The Washington Post, trying, one hopes, to inspire someone in the Washington area to make some decent barbecue, has published a profile of Rodney Scott, a recent James Beard Award winner. Rodney Scott is a second generation pit man. His father, Roosevelt Scott, made Scott’s Barbecue in Hemingway, South Carolina famous among barbecue eaters. Word eventually reached the non-barbecue world via a 2009 article in the New York Times. The James Beard Award appears to have made the Washington Post aware of Scott’s existence.
More important, Scott’s came to the attention of Nick Pihakis of the Fatback Collective and the Birmingham-based Jim ‘N Nick’s barbecue chain. Pihakis gave Scott some business advice and appears to have helped him set up a place in Charleston, where Scott came to the attention of the James Beard Foundation. Pihakis also is a factor in Scott’s new place in Birmingham, as per this post.
The Post profile links to this excellent Southern Foodways Alliance video that shows just how much time, care and attention goes into making barbecue. The part about having to cut down trees, cut the logs, and split them by yourself isn’t essential to good barbecue, and I presume doesn’t apply to Scott’s Charleston place, and won’t in the Birmingham place. But the video illustrates the importance of constantly paying close attention to the fire and the meat.
It’s a nice enough article, with only the occasional annoying parochialism, e.g., describing Scott as “a leading light of a cuisine once thought to be on the verge of extinction: whole-hog barbecue.” Who ever thought that? Also, the article would have been better if the author had actually gone to Hemingway and Charleston, seen the operation of a top-notch barbecue place, and eaten some of Scott’s barbecue.