Wells Gibson has been cooking barbecue his whole life; at 12 years old, he was digging pits and smoking hogs with friends. Needless to say, Gibson was born with South Carolina barbecue in his bones. Today, he's taken all the tradition and secret ingredient know-how he learned growing up and turned it into a thriving barbecue business.
But Gibson didn't begin his career with Farm Boys until a bit later in life, and it all started with a simple bet. He was a captain in the sheriff's office when he overheard his boss talking about a barbecue contest. After hearing that his boss came in 23rd out of 46 places, Gibson had to tease him a bit, saying, "If I came in 23rd, I wouldn't bother anymore." So Gibson's boss challenged him to another barbecue competition; the team that scored better would pay the entry fee for both teams. And although he can't remember what place his boss's team came in, Gibson earned second place out of more than 60 teams. "From that point on [my boss] never entered a contest by himself," Gibson says. "He just joined my team."
The ambience of Farm Boys BBQ pays tribute to the name: plaid curtains and cafeteria-style seating give the restaurant a real homey, farmhouse-like feeling. Gibson says, "Sometimes we ask people to sit together to make friends, and they do."
And like many local barbecue restaurants, Farm Boys BBQ is only open Thursday through Saturday. Some nights there's standing room only with a line that goes out the door, and Gibson is grateful for that. "Some people eat here all three days I'm open," he says. "We've been really blessed."
Of course, the pulled pork and ribs are a popular choice, and Gibson agrees. "I like the meat," he says. "I didn't get to the top of the food chain by eating rabbit food." But the buffet still includes an array of delicious side items, including perfectly cooked collard greens and his famous mac and cheese, a dish so popular he has to cook it twice a day. Gibson's mustard sauce is a local favorite, and it's easy to see why. It tastes exactly how you'd imagine an authentic South Carolina mustard sauce would taste: savory and flavorful but not overwhelming. You might find yourself adding a little extra to every bite.
But the most endearing thing about Farm Boys BBQ is Gibson's pride and passion for his business. "It's not just good food; it's good friends," he says. "I've met people in here that I can call at 2 a.m. and same goes for them." That's the beauty of South Carolina barbecue, after all. When you meet a guy like Wells Gibson, you realize it's about more than great barbecue - it's about great people.