This weekend the wife and I made a short run up to Clemson to visit a good friend and scout out some barbeque before this weekend’s trip. I knew they would probably be too crowded this weekend and our friend kept telling me all summer that the Grit Tree better do a BBQ Post for The Smokin Pig before the game. He kept saying that the Smokin Pig was worth the drive over but wouldn’t say more so not to sway my opinion. So who am I to turn down a BBQ invitation? And let me say, it was good. The best description of this place came while we were eating when he said you can find a joint that does one thing exceptionally well but this place does everything good.
The Smokin Pig looks like it may have been an old garage and has a nice waiting area outside with corn hole and tether ball, benches and a large menu board to contemplate while you wait. We might have waited five minutes and then were called inside to order in a line and then search for a table in a packed restaurant. Apparently we weren’t the only people who were thinking BBQ Saturday.
We must have hit the restaurant at a small lull around 1:00 because the wait outside was 5 minutes, no wait in line and we had our food within 10 minutes. But right after we sat down the place became swamped so I can see why our friend said we may have to wait a while. I decided to go with the pork, brisket and wet rib plate with a side of stew and okra. Among the table we also had some dry ribs, sweet potato fries and sweet potato crunch. If you go, get a side of sweet potato fries covered in honey and eat them as soon as they hit the table cause they’re much better hot.
All in all I was very happy with the que. The wet ribs had a very nice crust on the outside and were not sloppy sauced while the dry ribs were good but I still preferred the wet. The pulled pork had a good smoke flavor but did need a little sauce. On the table was a sweet molasses which I wasn’t a fan of, a Carolina gold which was very good, a hot which was just the sweet with red pepper but the pepper improved the sauce greatly and a vinegar sauce which fit the pork perfectly. After we finished eating I was told there is an extra hot sauce that is very good but you have to ask your waitress for this. Next time I’ll know. The Brunswick stew was a thin tomato base with pulled pork added which gave it a great smoke flavor but had a tad too much corn for my liking and I know Corbin would refuse to eat any because I found a hunk of potato sunk to the bottom. Now my wife’s favorite part was the brisket. It was so slow cooked that it tasted like roast beef but if you get a bite with the fat cap and burnt seasoning on the outside it couldn’t be beat. Oh and they serve all the plates with a damn good yeast roll.
My Clemson friend asked that I grade the barbeque just to give an idea of my opinion. Keep in mind I also love MAC football and hate wearing shoes so takes these numbers with a grain of salt.
Pulled Pork: 6.5/10 Great smoke flavor but not terribly juicy
Wet Ribs: 8/10 Great crust, moist and not overpowering sauce
Brisket: 8/10 Extremly tender with nice burnt end crisp and fat
Sweet Potato fries: 12/10
Facial Hair: 10/10 Now this place is staffed by all college kids and when we were done eating my friend asked our waitress, who kept our glasses full the whole time which I think is key to a good restaurant (BTW she did not have a beard), about tailgate options. Well she sent over a young guy who looked like Grizzly Adams with a man beard to give us the low down on the catering menu. Very nice guy and when we were done sealed the conversation with a strong hand shake. What more can you ask for?
So if you are passing through the Upstate and have time, I’d definitely recommend the Smokin Pig.
*So I was an idiot and took a picture of the table instead of my plate so here’s a picture off their facebook page.