, pork shoulder, and chicken. Rib meat is slick and soft, booming with porcine luxury; chicken is less wanton but utterly without tooth resistance, especially benefiting from an application of Waterwheel’s zesty-sweet sauce.

South Carolina barbecue is hogcentric but does usually include significant side dishes. Here you find hash on rice, of course, the area’s traditional smoke-meat companion, delivering complex visceral satisfaction. There’s mac ‘n’ cheese, natch, cooked in a regular home-kitchen oven at the back of the grocery store until the big panful develops a chewy skin on top and a crunchy edge, all the while staying molten within. Sharing space in the oven are porky barbecued beans and a broad pan of peach cobbler. Arrive any time mid-day and everything will be served oven-hot. (Prior to noon, some items might not be quite ready.) The one exception to the hot-is-good rule is Ms. Rosa’s egg-enriched potato salad, so cool and refreshing.

Waterwheel’s memorable, true-country meals are all sold in Styrofoam take-out containers and the only on-premises dining is at a few picnic tables out front by the side of the road.

(Thanks to Betty and Bob Alexander for tipping me off to this irresistible Roadfood gem.)

What To Eat


Peach Cobbler

Barbecued Chicken

Hash on Rice

Potato Salad

Macaroni & Cheese

Pork Sandwich


Waterwheel Road Grocery Recipes


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