On the Road

On the Road with Bryan Roof: Hashing Out the Details of Barbecue in South Carolina

South Carolina BBQ hash doesn’t look like much, but it tastes like everything. 

Published Oct. 17, 2023.

The spelling of barbecue changes depending on where youre standing in the United States. 

In South Carolina, they use Bar-B-Que and BBQ more frequently than barbecue, or at least that’s what I’ve noticed. Not that it makes a difference. Barbecue, by any other spelling, still tastes as sweet and smoky. 

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But South Carolina is unique in at least one very big way: barbecue hash. Hash, which is served over rice as either a side dish or main course, is something thats found only in South Carolina. It’s not on menus in Georgia; dont go looking for it in North Carolina. 

Hash is hard to describe. In very basic terms, its sort of like a pulled pork stew, though it can also be made with beef. Its thick like a gravy and heavy on the meat, with nary a vegetable in sight. Its fortified with black and cayenne peppers, it often contains the addition of ketchup or mustard in a barbecue-sauce adjacent way, and most, if not all, versions of it usually contain pork or chicken livers in varying strength. But, most important, it is absolutely delicious. Trust me.

Though it may not be pretty to look at, hash is an important part of South Carolina’s rich culinary history. Many people credit enslaved cooks on plantations along the Savannah River with creating the dish as a way to make discarded and less desirable hog parts into something nourishing. Ive eaten it countless times at various locations throughout the state and the only consistency between versions is that theyre all different in taste, texture, and appearance. 

Make sense? No? Well then, check out this video for further explanation, and once you’re inspired, try your hand at our version.

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