The Bessinger family of Holly Hill is arguably the most important family in the history of SC BBQ, and that is a long and storied history.
Originating in Orangeburg County in the late 1930s, 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 a number of SCBBQ’s favorite restaurants, including Melvin’s, (Mt Pleasant and James Island locations), Maurice’s, 13 Piggie Park locations at the time of this writing, Bessinger’s, Robert’s, Joe 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:
Get all the recipes we’ve published on this site and more collected together in over 150 pages of recipes, stories, and history in our cookbook, SCBBQ Recipes: Going Whole Hog.
Melvin’s Legendary Collard Greens
- 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
- Using a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine water, ham hocks, onion, chicken base, brown sugar, and pepper and boil for 30 minutes.
- “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.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 32 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 43Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 29mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 2g
Check out these other authentic SCBBQ sides recipes we’ve published on destination-bbq:
- Rodney Scott’s Collard Greens Recipe
- Rodney Scott’s Banana Puddin’ Family Recipe
- Melvin’s Legendary Collard Greens Recipe
- Fried Corn, Shuler’s BBQ-Style
- Swig and Swine’s Pork Rinds with Tabasco, Honey, & Blue Cheese Recipe
- Swig & Swine’s Pimento Cheese Recipe
- Swig & Swine’s Quick And Easy Creamy Coleslaw Recipe
- Swig and Swine’s Beans with Brisket Recipe
- Home Team BBQ’s Mac and Cheese Recipe
- Home Team BBQ’s Collards Recipe
- Jimmy Hagood’s Cast-Iron Skillet Corn Bread With Cane Syrup Recipe
- Jimmy Hagood’s Lowcountry Brunswick Stew Recipe
- John Lewis’s Hatch Green Chile Corn Pudding Recipe
- Lewis Barbecue-Style Cole Slaw Recipe
- John Lewis’s Buttermilk Potato Salad Recipe
- John Lewis’s Hatch Chile-Cheese Biscuits Recipe
- Price’s Bar-B-Que’s Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
- Price’s Bar-B-Que’s Broccoli Cornbread Muffins Recipe
- Joe Dabney’s Palmetto-Style Hush Puppies
- Bessinger’s Copycat Onion Ring Recipe