Both Jim Oliver and my nephew, Jimbo Tanner, mentioned Roland’s in Beaufort to me. Jim is from North Carolina and a barbecue fan, while Jimbo is mainly a chicken guy. Roland’s is well outside the historic district tucked away in a shopping center with an Ace Home Center and a nail salon.
You’ll pass another storefront on 70 on the way there that says Roland’s Barbecue, but that’s where their catering business is headquartered, and that’s where they cook the pork. They seem to cater a lot of parties on the beach.
Barbecue turns out not to be the main focus of Roland’s. It’s really a meat and three place with lots of fried seafood options, fried chicken, burgers and the like, and a daily special. On the day we went the special was a chicken fried steak, hushpuppies, two sides and a 16 ounce drink for $5.99. The place was full of firefighters enjoying the special. It looked good although the gravy was very, very dark.
I got a barbecue pate with butter beans and green beans accompanied, inevitably, by hushpuppies. (Nancy had immediately transferred her hushpuppies to my plate.) Note that the barbecue is served in a tray ,so it’s more meat than it looks like.
Nancy got barbecue with slaw and sweet potatoes.
The vegetables were great. I hadn’t had butter beans in ages and they could not have tasted better. The green beans also were very good. Both were so good that I didn’t bother adding pepper vinegar. Nancy’s sweet potatoes were to die for. They had been doctored with sugar and spice and just about everything nice. The butter beans and sweet potatoes were among the best I can remember.
The barbecue was not so good. They have a nice sauce of pepper and vinegar that perked it up, but it was not as fresh-cut as it could have been. Everyone seemed to be eating the chicken fried steak or the fried chicken, so the barbecue probably had been sitting around for longer than it should have been after the transfer from their cooking site. And the hushpuppies had been out of the oil for a while.
Service is fast and friendly. The proprietor — perhaps the eponymous Roland — came out and chatted and advised us to use suntan lotion: he sees a lot of sunburn victims.
Roland’s is a very good meat and three — at least the three are exceptional. My barbecue focus let me down here. If I had looked to see what everyone else was ordering, as I usually do when I enter a restaurant, I would have ordered either the fried chicken or the special. Lesson learned.
There are a lot of good places to eat in Beaufort, and this is one that will satisfy you and take some pressure off your wallet.