thanks to the south chowhounds for great recs! my girlfriend and I drove down to charleston last week for a wedding and managed to eat ourselves silly. Here were the highlights:
1) took a couple hours detour from I-95 to check out the Skylight Inn in Ayden, NC. well worth the trip. Probably the best pulled pork I've had to date. Got the large tray with cornbread and slaw. I had to exercise restraint in not ordering another for the drive to SC. Some brief torrential rainshowers made the drive back a little dicey but I was so happy from my lunch it didn't matter.
2) made it to charleston around 10 pm and were worried we wouldn't find anything that would be open late. luckily, we passed by G+M and had a nice casual dinner. their dinner special is a great deal: soup, entree, glass of wine for something like $12. food wasn't terribly special but it was a great vibe and just what we needed after a long drive.
3) breakfast at hominy grill: now I'm not usually a huge breakfast person but the whole trip in Charleston I went to bed excited to wake up for great breakfasts. went here twice. had the shimp and grits which was unbelievably good (plump shrimp, thick cut bacon, perfectly cooked grits) and the french toast with apple maple syrup and pecan butter...with a side of their great homemade sausage (never had breakfast sausage that tasted like this)
4)Sweatman's- sweet lord. I knew from reading posts here and elsewhere on the web that this was a must visit. It didn't disappoint. Had two plates of ridiculously tender pork: pulled pork, pork hash, pork ribs, pork rinds (I sound like Bubba from Forrest Gump). It was all great and only $8 for all you can eat (my girlfriend was both in awe and disgust of "all I could eat...the 2 minute meditation period really helped my game)to top it all off, we got a personal tour of the smokehouse facilities which was better than any museum tour I've been on in my life.
thanks again for leading us to some great eats!