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Hash is a South Carolina original, a dish so unique to SC — which is arguably also the birthplace of barbecue — that if you’re from virtually any other part of the country you probably have an entirely different dish in mind. No, we’re not talking corned beef hash.
Patrick Phillips of Big “O” Que shared with us his BBQ hash recipe, and we’ll let him explain a bit more about hash:
It is most certainly a South Carolina dish, be it a side dish in the Midlands and Lowcountry and a main dish in the Upstate of South Carolina. Hash over rice is the popular style of any South Carolina hash recipe search you will find on the internet, but our Upstate South Carolina style is almost like finding Bigfoot.
Our Upstate style of hash is very different from what you will find anywhere else in the state. Our recipe contains only a small amount of pork, if any, and is eaten as a main dish with white loaf bread or on a bun with coleslaw or just with a good slather of Dukes mayonnaise.
It’s nothing like what the name sounds. It’s not breakfast hash and nothing like corned beef hash. It’s a vast mixture of animal parts, mainly pork, with BBQ sauce, potatoes, onions, and spices in recipes from Columbia to the coast and on down.
Upstate recipes contain strictly beef and sometimes a small amount of pork, with lots of onions, spices, and lots of butter.
Nonetheless, no matter where you are in South Carolina, there are many styles and preferences.
It’s anywhere from a soupy mush to stringy beef that will melt in your mouth. Funny thing is you can travel thirty miles North of Gaffney, SC, to the state North Carolina and most folks there will have no idea what hash is in any form. Brunswick Stew reins supreme north of the border.
South Carolina has always had hash from the colonial times to the present day. As a child, we looked forward to the 4th of July, as that was a big time for hash. Every volunteer fire dept. and old-time cook presented their style of hash. These men spent all night surrounding this South Carolina delight cooking in large 40-100 gallon size cast iron pots stirring the meat with paddles or ax handles all night.
My hash recipe is handed down from my father. It’s the same, unchanged concoction he and his good friend Fire Fighter/ Chief Charles Petty came up with back in the early ’60s, long before I was born.
My father owned a local restaurant in Gaffney, SC, called the Joy Drive-In, and he served this hash recipe only on the 4th of July because also located in Gaffney was Bill Willard’s place “Willard’s Hash & BBQ.”
He was also a very close friend and my father was the type of man who did not want to infringe on another man’s livelihood. Bill was famous for his hash, and it was served every day in his hash and BBQ restaurant. My father was famous for foot-long hotdogs and burgers. He also sold BBQ at his hotdog stand that was prepared by his friend Bill Willard.
Hash is no longer just a holiday meal, but served every day all over our Great State of South Carolina!
— Download the SC BBQ Trail map and find restaurants serving all the types of hash we enjoy in SC or use our SCBBQ Restaurant Field Guide to all the SCBBQ restaurants within 10 miles of an interstate exit. —
This recipe is the style and flavor of hash you will find in Cherokee County. The same hash you would have found at Willard’s or the Joy Drive-In; both are now closed and just memories, pieces of the past that will live through this small-batch recipe that I hope you try and enjoy.
I failed to mention my father’s name in the story above: he was the late Rep. Olin R. Phillips.
After turning the restaurant over to his nephew and focusing on politics, he spent 30 plus years in the South Carolina House of Representatives.
The photo below is of my father and Bill Willard. My father is being served a plate of Willard’s famous hash. (Today, you might try Midway BBQ in Buffalo, SC, to get a taste of what Willard’s hash was like.) My father’s nickname was Big O, so I named my BBQ catering business after him.
We’ve published an in-depth look at SC BBQ hash. In this piece, we examine the origins and history of yet another SC BBQ original. In addition, you will find a current listing of every SCBBQ restaurant that serves hash.
In the meantime, you have to make this classic Upstate South Carolina barbecue hash:
Check out these other SCBBQ Hash recipes we’ve published on destination-bbq:
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