Well, riding around today in North Charleston I passed by The BBQ Joint. I remember reading a review of it somewhere, but at the time I couldn't remember where or the result. We swung around and headed in the door. It was about 2:30 on a Saturday afternoon and there were no customers to be seen. Keep in mind that it WAS mid-afternoon and this place is tucked away along the port side of N. Charleston...not exactly a happening area on a Saturday afternoon.
The inside decor was pretty cool and very clean...not like any bbq "joint" I've ever been in. Their menu is pretty straightforward: You get a sandwich with 1 side or a plate with 2 sides. The meat choices are pulled pork and pulled chicken. The two of us moseyed on up to the counter and ordered a pulled pork sandwich with mac & cheese and a combo plate with potato salad and hash (South Carolina hash which is sort of a minced pork stew served over rice). Our plates where quickly scooped up off the steam/cold line and set on the counter...literally in a matter of seconds. Portions where good, but I could tell immediately that there was no smoke ring on the pork (nor did I smell any smoke in the building).
On to a table...one of about six or seven picnic tables they have for seating. On the table there where three sauces to choose from...a vinegar labeled 'VIN', a red sauced labeled 'RED', and a mustard sauce labeled 'GOLD'. My impressions of the sauces aren't all that great. The VIN appears to be a pretty classic Eastern North Carolina Vinegar/Pepper sauce, but the taste didn't exactly remind this North Carolina boy of home. They use quite a bit of water in the sauce and some other flavors that you wouldn't expect. It wasn't for me. The RED was nothing more than ketchup with MAYBE a splash of vinegar in it. It had no spice or real flavor whatsoever. I almost thought that it was just plain ketchup, but surely they don't do that...surely not. The GOLD seemed to be pretty typical South Carolina...not my favorite, but the best sauce on the table.
On to my combo plate. I tried both meats unadulterated by the sauce. The pork was just barely on the dry side, bland, and had zero spice. The pulled chicken was extremely dry, and just like the pork, extremely bland. I tried all three sauces on both meats and ended up squirting the whole thing with the GOLD sauce just to give it some taste and moisture.
The pulled pork sandwich garnered the same reaction as the pork on my combo plate (obviously). The sandwich was about 2/3 eaten and the remainder thrown away.
The mac & cheese was mediocre...like the pork & chicken, it was very bland. You could do much better at home in your own kitchen. The potato salad was served cold (as most potato salads would be), but it almost seemed like it was cooked as a casserole with some cheese and then chilled for service. Again, the taste was very subdued and bland...really needed some salt. The best item we had on either plate was the hash. As far as hash goes, this would rate in the middle of the scale (but it was still the highlight of this meal).
Before leaving we went to the restroom to wash up. While waiting by the counter to leave I saw three other sauce options that aren't on the table. One is a Honey BBQ sauce, one a Teriyaki BBQ sauce, and the other a Peanut BBQ sauce.
Does The BBQ Joint warrant a repeat visit? Not by me.
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