Did you know South Carolina is considered the ‘birthplace of BBQ?” What started as private gatherings for plantation owners during the early 1900s has slow-cooked its way into an entire culinary scene. Check out our picks for the best BBQ spots in Charleston to satisfy your cravings.

Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ

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  • Best for: Lowcountry-style BBQ
  • Address: 1011 King Street, Charleston, SC
  • Price: $$
  • Website: rodneyscottsbbq.com

You can’t experience the best BBQ in Charleston without paying homage to the city’s signature style. Rodney Scott’s BBQ crafts dishes using the iconic mustard-based BBQ sauce slathered on slow-cooked meats. Is your mouth watering yet?

Pitmaster Rodney Scott is a James Beard Chef award winner and was featured on the Netflix documentary Chef’s Table. You’ll get the real deal when you stop by this barbecue joint, where he continues cooking fan-favorite meals like the Ribeye Sandwich and Chicken Perlo.

Swig & Swine BBQ

Photo Credit: Andrew Phan

From the time the sun comes up, the smokers are already fired up at Swig & Swine. It’s the only way to achieve slow-cooked BBQ for that tender, juicy taste.

Its menu of wood-cooked meats features pulled pork, smoked pork belly, ribs, beef brisket, and smoked turkey. Sample a few with the 3-meat platter or feed an entire group with the family platter. You have the swine. Now to wash it down with a swig of more than 60 craft beers and bourbon cocktails!

Bessingers BBQ

Photo Credit: Lois

  • Best for: Local BBQ cravings
  • Address: 1602 Savannah Hwy, Charleston, SC
  • Price: $$
  • Website: bessingersbbq.com

If you’re new to living in Charleston, it’s time to fit in by eating where the locals frequent. Bessingers BBQ has been a local landmark since its opening in 1939.

Dine in with South Carolina’s First Family of BBQ. Their signature sweet mustard-based BBQ sauce recipes have been passed down three generations. Order classics like The Big Joe sandwich or a hearty BBQ plate with a side of classic fixins’ like onion rings. Don’t forget a side of hash over rice.

You’ll love the outdoor seating area wafting with scents from the outdoor smoker. If you can’t get enough of their BBQ, you can take home a bottle (or two) to stock the pantry of your new Charleston home.

Melvins BBQ

Photo Credit: Southern Foodways Alliance via Flickr CC2.0

  • Best for: Family-friendly BBQ spot
  • Address: 538 Folly Rd, Charleston, SC
  • Price: $$
  • Website: melvinsbbq.com

Are you relocating to Charleston with your entire family? Melvins BBQ is a popular, family-friendly BBQ restaurant in Charleston with something for everybody. Melvin knows a thing or two about family since he’s a descendant of the Bessinger BBQ family.

‘The secret is in the sauce.’ Melvin’s specializes in topping smoked meats with a special Golden Secret Mustard-based BBQ sauce. Add the sauce to a rack of St. Louis-style pork ribs, a meaty pulled pork sandwich, or a chili slaw burger. Grab extra napkins because each dish is finger-lickin’ good!

Melvins has two locations—James Island and Mount Pleasant.

Lewis Barbecue

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  • Best for: Texas-style BBQ
  • Address: 464 N Nassau St, Charleston, SC
  • Price: $$
  • Website: lewisbarbecue.com

Pitmaster John Lewis brings new flavor to Charleston’s BBQ restaurant scene. Hailing from Austin, he’s the go-to person for the distinct Texas-style barbecue.

Texans know their beef. Lewis has selected only the best USDA prime beef to serve his customers since opening the doors to the restaurant in 2016. His in-house specialties like beef brisket, beef ribs, and Texas Hot Guts sausage are cut-to-order and slow-cooked on custom-made smokers. The menu also features a daily specialty meat.

If you can’t take the heat, grab a seat on the backyard patio and dig in! Don’t delay your visit here. They open daily until the meat sells out for the day.

Poogan’s Smokehouse

Photo Credit: Bud Hirsch via Flickr CC2.0

  • Best for: Southern-style BBQ
  • Address: 188 E Bay St, Charleston, SC
  • Price: $$
  • Website: pooganssmokehouse.com

The French Quarter isn’t just a place to find many must-see landmarks. It’s also home to some of the best BBQ in Charleston at Poogan’s Smokehouse. You’ll instantly feel the southern hospitality at this establishment serving your favorite comfort foods.

Poogan’s Smokehouse serves authentic southern barbecue by sourcing many ingredients locally. Order your choice of smoked meats on a platter or in sandwiches like the Four Porksman. However, you’ll know it’s genuine Southern fare by the sides. Gooey Mac and cheese, boiled peanuts, crispy pork rinds, and buttery cast iron cornbread will have you returning soon for seconds.

Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint

Photo Credit: Michelle Bissonette

Snag one of our waterfront James Island real estate properties, and you’ll have easy access to one of the best BBQ joints In Charleston. Martin’s Bar-B-Que sets itself apart from the masses by introducing the Holy City to West Tennessee-style BBQ specialties.

The dry rub meats this restaurant specializes in are a bit more forgiving on your fingers. Order a full rack of ribs, half dry rub and half wet, to see which is your favorite. Dry rub smoked wings, and BBQ nachos are a must-try. If you like the sauce, you’ll have many options, like the popular Alabama White Sauce and Comeback Sauce. Save room in your belly for a slice of their freshly baked pies.

The pitmasters at Martin’s are masters of their craft. It takes 20+ hours to cook the meats to absorb the subtle flavor of local hickory wood. Bon Appetit!

Home Team BBQ

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  • Best for: Fast casual BBQ
  • Address: 126 Williman St, Charleston, SC
  • Price: $$
  • Website: hometeambbq.com

You’re never far from local BBQ in Charleston. Home Team BBQ is a popular chain with four locations—Downtown Charleston, Sullivan’s Island, West Ashley, and Mt. Pleasant. Choose a location and enjoy barbecue with a home field advantage.

Home Team is a sports-themed restaurant. Each restaurant has multiple TVs for watching your favorite games. There’s even live music on select nights.

The award-winning menu will be the trophy highlight of the night. Flip a coin to choose between the chopped brisket or fried ribs. Use a timeout to grab a drink from the bar. And huddle up with your family to decide if dessert is in the cards for the evening.

Duke’s Barbecue

Photo Credit: John 

Make your way down the buffet line, loading your plate with all the tasty southern-style classics available at Duke’s Barbecue. Don’t be shy about getting seconds because it’s all-you-can-eat!

The cooks keep the buffet trays stocked with pulled pork, chicken, collard greens, corn nuggets, Mac and cheese, fried okra, baked beans, and much more. Stop by on Friday to find fried fish. And the banana pudding for dessert is a must-try.

Duke’s also has a drive-thru take-out menu if you’re too rushed to get the full buffet experience.

Jim ’N Nick’s Bar-B-Q

Photo Credit: M B

  • Best for: Slow-cooked BBQ
  • Address: 4964 Centre Pointe Dr, North Charleston, SC
  • Price: $$
  • Website: jimnnicks.com

You can’t rush perfection. It’s why Jim ’N Nick’s Bar-B-Q is so delicious! Their slow-cooked recipes have been passed down for generations. And customers are rewarded for their patience because it’s a meal you won’t forget.

The meat arrives at the restaurant fresh and never frozen. After hours of smoking on the grill, the result is juicy, tender, and flavorful dishes. Smoked barbecue chicken wings, sausage links, fried chicken tender plates, and combo plates with catfish and brisket are popular. Try the corn on the cob, potato salad, or large onion rings for sides.

The outdoor patio is dog-friendly, so stop by after a day at the beach with your furry friend!

Eat Your Way to BBQ Heaven in Charleston

Eating at the best BBQ restaurants in Charleston is one of the pleasures of the local lifestyle. Find your Charleston home today and join in on our local culinary delights!

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