After my two lunches with Robert Moss at Melvin’s and Swig and Swine, I continued south on 17 to Bessinger’s, a sprawling place down the road from Swig and Swine. You can’t miss it.
Yes, it’s another branch of the Joe Bessinger family. This branch is headed by Thomas and his sons, Tommy and Michael, and they continue the tradition of shoulders and hams cooked over a mix of oak and hickory, and served with a mustard-based sauce. This is pure South Carolina.
I arrived at about a quarter to two, or two hours after I sat down to my first lunch, and maybe 15 minutes after my second. I can’t say that I was hungry at that point, but Robert said I should try their hash and, obedient to his word, to Bessinger’s I drove. There I discovered a long line of cars being served at drive-through windows. That wasn’t ideal under the circumstances, but I also saw that there was a “Sandwich Shop” under that pediment on the right. I strode in and saw a full menu and a bunch of people waiting for their orders.
The ability to wait for food is not my strong point. It tends to get lost in the tall weeds at the far verge of my skill set. I approached the delightful young woman who was taking orders and asked for hash and rice. She rang it up, took my plastic, and said, “I’ll go get this for you myself.” She reappeared in a trice, hash in hand.
You can see some pepper flakes and a tiny bit of tomato in there, and potato and onion. The was also some of the Bessinger family mustard sauce — Joe Bessinger’s recipe. The meat appeared to have been ground after the initial multiple hour cooking period, as opposed to having someone stirring a cast iron pot all day long, and then returned to the pot. It had some of the same tartness I tasted in the hash at Melvin’s, and the two were very similar. Melvin’s seemed to have more vegetables, but they both had a deep and satisfying flavor.
I didn’t try any barbecue at Bessinger’s, but from the line of cars it has to be good. Definitely try the place and let me know if the ribs are as good as they looked to me.
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3 thoughts on “Bessinger’s Barbeque, Charleston, South Carolina”
My one visit to Bessinger’s in Charleston was in August, 2015. Unfortunately I didn’t write a report of the short trip, which also included Grady’s, Jack Cobb, Allen & Son, Shuler’s, Loggerhead (sports bar on Folly Beach for fried shrimp and onion rings), and D&H Barbecue. The one thing for sure I remember about Bessinger’s is that they had a buffet. I wonder if they still do. I don’t remember much about it, although I guess I didn’t like it enough to return. I think it was really before the explosion of bbq in Charleston, before Rodney and Lewis. I think I remember enjoying Maurice’s Piggie Park in Columbia more.
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They do not have a buffet now – just the sandwich shop and drive through