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Olin R. Phillips’ Upstate Beef Hash Recipe

Published in Recipes - 3 Comments
Upstate Beef Hash

Hash is a South Carolina original, a dish so unique to SC 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:

Hash…what is it?

It is most certainly a South Carolina dish, be it a side dish in the Midlands and Lowcountry to 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 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 axe 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 60’s, 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!

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 though 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.

The second photo is a packed house inside Willard’s Hash & BBQ, showing how popular it was locally.

My father’s nickname was Big O so I named my BBQ catering business after him.

Here is the recipe:

Olin R. Phillips' Upstate Beef Hash

Patrick Phillips of Big "O" Que shares his father's recipe for beef hash.

Ingredients

  • 15 lbs Chuck Roast Cubed
  • 5 lbs of Boston Butt Cubed
  • 6-9 lbs of diced sweet yellow onions
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Texas Pete
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1-1 1/2 pounds of sweet cream butter

Instructions

  1. Cube your beef and pork into 2 inch cubes

    Upstate Beef Hash - Cubed Beef and Pork
  2. (Use only a cast iron pot or stainless steel pot for cooking hash) for this size recipe. Boil the meat in two gallons of water for at least three hours. Remove meat from the water and allow to cool a bit and string the meat as you would break down BBQ.

    Upstate Beef Hash - Cubed Beef and Pork
  3. While meat is cooling, add onions, pepper, salt to the broth and allow to cook as you string your meat. I generally allow my onions to cook for about an hour.

    Upstate Beef Hash - Stringed Meat
  4. (Have a gallon of water of water on standby) Add your meat back to the pot and bring to a boil and then reduce to a slow simmer for an hour or so, stirring from the bottom to keep it from scorching. 

    Upstate Beef Hash - Stirring
  5. Stirring is very important, and you may want to have an assistant to help you with this.

    Upstate Beef Hash - More Stirring
  6. Get it to the proper consistency by reducing down or adding water. DO NOT ADD WATER UNLESS IT IS NEEDED. You want the hash to be a little soupy but not soaking wet.

    Upstate Beef Hash - Soupy Consistency
  7. Add vinegar at this point and cook for fifteen more minutes. 

    Upstate Beef Hash - Vinegar
  8. Turn the heat off and add the butter and Texas Pete, still stirring. 

    Upstate Beef Hash - Adding Butter
  9. Taste and add more of the dry ingredients and Texas Pete if needed after adding butter. Rest thirty minutes before serving. Cool before storing, turning from the bottom often to keep it from souring.

    Upstate Beef Hash - Dry Ingredients
  10. Rest thirty minutes before serving. Cool before storing, turning from the bottom often to keep it from souring.

  • Roger Young says:

    I served in the S.C. House of Representatives from 1990-94 with Olin and found him to be one of the best people serving in Columbia. His word was his bond and he treated everyone with respect. I was delighted to read this article about him and glad to see his spirit lives on. I can’t wait to try the recipe.

    Roger Young
    North Charleston, SC

  • James Roller says:

    Thanks for sharing, Roger. I know it will mean a lot to Patrick.

  • The most appropriate way is to get it to the proper consistency by reducing down or adding water.

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