Thursday, January 12, 2017

Chapter 9: Port Royal, SC, January 2016

Holidays over, tree down, back to normal! We had a few months not bbq-ing due to the busyness of the holiday etc.  I wanted to  go see where Linda had worked for a period of time, The Penn Center, on St Helena island, SC.
That whole area of the Sea Islands is full of history and interesting places to see, visit and explore. Sometimes, I could actually feel the plantation and Gullah history. The Penn Center, now a place for the preservation of the Gullah Geechee West African Culture, was the site of one of the 1st schools for freed slaves. Make the time for a road trip there. Or go for one of their festivals. Take your kids. They need to know this history.
And we then were hungry! We like going to the out of the way places, since we find real treasures often there. We see Smokin' Planks in Port Royal, SC. Tiny town on the outside of the marine base, Parris Island.
What a cute town! Can't imagine that quiet of a life right now, but if I could, I could see living there. Many sweet homes, some historic, several cafe's, hometown restaurants, and a couple of cute stores..more on that later...
So we find Smokin' Planks, right on the main drag (which is about 3 blocks long!) Nice dining room, lots of well crafted wooden comfortable tables and booths, and both BBQ and sea craft memorabilia around the place.  We order the sampler platter.. it was big and a little pricey, but we figured we could take out the leftovers.. It had a sampler of BBQ, ribs, brats, and chicken, along with our choice of sides.. slaw, potato salad, baked beans,  greens,  mac and cheese.  As I've said, often the greens are the deciding factor for whether we like a place or not! These were excellent! And the meats were outstanding! Now, also having remembered to look on Facebook and Yelp for reviews for these places, we were surprised to find a few not so glowing reviews. Often these small businesses (without a younger family member, who knows how to do this) don't realize how important social media is to a restaurant, so they hadn't taken the reviews down or handled them. I wrote a great review. Hoped it helped!
A gentle man approached us and asked how our meal was.  We began to rave and he was so excited that he pulled up a chair and sat down to talk to us! Being the owner, of course, we asked the obvious question, "Where did you get the name?" His response, he had given on many occasions with folks assuming that the had a crafty way of smoking meat with some kind of plank wood. "Nope", he said, " My last name is Plank and I smoke meat." That simple.
I think we might have taken a few leftovers home, but not many.
And Linda got an order for Jimmy (her husband, for those of you new to my blog!) So she got a bit more deliciousness upon going home. Now we had to drive around a bit. We found a great gift store, with all kinds of welcoming fun stuff outside and an open door. Nuances, it was called.  Come to find out the that owner is an entrepreneurial woman who owned 5 businesses in her little town. But she saw the signs before the economic crash and combined 4 stores into one, and this one survived the downturn. She also has a cafe and was opening a B&B on the top floor of one the cafe.
Quite the eclectic selection of gifts, clothes, jewelry, accessories, furniture, household decor and other interesting items, and a lot from local artists. the owner and staff also lots of creative ways to display all of their goods! We got on their mailing list for future events, but haven't been able to coordinate going so far.  We will go back when we can, for sure. I think there are several more BBQ places near there, but Smokin' Planks would be worth a 2nd visit, too!

Chapter 8: Po Pigs in Edisto, October 2015

October at the Beach.. still warm, but not summer hot.  Breezy, beautiful day. We headed to Edisto Island for a bit of beach time and to see if all the lore about getting better shells was true. I'm still not convinced! The beach was lovely and we stopped at a local restaurant that was open even after the season, and had a libation out on the porch. Then went to a couple of stores on the island that were open as well. As I write this it's past Hurricane Matthew and Edisto had massive damage to their island and stores, homes, and many other businesses. I think about all those small business owners with compassion..
We had gone back as well to the trusty BBQ trail map. We found Po Pigs BBQ on hwy 74. Well, finding the place was challenging. Seems it had moved. Twice, I think.
The original location had a sign on the door that we had to pull up to to read. We went to where we thought it told us which was on the back of a hardware stroke. Seems there are 2 hardware stores within a couple of miles of that stretch of hwy 74. It wasn't at that location but the staff were kind enough to point us in the right direction. Finally found it.
It was early, around 5:00 and we were the only ones there. I'm rarely negative about BBQ, but these folks missed the mark. The only thing that saved them was the smoked turkey, which was delicious. I find that the sides on these buffets can tell the bigger story, especially the greens.. these were chopped fine and overcooked and bitter..too bad.
Now what was very cool and interesting about Po Pigs, were the photographs on the walls. Blown up images of a long time ago, showing what looked like a community church supper with lots of folks in Sunday dress gathered on the grounds, eating their BBQ dinners. Also the pictures of the BBQ troughs. Fascinating. Big dug out long pits with creatively fashioned steel poles stretched across where the pigs where hung to roast. Many African American men laden with shovels, moving the hot coals under the pigs. An older gentleman who  perhaps was one of the owners, was very friendly, and explained some of the photos to us. They also had memorabilia all around the place. Great place to go, if not for the food, but the history of BBQ in SC.

Chapter 7. Jb's Smoke Shack On Johns island. July 2015

So what do 2 women do when on the search for great BBQ , when it's one's of those women's Birthday? Well go test BBQ locally of course!
I had been to JB's Smokeshack on John's Island a couple of times. Good BBQ, Excellent fried chicken, sides etc. And since it's about 35 minutes from my home in North Charleston, and 55 minutes from Linda's home in north Mt Pleasant, it felt like a BBQ trip anyway! So Linda came into the salon where I work to get her hair cut, since it's West Ashley,  then we headed to John's island. It was a Wednesday, so I don't recall any thing special on the buffet menu, but it didn't matter. Jb's didn't disappoint with good BBQ and great fried fish as well as excellent mac and cheese ( I'm picky!).  And Linda had banana pudding for her cake! "like" and "follow" them on Facebook. 

They don't have a website, but sometime list the special items on the buffet that way.
Then we headed up the street for a birthday cocktail at my favorite Irish Pub, Seanachai (Shawn-a -key). Such a fun place with good music and friendly staff! They always recognize me and have the best Moscow mules! Also a great selection of Irish whiskey!
The fact that it's a fair drive from my house also keeps me from overindulging!
We'll go back again, to both places, for sure.