If you aren’t looking for it (and sometimes, even if you are), you will drive right past Scott’s. It is on a side road off a side road in the middle of absolutely nowhere, South Carolina. (It’s actually at the crossroads of S.C. Highway 261 and Cow Head Road, get the picture?)
You drive past cotton fields, the occasional tobacco field (for years, that was the area’s lifeblood) and mostly soybean fields. Scott’s is actually a little outside Hemingway. But if you take the old-old route to South Carolina’s beaches, it’s almost on the way.
When you see the people trailing in one after the other to this unassuming old country store, with the building next door that looks like it’s on fire because of all the smoke pouring out of it, you know something must be going on.
What it is, quite simply, is some of the best barbecue you will ever eat. Whole hogs are slow-cooked over a wood fire overnight. They are mopped in a vinegar and pepper sauce during cooking. The Scott family guards their sauce recipe, but say one of the keys is a lean pig – fewer grease fires and the fat melts away during the slow cooking, making the meat tender and juicy.
Most folks stop in at Scott’s on their way to or from somewhere else. After all, Hemingway doesn’t offer the traveler (even the road less traveled traveler) much in the way of things to do or places to see. So most of Scott’s sales are to-go orders. Bring your cooler and pack it full with take-home goodies.
But if there is an open table inside the store or across the street under the shelter built for overflow, it’s worth the time to slow down and do a little people-watching while you are enjoying your barbecue plate with cole slaw, baked beans and, of course, two pieces of white bread. Their menu includes fall-off-the-bone ribs and barbecue chicken.
If you want to see what it's like, check out the short film Cut/Chop/Cook. You can almost taste and smell the smoky goodness.
Like most old-school barbecue joints, Scott’s is open Thursday-Saturday only. They open at 9:30 a.m. and close at 8:30 p.m.
Don’t be late and don’t skip the fried pork skins or the sweet tea, after all, you’ve come all this way.