Lewis Barbecue – Charleston, SC

While camping up at Myrtle Beach for my birthday, we had time one afternoon to have an adventure for lunch. I coerced by beloved to make a road trip down to Charleston. We have friends in Pinopolis and last year, right before the world fell apart, I had plans to be be in Charleston for a conference. We planned to meet up for dinner and he said that we had to try Lewis Barbecue. It had been on my mind, ever since.

When I saw the sign above, and knew that these were my “people”. John Lewis has brought his Texas-raising to South Carolina barbecue. In a big way. This is some of the best beef barbecue I’ve had, including much of what I’ve eaten in Texas. We arrived about 2:45, thinking we’d be between lunch and dinner rush. If we were between the rushes, I’d hate to be there during one of those. The line was out the door and stretching into the parking lot. The picture below is of the end of the line, inside, which wound through the other side of the building.

There was one blessing in the wait – at least we weren’t waiting for a table. We were waiting to walk up to the counter, tell them what we wanted and have them slap it on a tray on butcher paper. So, shortly after ordering, you have your meal. You can get an idea of the menu and the daily specials below from this picture above the cutting line.

It’s not quite Texas-style barbecue where you get everything on a serving tray covered in butcher paper and pay by the pound (pro tip on those places? Avoid potatoes.) I went with a half pound of brisket and a smoked beef short rib – this thing weighed in well over a pound. With sides of mac-n-cheese, potato salad and these crazy curly-q fries.

Holy cow, this was good barbecue. I mean the sides were excellent, but this was crazy good barbecue. You can see the smoke ring in the picture above and below.

The meat was fall-off-the-bone tender. There was sauce, but it was completely extraneous. I think it might have bordered on sacrilege to touch anything to that short rib – maybe including the fork. It imparted a primal need to pick up the bone and gnaw on it. In retrospect, this was definitely some of the best barbecue that I’ve had this year. And the best beef barbecue I’ve had since our visit to Pecan Lodge, several years back.

I would not hesitate to go back. And since we’re set for Myrtle Beach again in the near future, I’m sure I will.

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