Southern Barbeque

I’m a South Carolina girl.  Among many, many other things, that means I have a few born-and-bred ideas about barbeque.  For starters, it means I spell it with a “q”.  It also means my barbeque sauce is mustard based. And it means pork shoulders and butts.  I do own a television so I am aware that somewhere around the Mississippi River, barbeque can also mean beef brisket.

The only exposure I’ve ever had with beef brisket has been in the bigger barbeque restaurants around town.  My experience has been that the meat is almost always overcooked and usually drowning in barbeque sauce.  Errr…. no thanks.

I was a little less than enthusiastic when my dad informed me that we were going to have brisket for Labor Day.  He said he’d heard my cousin had smoked one and everyone raved about it so he wanted to try it out.  My cousin had purchased the brisket and rub (Smokin’ Cole’s BBQ Dry Rub) from our favorite local meat market, Brice Corbitt’s, so that’s exactly what my folks did. No need to reinvent the wheel before you know how to roll one, right?

Dad applied a liberal amount of the rub on the brisket then smoked it for about 12 hours using charcoal, hickory wood and apple juice.  He let it rest about an hour, thinly sliced it and served it up (sans sauce).  It. Was. Amazing.  The meat was moist, tender and flavored perfectly.  The combination of marbling, cooking method and seasoning was simply perfect.

I’m of the mind that if you have to put barbeque sauce on meat to eat it, then you’ve already failed. Sauce should serve as an accent – not as a means to return moisture to dry, overcooked meat or as a means to provide flavor to something that was underseasoned to begin with.

Now, if you’re reading this and you love barbeque, you’re already making mental notes of the comments you’re going to leave wherein you inform me about everything I don’t know about barbeque.  And you might be right.  I’m no barbeque expert.  What I am is a food writer who ate some wicked good brisket this weekend and has a new appreciation and respect for it.

Let me give some props here… The Smokin’ Cole’s BBQ Dry Rub was a perfect compliment to the brisket.  The spices offered the right amount of heat and flavor while providing a subtle earthiness, then finished with just the right amount of sweetness.  I did about 30 seconds of research on Smokin’ Cole’s and learned they are based right here in SC too (yay for me!). You can buy their products online or check for retailers on their website.

If you’re near Columbia, South Carolina, stop by Brice Corbitt’s Country Meat Market, located at1738 Airport Blvd., Cayce, SC 29033 or call them at 803-794-0465 to get your brisket and dry rub.  Corbitt’s is a third-generation meat market that has served the area since  the 1940’s. Their beef is exclusively Black Canyon River Angus Beef from Colorado.

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Mandy Richburg Rivers

Mandy Richburg Rivers

Mandy lives in Lexington, South Carolina, is a contributing writer for the Food & Drink section and is currently working on her first cookbook. Mandy is an award winning recipe writer and judges regional cook-offs and other culinary contests.

“I'm just a gal that likes food. Of course I like to eat, but what I've discovered about myself over the years is that there are more ways for me to enjoy food than just eating it. I like to shop for it, read about it, cook it, entertain with it and write about it. And when it's really good, sometimes I'm tempted to throw it on the floor and roll in it."