The last time I dined at Sweatmen's Barbeque was within the year following Hurricane Hugo. That'd be 1989/1990.
Since then I have read countless odes to their smoked pork, many that proclaimed theirs the best in South Carolina. (You and I know that's silly. Who has eated it all?)
Saturday, after 15 years I returned to the famous place between Holly Hill and Eutawville, to refresh my taste buds. Arrived after 1:30 and there was a steady trickle of folks in and out, even after regular lunch hours. Selected the buffet.
As far as South Carolina BBQ buffets go, this one is sparse. They had the requisite hash, rice, pulled meat (divided by white or dark), white bread, pickles, and a couple of other items. But do not expect hush puppies or collards or any other fancy extras.
There's what all the fuss is over. While the pulled pork was very good and had a fair smoke flavor (though I found the white meat a tad dry), the ribs were worth the trip.
Meaty, tender, not too much fat; they were excellent. Yes, they were served soaked in sauce. Mustard base. But for a change that didn't bother me.
And I'm more partial to red and vinegar sauces. Or none at all.
This mustard sauce is creamy-thin with a nice balance of sweet-to-tart. It isn't thick, gooey, cloying, or overpowering. I even brought some home.
If you plan to visit, be aware that they are closed for a long vacation from mid-July through mid-August.