South Carolina barbecue is so varied and plentiful that if you are taking a road trip through the state, you would need a guide to help you find just the right location for you.
With that in mind, we have created an SC BBQ Road Trip: A Restaurant Field Guide for each interstate that traverses our state. This edition covers Interstate 20 and all the SC BBQ locations on the SC BBQ Trail.
I-20 in South Carolina –arguably the birthplace of BBQ — stretches from Florence through the Midlands and into Aiken County before exiting across the Savannah River into Augusta, Ga.
This path has Interstate 20 passing through three of the four primary barbecue regions in the state.
Those who find themselves crossing the state via I-20 have a great opportunity to sample several of the different styles of barbecue offered in South Carolina, and they don’t need to go out of their way to do so. (As a side note, learn how to eat SC’s best BBQ for FREE!)
Interstate 20 runs 141 miles along its journey through the state. Along the way, I-20 spends most of its journey in the region of SC most known for the sauce born in South Carolina: a mustard sauce.
(Note: if you’d like to learn to make authentic SCBBQ recipes, including the world’s best mustard sauce, check out the recipes we’ve published on this site or our SCBBQ Recipes: Going Whole Hog cookbook, with over 150 pages of recipes from ages-old family traditions and today’s top SCBBQ pitmasters.)
Here is a look at a rough breakdown of South Carolina’s BBQ sauce regions:
I-20 passes through the heart of the mustard region; however, it also briefly runs through our heavy tomato region and begins in the vinegar-pepper region of the state.
Despite the map’s insistence, barbecue in our state is not necessarily as defined as the map dictates. This map generalizes and whitewashes regions based on historical precedence.
Today, you are likely to find any of the sauces in any corner of the state, particularly among the newer restaurants who are paying homage to the state’s grand history, but if you are looking for a particular sauce, now you know where to look.
Anyway, today you find yourself traveling Interstate 2o. You know traveling this stretch of road you certainly ought to be able to find some of this SCBBQ you’ve been hearing (and reading) about.
But where should you go and how far do you have to go to get real SC BBQ?
The map will find your location (with your permission) and show you the closest 25 SCBBQ restaurants within 100 miles of you.
(We also suggest saving the map as an “app” on your phone by simply by visiting the page and tapping Share (iOS) or Menu (Android) and then tap “Add to Homescreen.”)
While our locator map is fantastic (if we do say so ourselves), we know you probably don’t want to drive 40 miles off the interstate just to get a taste of SCBBQ.
So, here we present to you all your options for enjoying real SCBBQ within 10 miles of a given exit along I-20.
If you love SC BBQ as we do, we know you will appreciate this guide.
In addition, we’ll recommend the “Must Visit” SCBBQ restaurants you will pass as you travel I-20.
Just a quick reminder about our criteria for selecting restaurants:
- no national BBQ chain restaurants are included; all are SC-based restaurants and most are individual, family-owned shops
- all are “on” the interstate; that is, within 10 miles of an interstate exit
- inclusion in the list is not an endorsement and restaurants may be labeled “Must Visit” for reasons beyond the quality of their BBQ
- we will only include one restaurant on a given route for any major SCBBQ chain; note, however, while there are many Dukes’ restaurants in SC, they are not franchises or members of a chain, so all will be included
- mileage provided is not exact but was calculated using Google maps so it should be very close
- See SCBBQ Road Trip: Start Your Engine for a fuller explanation of our selection criteria.
Before we begin, some interstate highway fun facts you might not have known:
- no matter which direction you are heading, the interstate exit numbers are the same for a given junction
- one or two-digit, even-numbered interstates run west-east, with lower numbered interstates starting in the South; I-20 is clearly a west-east running, Southern interstate, being such a low, even number
- mile markers for west-east running interstates begin at the western border of each state
Thus, we will follow the exits along I-20 from where it enters in North Augusta until it terminates in Florence.
Buckle your seatbelt and away we go…
Note: Distances are approximate: Use our map for more precise directions.
Exit 1 ( SC 230 – North Augusta)
(NOTE: Click store name for more info, including address, links to social media and review sites, and other details.)
Blurb: “Good barbecue and great prices. You know this is not a chain restaurant because everyone here really cares. The sauces are awesome and the value is real.” Sue C., Yelp
Directions: Take Exit 1 and head southeast on W Martintown Rd. for a little over 4 miles. Turn left onto Atomic Rd. and BBQ Barn will be about .3 miles ahead on the right.
Wednesday: 11 am – 6 pm
Thursday – Saturday: 11 am – 8:30 pm
Exit 5 (US 25 / SC 121 – Edgefield, Johnston)
Blurb: “The bbq is perfection. We’ve done the pork (superb), ribs (super superb) and Chicken was good (we go for ribs and pork though but chicken has nice smokey flavor). The staff is so friendly and knowledgable, every single one I’ve encountered.
All times I’ve done take out through the drive through but nice and friendly inside and okay to bring little ones!” Amanda V, TripAdvisor
Directions: Take Exit 5 and drive south on Edgefield Rd. The Pot Smoker will be on the right in a little over 2.5 miles.
Thursday – Saturday: 11 am – 8 pm
Phone: (803) 279-2271
Exit 11 (Bettis Academy Road – Graniteville)
Blurb: “Locals know about it, so should you! Bobby’s BBQ has, in my opinion, the finest BBQ I have ever eaten. It is the BBQ by which I compare all BBQ. I am yet to find anything that even COMPARES let alone is better. This is an all-you-can-eat style restaurant with a 2-row buffet.
Sides include delicious hush puppies, homemade macaroni and cheese, corn, rice, hash, sweet and dill pickles, coleslaw, baked beans, there may be more, but I never get that far! The restaurant is family-owned. On a good day, Bobby may even come sit with you for a while and talk!” Fox K, Yelp
Directions: Take Exit 11 and head south on SC-144 toward Sage Valley Dr. In about 2.3 miles when the road ends, turn left onto State Hwy 33. In just under a half-mile, turn right onto Hillview Dr. Follow Hillview until it dead-ends; then turn right onto State Hwy 454/Ergle Street Ext.
When that road ends in about .3 miles, turn left onto SC-104. In about .8 miles, turn right at the 1st cross street onto Baker St, then quickly turn right onto US-1 S/US-78 W. Follow 78 for 1.5 miles and Bobby’s will be on your left.
Wednesday and Sunday: 11 am – 3 pm
Thursday – Saturday: 11 am – 9 pm
Exit 39 ( US 178 – Pelion, Batesburg-Leesville)
Blurb: “Guarantee BBQ heaven!. Fantastic BBQ! Many BBQ restaurants and joints across America claim to be the best. Leesville, South Carolina is an area famous for authentic Southern barbecue, a place you must visit if you love pork BBQ …..quite possibly the Mecca of true southern BBQ. Shealy’s is one of the gems in BBQ heaven!” Facebook User, Zomato
Directions: Take Exit 39 and head northwest on US-178 W. After about 5 miles, take a slight right onto SC-245 E/S Lee St. Follow that for about 3 miles and then turn left onto E Columbia Ave. Shealy’s will be just ahead on the left.
Monday – Tuesday: 11 am – 9 pm
Thursday – Saturday: 11 am – 9 pm
Exit 51 ( Longs Pond Road)
Blurb: “True pulled pork by hand, not frozen. Everything is simply delicious – from BBQ sandwich to chicken bog (seasonal) to fish. Hush puppies are to die for.
Red sauce is the best and not mass produced or found in stores. Our favorite BBQ joint around. Mouth is watering thinking about it!” Walk, TripAdvisor
Directions: Take Exit 52 and head north on Longs Pond Rd. Continue straight ahead as it becomes Pisgah Church Rd for a total distance of just under 4 miles. Then turn left onto US-1 S and Belly’s will be about a half mile down on the right.
Note: Primarily a Take Out restaurant.
Friday – Saturday: 11 am – 7 pm
Exit 55 (SC 6 – Swansea, Pelion, Lexington)
Blurb: “In town on business and looking for a local recommendation from the hotel staff. They sent us to this place over other local BBQ names that came up in Google.
The menu was pretty straight-up BBQ, most items coming with their southern gold mustard-based sauce already on. The staff seemed to really enjoy working there and also working together so that was a big plus for us.” wi2ny05, TripAdvisor
Directions: Right on the corner as you come off of Exit 55 heading toward Columbia. Just a take a right and you’re there. If you were headed away from Columbia, you will turn left, cross over the interstate, and it will be on your right.
NOTE: Maurice’s is an SC BBQ chain with about a dozen locations, most of them in the Columbia area. You can find other Maurice’s locations at Exits 64, 74, 80 and 89 along I-20.
Monday – Thursday: 10 am – 9 pm
Friday – Saturday: 10 am – 9:30 pm
Sunday: 11 am – 9 pm
Exit 58 (US 1 – Lexington, West Columbia)
Blurb: “Kenny loves making BBQ. WOW! …and he is VERY serious about the quality of his product. His focus and desire to make “the perfect BBQ” is intense.
He smokes his own pork right out front and makes his own sauces. This is good food! This might also be the cleanest eating establishment I have EVER been in. PK BBQ prices are fair and the menu is broad enough for most – assuming you like BBQ. This is a BBQ joint.
There is no salad bar and I would be totally disappointed if there was one. There were plenty of sides available, but I went for the BBQ. I was not disappointed.” SteveJames, TripAdvisor
Directions: Simply take Exit 58 and head west on US-1 S/Augusta Rd toward Brickyard Rd. In about 1.4 miles, you’ll find PK BBQ on your left behind a gas station.
Tuesday – Friday: 11 am – 5:30 pm
Saturday: 11 am – 3 pm
Exit 61 ( US 378 – West Columbia, Lexington)
Blurb: “Me and a friend visiting from out of town sat down after a long day and stuffed ourselves with what may have been half their menu. Our waitress was so nice and accommodating.
When I couldn’t decide between the pork BBQ and the ribs (a common dilemma) she brought out a pork bbq sampler with all three of their sauces. Everything was high quality. But the ribs — more meat than bone — were the highlight of the meal.
Everything was on point and I’d like to come back next time I am in Columbia!” Jeff G., Yelp
Directions: Simply take Exit 61 and head northwest on US-378. In about 2.4 miles, Hudson’s will be on your right.
Tuesday – Thursday: 10:30 am – 9 pm
Friday: 11 am – 10 pm
Saturday: 10:30 am – 10 pm
Sunday: 10:30 am – 3 pm
Blurb: “It had been some time since we visited Hite’s BBQ, I don’t know why we ever stopped. We purchased a couple of sandwiches and what a flavor we received.
The rich smokey oak and hickory flavor was well pronounced, you know it was pit cooked…the best. Not an overpowering sauce that does not let you taste the pork…the best around.” Charles C., TripAdvisor
Directions: Take Exit 61 and head southeast on US-378 for just under a half mile. Turn right onto Leaphart Rd and follow for about 3.6 miles and Hite’s will be on your right.
Friday: 8 am – 7 pm
Saturday: 8 am – 6 pm
Blurb: “If BBQ was a religion (and it pretty much is), this place would be the holy land. When I lived in Columbia, eating at True BBQ was a weekly event to be celebrated. Those ribs, oh Lawd!
I would do many, many unholy things to get some of this BBQ up here in DC. I think they made a deal with the devil to get the hash & rice to taste so good. Sexy and pretty lady sauces are great as well.
The family that runs it is super nice and the smell of the smoker out front is enough to get me drooling.” Sam T., Yelp
Directions: Take Exit 61 and head southeast on US-378 for about a half mile. Then turn right onto Leaphart Rd and follow it for just over 3 miles. Turn left onto Augusta Rd and follow that for 1.2 miles where you will turn right onto 13th St, which will end in .2 miles at D Ave. Turn left on D Ave. and True BBQ will be right there on your right.
Wednesday – Saturday: 10:30 am – 9 pm
Exit 64A (I-26 – Spartanburg, Charleston)
Blurb: “The aroma of smoked pig greets you as soon as you park the truck, I was very impressed with the staff, offered up samples as soon as we walked in.
The pulled pork and ribs were worth the trip, sauces were the perfect compliment. Had the Mac and cheese and baked beans as sides, the perfect compliment to the ribs and pulled pork. If I find myself back in Columbia SC I’ll be back! Also, the local lager on tap went perfectly with the meal.” Tim T, Yelp
Directions: After exiting at 64A, take I-26 toward Columbia for a little over 3 miles. Then, use the right 2 lanes to take the exit toward Huger St. Take Huger for about .8 miles until you reach Gervais St. Turn left onto Gervais St. In about .5 miles, you will reach Park St., where you will take a right. At the end of that block, take another right onto Senate St. and The Pot Smoker BBQ will be just ahead on your right.
Daily: 11 am – 9:00 pm
Phone: (803) 400-2251
Blurb: “Palmetto Pig is absolutely the best BBQ restaurant in town. When I think of my favorite restaurant I think of Palmetto Pig. If you are looking for authentic southern food and a full and happy belly go to Palmetto Pig.” Ellie F, Yelp
Directions: Take exit 64A onto I-26 heading toward Columbia for a little over 3 miles. Then, use the right 2 lanes to take the exit toward Huger St. Take Huger for about 1.3 miles until you reach Devine St., where you will turn left. Palmetto Pig will be just ahead on your right.
Tuesday – Wednesday: 11 am – 2:30 pm
Thursday – Saturday: 11 am – 9:00 pm
Exit 72 (SC 555 -Farrow Road)
Blurb: “Easily the BEST BBQ in the Carolinas and I can’t imagine finding better BBQ in the south!!! This place is SPECIAL and deserves to have its name mentioned with the greats! Brisket, Ribs, Pulled Pork all get an A++.
But the standout today was the Chicken, smoked to perfection while being super moist inside and giving you crispy intense skin outside. The sides here also deserve high praise!!! You won’t find better collards than these in any restaurant down south.
Big Boys is legit. PS come prepared, the portions are belt busters!” Ashley E., Yelp
Directions: Take Exit 72 and head northeast on Farrow Rd for 2.3 miles and Big Boy’s will be on your right.
Wednesday – Saturday: 11 am – 6 pm
Sunday: 1 pm – 6 pm
Blurb: “Oh my goodness! What a treasure and the food is some of the best we have ever had! Loved the ribs-loved the chicken! You have to try the baked beans, the potato salad and their ice tea are wonderful!!!!
Small, impeccably clean and southern hospitality at its finest!!!!” jonesloop, TripAdvisor
Directions: Take Exit 72 and head north on Farrow Rd for about 3.5 miles. Turn right onto Hard Scrabble Rd. and Big Bull’s will be on your right in about .4 miles.
Wednesday – Friday: 11:30 am – 7 pm
Saturday: 12 pm – 7 pm
Sunday: 12 pm – 6 pm
Exit 76 (I-77 / Alpine Road – Charleston, Charlotte)
Blurb: “Little Pigs is a Columbia staple of a great BBQ buffet. This is a place you definitely want to show up hungry too. Their BBQ is good, you can choose your sauce preference of mustard or vinegar base and their fried chicken and wings are solid too, plus their sides and banana pudding.
Come hungry, leave happy. Little Pigs is awesome.” BBqaficinado, TripAdvisor
Directions: Take Exit 76 and head southeast on Alpine Rd for .6 miles and Little Pigs will be on the right.
Wednesday: 11 am – 2 pm
Thursday: 11 am – 8:30 pm
Friday – Saturday: 11 am – 9 pm
Sunday: 11 am – 3 pm
Exit 87 (White Pond Road – Elgin)
Blurb: “Mouth-watering greatness. You’ll notice the building is small and unpretentious. The people here devote themselves to nothing but being the best — and if you’re a devotee of great barbecue, that will probably matter more than the fact that the building only accommodates the kitchen and the outdoor dining space is limited.
For most people, this isn’t a stop-and-eat place, it’s a pickup and go place, but once you get home you won’t be disappointed.” Rodney W., Yelp
Directions: Take Exit 87 and head northwest on White Pond Rd toward Whiting Way. After traveling about 2.7 miles, turn right onto Pine St and go .3 miles. Then, turn right onto Main St and Ronnies will be .2 miles ahead on the right.
NOTE: Take out only.
Friday: 11 am – 8 pm
Saturday: 10 am – 8 pm
Exit 98 (US 601 – Lugoff, Camden, St. Matthews)
Blurb: “I’ve probably eaten far too much BBQ in my lifetime. I had the pulled pork, brisket, baked beans & baked potato. Everything was really great.
Definitely has that handcrafted flavor that BBQ should always have. Chatted with the owner for a while who told me in depth some different recipes and methods he uses. So have you ever had a piece of cheesecake that was smoked?! Well, lemme tell you… Try it. Home-made caramel sauce that’s not too sweet completes the total knock off of your socks at this place!
And Russell, can you please come up with a smoked pecan pie to your menu, I’d love to see what you come up with!” Scott Lambert-Gorwyn, Google Review
Directions: Simply take Exit 98 and drive straight for about 17.5 miles. You will see Russell’s on your left.
Thursday – Saturday: 11 am – 9 pm
Exit 137 (SC 340 – Darlington, Timmonsville)
Blurb: “We just found this spot on our way back from Charlotte. Is worth the detour from the main hwy. This is the best BBQ that I had in a while and the sides were all great too. I will visit again for sure.” ~ Elvis96, TripAdvisor
Directions: Take exit 137 for SC-340 toward Darlington/Timmonsville. Turn toward SC-340 N/Timmonsville Hwy (signs for Darlington) Continue to follow SC-340 N for 6.7 mi. Then turn right onto W Broad St and go 0.7 mi. Turn right onto S Main St and you’ll find Nick’s on the right.
Monday – Friday: 11 am – 9 pm
Blurb: “Fahrenheit 225 is a fantastic place to eat. It’s hard to choose a favorite item because everything I’ve had there is fantastic. I’d recommend the brisket grilled cheese or the half chicken. However, I did have the chicken salad the other night and it was delicious too.
They have a great selection of rotating beers and the staff is awesome. Stop by if you are in town and you won’t be disappointed!” ~ Candace G, Yelp
Directions: Head west on Exit 137 for about .2 mi. Turn right onto SC-340 N (signs for Darlington) and continue for 6.9 miles. Turn right onto Pearl St go about .6 mi. Turn left onto N Main St and Fahrenheit 225 will be on the left.
Tuesday – Friday: 11 am – 2 pm; 5 pm – 9pm