The Bessinger family of Holly Hill is arguably the most important family in SCBBQ.
Originating in Orangeburg County in the late 1930’s, when patriarch Joe Bessinger opened his Holly Hill Café, the Bessingers became the first family of SCBBQ.
From Joe, his boys learned to cook whole hogs over wood embers and learned to make what may well have been the world’s first mustard-based BBQ sauce.
Over time the boys split out to establish SCBBQ favorite restaurants like Maurice’s, Melvin’s, Bessinger’s, and others.
While the BBQ and the sauce are SCBBQ classics (and the onion rings deserve a mention here as well), I can’t remember the last time I ate BBQ and didn’t have a serving of collards on the side if they were available.
Some are salty, some are sweet, but when done right, they all are delicious…..and Melvin’s does them right!
By reader request, The Sun Sentinel reached out to Melvin’s and was granted the privilege of publishing the following recipe for Melvin’s Legendary Collard Greens:
Melvin’s Legendary Collard Greens
Melvin’s Legendary Collard Greens Recipe
- 1 gallon water
- 2 smoked ham hocks
- 1 large white onion diced
- ½ cup Knorr’s chicken base
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
- 6 bunches fresh collards
- 1. Using a large saucepan over medium high heat, combine water, ham hocks, onion, chicken base, brown sugar and pepper and boil for 30 minutes.
- 2. “Peel collards” by separating the leaf from the thick center stalk, discard stalks. Coarsely chop leafy collards. Add collards to seasoned water. Boil until collards are tender, about 60-90 minutes, adding water as needed to keep collards submerged.