When people on this board mention barbecue places in the Charleston area, I don't believe I've read Home Team's name ever mentioned. Usually it's Momma Brown's, JB's Smokeshack, or Melivn's/Bessinger's. This is really surprising to me. I've had all those I just listed and none of them even seemed to be on Home Team's level. I wrote a review of Home Team for C of C's student paper which will be coming out this week, but since I doubt even the Charleston locals on here pick up a copy weekly I'm going to copy it over here for you all. Has anyone else been to Home Team? Thoughts on how it compares to the other local places?
"Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ opened in the space formerly occupied by Bunch's Gas Station on Highway 61 in late 2006, it causing a bit of a stir among Carolina barbecue purists. Critics complained about everything from the prices, to the atmosphere, to the way that they prepared their sides. None of that deterred Home Team's customers, however. A trip into West Ashley at about any point during their business hours will rarely reveal more than a stray parking space unoccupied.
The establishment's interior is split between the more family friendly side, where you order, and a bar area with a small stage for bands and several big screen TVs. Behind the counter, the massive chalkboard featuring a handwritten version of the menu which used to overwhelm first timers has been replaced by much more manageable printed signage, allowing customers to easily find what they want without feeling like they're holding up the line. No longer difficult to comprehend, Fiery Ron's menu features all the options you'd want from a barbecue joint, as well as several things you wouldn't expect, like wraps, tacos, and salads.
Whatever you choose, prepare to be impressed. Home Team features, without question, some of the best barbecue in the city, and some of the best I've ever had in general. All their meat is incredibly tender and juicy. The St. Louis style, dry rubbed ribs ($13.95 for a half-rack and two sides) fall from the bone. The pulled pork, permeated with a rich, smokey flavor, is wonderful in any form, but my personal favorite is their innovative barbecue wrap ($6.95). The wrap is, essentially, an entire summer cookout captured in one tortilla, with pork, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, coleslaw, and barbecue sauce all coming together in a harmony that you really must taste to believe. Also recommended are the tacos (three for $6.95), which you can order filled with their smoked pork, chicken, or grilled, marinated steak. Go for the pork taco, topped with cole slaw, cheese, and chipotle sour cream. It's an odd combination, but you can't argue with the results.
One of the main criteria for judging a great barbecue restaurant it its sauce. Home Team offers three distinct choices, each a success in its own right. Their tomato and vinegar based red sauce is peppery with just the right amount of spice. Their mustard sauce is pungent and tangy without overwhelming the flavor of the meat. The mayonnaise based, Alabama style white sauce has a great, light sweetness and just may be my personal favorite. If you can't get enough of their sauce, they also sell it bottled by the pint or quart.
One of the universal staples of a successful barbecue meal is an assortment of home style side dishes. Some may scoff at Home Team's mac n' cheese, which is really penne pasta in a thin cheese sauce, but they more than make up for it with their other offerings. Their poppy seed cole slaw is absolutely delicious, their creamy, stone ground grits have a buttery corn flavor, and I am yet to meet someone who didn't love the mashed potatoes.
Finishing a meal at Home Team is sort of bittersweet; you may have made a mess and be covered in sauce, but you'll find it a little difficult to bring yourself to wash that beautiful smokey smell off your hands and brush the last taste of the meat out of your mouth. I may be a Yankee, so you can tell me I don't know barbecue if you'd like, but you still need to give this place a try for yourself. If it isn't apparent by now, Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ comes with my highest of recommendations. "
Hopefully this will generate some good debate. I'm always up for finding out about new places for barbecue.
http://www.DavidGHeiser.com - One Charleston College Student's Guide to Restaurants and Film
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