Barbeque in South Carolina — the birthplace of BBQ — is so unique and plentiful that those taking a road trip within our state need a guide to help them find the best location to sample from the SC BBQ Trail.
With that in mind, we have created SC BBQ Road Trip: A Restaurant Field Guide for each interstate that traverses our state. This edition covers Interstate 85 and its restaurants on the SC BBQ Trail.
Interstate 85 in South Carolina extends diagonally across the western corner of the state before exiting in Cherokee County.
This journey has Interstate 85 passing through only one of the four primary barbecue regions in the state. Regardless, those who find themselves on I-85 have ample opportunity to sample traditional South Carolina barbecue, and they don’t need to detour far from their travels to do so.
Interstate 85 extends 107 miles during its passage through the state. On this relatively short journey, I-85 spends its entire length in the region of SC most known for a light tomato 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 historical BBQ sauce regions:
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 that 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 85. 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 look 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. (As a side note, learn how to eat SC’s best BBQ for FREE!)
In addition, we’ll recommend the “Must Visit” SCBBQ restaurants you will pass as you travel I-85.
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, odd-numbered interstates run south-north, with lower numbered interstates starting in the west; I-85 is clearly a south-north running, East coast interstate, being such a high, odd number.
- mile markers for south-north running interstates begin at the southern end of each interstate
Thus, we will follow the exits along I-20 from where it begins in Columbia until it exits near Charlotte.
Buckle your seatbelt and away we go…
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Note: Distances are approximate: Use our map for more precise directions.
Exit 1 (SC 11 north (Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway) – Walhalla)
(NOTE: Click store name for more info, including address, links to social media and review sites, and other details.)
Blurb: “The Spotted Pig is the best place to eat, hands down. Everyone that I know that has eaten here, agrees that it’s the best BBQ around. I mean, why else would they sell out of food so quickly?
The service is phenomenal as well. If you’re in the area (and even if you’re not) give this place a try, I promise you won’t regret it!” Hannah R., Yelp
Directions: Take Exit 1 and head northwest on SC-11 N for about 3.8 miles and The Spotted Pig will be on your right.
Thursday: 11 am – 8 pm
Friday- Saturday: 11 am – 9 pm
Sunday: 11 am – 4 pm
Exit 14 (SC 187 – Pendleton, Clemson)
Blurb: “Great little BBQ place convenient to Lake Hartwell. Steaks & burgers are also available. I had pulled pork sandwich with mac-n-cheese. The meat was very tender & delicious. Three sauces to choose from. The mustard-based is pretty sweet. The mild is a solid Southern style. There is also a spicy red. Another of my party had the brisket, which was reportedly excellent as well. Fried okra was very fresh. We had our dog with us & were allowed to have her in the patio seating. They also have corn hole & other yard games.” Lois Petersen, Google Review
Directions: A scenic drive over Lake Hartwell, take Exit 14 and head southeast on SC-187 toward Arnold Rd. Go about 1.3 miles and turn left onto SC-187/SC-24 E. Drive about 2.7 miles where following 187 will require you to turn right. Turn right onto SC-187 and go about 2.6 miles and Sadler’s Creek BBQ will be on your left, set back a good bit from the road.
Thursday: 11 am – 8 pm
Friday- Saturday: 11 am – 8:30 pm
Sunday: 10:30 am – 2:30 pm
Exit 19 (US 76 / SC 28 – Clemson, Anderson)
Blurb: “We are BBQ lovers and try local restaurants whenever we travel. Everyone has different preferences in BBQ, and this one did not disappoint us. The pork was tender and flavorful. So was the brisket.
‘All of the sides we ate were also homemade and fresh. Sauces are made in house – four to chose from. The portions were enormous. There are nightly specials of different meats and sides. If we lived closer, we’d go there often.” NCPat, TripAdvisor
Directions: Take Exit 19 and head south on US-76 E/Clemson Blvd. When you have traveled about 2.1 miles, turn right onto State Hwy 61/Salem Church Rd. Creekside will be about .2 miles ahead on your left.
Thursday – Saturday: 11 am – 9 pm
Sunday: 11 am – 2 pm
Blurb: “Everything is amazing! The BBQ sauces are all great. My favorites are the spicy one and the honey mustard. I don’t normally like honey mustard sauces, but theirs is great.
“A bonus is all of their sides are wonderful. Their cobbler, no matter what kind, is to die for and is a must-try. I also recommend the cheesy jalapeño grits, they’re hardly spicy but they have an amazing flavor.” Erin Graf, Zomato
Directions: Take Exit 19 and head north on US-76 W toward Electric City Boulevard. The Smokin’ Pig will be on your right in about 4 miles.
Thursday – Saturday: 11 am – 9 pm
Exit 21 (US 178 – Anderson, Liberty)
Blurb: “Might I note I have worked in bbq and have experience directly smoking and seasoning the meats and everything else involved. I’ve had bbq in many states now and none I have tried comes close to the quality and freshness of this establishment.” Melissa R., Yelp
Directions: Take Exit 21 and head south on US-178 E toward 1129 for about 2.1 miles. When you reach Clemson Blvd., turn left and The Pompous Pig will be about .8 miles down on your left.
It is also accessible easily from Exit 19 via Clemson Blvd.
Tuesday – Thursday: 11 am – 8 pm
Friday – Saturday: 11 am – 9 pm
Sunday: 11 am – 3 pm
Blurb: “I was in the area and looked at TA reviews – thanks! Awesome real BBQ and the portions are huge! Inspired: the atmosphere – a step back in time Atmosphere: basic restaurant Service: excellent Food: loved the BBQ Drink: get your sweet tea here Parking: easy free lot in front Discovered: thanks to TA reviews Return: yes.” 275GTS, TripAdvisor
Directions: Take Exit 21 and head south on US-178 E toward 1129. In about 2.1 miles, turn left onto US-178 E/US-76 E and go 1.3 miles. Continue straight onto N Main St for 1.8 miles and Little Pigs will be on your right.
It is also accessible easily from Exit 19 via Clemson Blvd. (which becomes N. Main.)
Tuesday – Saturday: 11 am – 8 pm
Blurb: “The whole hog park is special. If you know about Scott’s in Hemmingway, you could compare it to Circle M. It doesn’t need extra sauce as they must mix some in when they pull it.
“The sauce in the meat is vinegar based with a bit of a kick perhaps from paprika and other spices. This is the best pork BBQ in the entire Upstate of SC and that is saying something, with great places like Smokin’ Pig also in the upcountry.” Joe E., Yelp
Directions: Simply take Exit 21 and head north on US-178 W for about 9.1 miles. Turn left when you reach Martin Sausage Rd and Circle M will be on your right (though it will be visible on your left before you turn as Circle M is on the corner).
Friday – Saturday: 4:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Exit 32 (SC 8 – Pelzer, Belton)
Blurb: “The pork BBQ was delicious with a smoky sweet flavor that made sauce unnecessary. The service was fast and the staff was attentive. I ate with a very large party and they handled our orders quickly and correctly.
“The most pleasant surprise was the Brunswick stew that was the best I have tasted in a long time with a mixture of sweet, smoky, and spicy flavors. I bought another quart of the stew and enjoyed some of it at work for the next two days.
“My coworkers all had to have a taste when they smelled it heating in the microwave and, consequently, a number of them have visited Southern Smoke since that time.” Andy R, TripAdvisor
Directions: Take Exit 32 and head toward Pelzer and Williamston. Southern Smoke will be about 1.6 miles ahead on your left.
Thursday – Saturday: 11 am – 9 pm
Phone: (864) 402-6040
Exit 40 (SC 153 – Easley)
Blurb: “This is one of the local diamonds in Easley. It has plenty of local flavor and a train that runs around the restaurant. The buffet is really good with fried chicken and ribs. You will enjoy eating here.” Mike G., TripAdvisor
Directions: Take Exit 40 and head northwest on SC-153, driving about 4.3 miles. Turn left onto State Rd S-39-28 (Old Easley Bridge Rd.) and follow to the right as it becomes Powdersville Rd. Continue on Powdersville for 1.9 miles, where you will find Mutt’s on your left.
Monday – Thursday: 11 am – 8 pm
Friday – Saturday: 11 am – 9 pm
Sunday: 11 am – 2:30 pm
Exit 42 (I-185 / US 29 north – Greenville, Columbia)
Blurb: “Shared the Pulled Pork with coleslaw and string beans with rolls. We had it with the Mustard based sauce which added a little spice and flavor to the already slightly sweet flavors of the pork.
“The portion size was generous and filling. When I’m in the area again, I will be back!” Adderly3c, TripAdvisor
Directions: Take Exit 42 and head North toward Downtown Greenville. In about 3.3 miles Little Pigs will be on your left.
Monday – Saturday: 11 am – 7:30 pm
Sunday: 11 am – 5 pm
Phone: (864) 235-7211
Exit 48 (US 276 – Mauldin, Greenville)
Blurb: “My favorite place for BBQ! I have been coming to this place for years and it never disappoints. If you dine in they have bottles of all of the different sauces available to try. It gives you the option to mix it up.
“The pulled pork on the sandwich is piled high so it almost enough to make 2 sandwiches. Every side I have tried has been very good but the french fries and coleslaw reign supreme. It’s a great spot for BBQ.” Ayelneh, TripAdvisor
Directions: Take Exit 48 and head toward Mauldin on 276. Follow 276 for a little over 3 miles and Little Pigs will be on your left.
Monday – Saturday: 10:30 am – 8 pm
Phone: 864 288 6615
Blurb: “Had a wonderful experience at Moe’s Original Bar B Que in Greenville, South Carolina! The manager that evening was very nice, and their service was super quick.
“I had the wings extra crispy with the sauce on the side. Delish! Collard greens, fried okra, and the sweet cornbread were excellent… and I don’t even like sweet cornbread!
“The restaurant has a great ambiance, and you’ll want to see if you can grab a seat outside around the large firepit. Definitely a great place to eat!” Dwight A, Yelp
Directions: Take Exit 48 for US-276 W toward Greenville. Merge onto US-276 N/Laurens Rd. and drive about 5 miles. Moe’s will be on the left.
Daily: 11 am – 9 pm
Blurb: “Located in a disjointed little building. This place has 2 things — character and great food. A group of us have been dining at area mom and pop BBQ spots. Our stop at M&J BBQ was a huge hit with all of us.
Extremely fair pricing. We all had the pork with various sides. Potato salad, French fries, mac n cheese, baked beans, and sweet potatoes were among our choices. The serving sizes of the sides were generous and fair.” abcjjl, TripAdvisor
Directions: Take Exit 48 toward Greenville and merge onto 276. Head northwest for 5.6 miles, continue straight onto W Stone Ave. Turn right onto SC-183/Pete Hollis Blvd and go about .8 miles to Old Buncombe Rd. Turn right toward Old Buncombe Rd and continue on Old Buncombe Rd for .4 miles and Mike and Jeff’s will be on the left.
Tuesday – Friday: 10 am – 7 pm
Saturday: 10 am – 4 pm
Also accessible from Exit 48 are additional locations of restaurants we’ve featured at other exits along I-85 including the following:
Exit 51A (Woodruff Road)
Tom’s BBQ (Permanently Closed)
Blurb: “Great BBQ, great prices, great service. I have purchased bbq by the pound here many times for events. You can’t beat the price, but it’s also the best bbq around. Their hushpuppies are good too.
“The best mac & cheese and good banana pudding. My only complaint about this place is that there are not more locations.” Diane H., Yelp
Directions: Take Exit 51-A and head southeast on SC-146 W/Woodruff Rd for about a half-mile. Tom’s will be on the left just past Lowe’s.
Monday – Saturday: 10:30 am – 3:30 pm
Phone: (864) 288-2652
Blurb: “Basically anything they serve on the menu is excellent. That is why my employer and many others choose Henry’s Smokehouse for their special occasions.
Everything is authentic Southern food. And they are reasonably priced. I love the smell of the firewood from the smoker in Greenville.” Paul V., TripAdvisor
Directions: Take Exit 51-A and head southeast on SC-146 E/Woodruff Rd toward Carolina Point Pkwy. In a little over 2 miles, Henry’s will be on your right in the Bi-Lo shopping center.
Wednesday – Thursday: 11 am – 4 pm
Friday – Saturday: 11 am – 8 pm
Sunday: 11 am – 3 pm
Blurb: “This is definitely the best barbecue in Greenville. I feel like I can only second what the other reviewers have already pointed out.
The people are friendly and treat everyone who comes like family. The food is astonishing.” Will G, Yelp
Directions: Take Exit 51-A and head southeast on SC-146 E/Woodruff Rd toward Carolina Point Pkwy. In about 2.5 miles Smoky Dreams will be on your left beside McDonald’s on the corner of Woodruff and SC-14.
Wednesday – Saturday: 11 am – 7 pm
Exit 54 (Pelham Road)
Blurb: “I can’t believe I’ve wasted several years driving past their location to only now find out how unbelievable this BBQ is. They have certainly earned their numerous competition Grand Champion awards, and it comes through in the food and experience, even though we had take out.
I had the Frog Platter, giving a sample of ribs, pulled pork, and hot link sausage. Sausage was smoky, spicy, and filled with cheese I think… I rarely get this but thought it was great. Pulled pork was juicy and full of flavor. Ribs were the best I’ve ever had. I’ve been trying my hand at ribs this year, and realize how far from the mark I am – these were simply outstanding.
The banana pudding was great. Trust me, the wife is a connoisseur of banana pudding and she endorses it!
Looking forward to returning and trying the Frog Man Sandwich.
Directions: SBH BBQ Co. is literally at Exit 54 right beside the Waffle House and Burger King. You can’t miss it.
Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Thursday – Saturday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Blurb: “I just moved here from Kansas City and this place gets my stamp of approval! I got fries, beans, pork, chips, bread, and a drink for $8.50. Hard to beat.
“Sides were great, BBQ was good, and I love this sauce. Also, It was ready before I could even finish paying. This is a hole in the wall with no frills, which is my favorite kind of place.” Andrew D., Yelp
Directions: Take Exit 54 and head east toward Pelham Rd. Follow Pelham for about 2 miles. When you reach the strip mall Pelham at 14, turn in to your right and Charlies is the far left-hand store of the mall.
Monday – Thursday: 8 am – 8 pm
Friday – Saturday: 8 am – 9 pm
Bucky’s has 4 locations in the Greenville area. This location is the closest to I-85.
Blurb: “Really good authentic, traditional BBQ. Pulled pork is awesome. Bucky’s baked beans, mac n cheese, and sweet potato crunch are amaaaazing! Great size portions, sweet tea was also very good. Nothing fancy about it, just great barbecue. I’ll be back for sure!” John K., Yelp
Directions: Take Exit 54 and head east toward Pelham Rd. Quickly, you will take your first right onto SC-564, which you will follow for about 1.3 miles. Turn left onto Snipes Rd and drive about .3 miles where you will come to a stop sign. Turn right to stay on Snipes Rd and go about .4 miles. When you reach Roper Mountain Rd, turn left. Bucky’s will be just ahead on the right.
Monday – Tuesday: 10 am – 2:30 pm
Wednesday – Saturday: 10 am – 8 pm
Blurb: “I visit here for lunch frequently. The restaurant has a lunch special which is a barbecue sandwich, two sides, and a drink for around $8.
The barbecue is quite good for the money and I typically get macaroni and cheese and green beans for my sides. Overall, it’s pretty hard to beat for the price and the barbecue is very good.” mjswansona, TripAdvisor
Directions: Take Exit 54 and head northwest on Pelham Rd toward The Parkway. After 1 mile, turn right onto Boiling Springs Rd and drive for a little over 2 miles where the road ends. Turn left onto Old Spartanburg Rd. In about .3 miles, turn right onto Hudson Rd. Little Pigs will be just ahead on the right in the strip mall currently anchored by Bi-Lo.
Monday – Saturday: 10:30 am – 8 pm
Exit 63 (SC 290 – Moore, Duncan)
Blurb: “Very nice place, squeaky clean! Friendly, fast service, great beverage and dining area. The ribs fell off the bone and tasty? Wow! Tried the sauces, very tasty, only as a compliment so used very little. Super coleslaw!” Jerry E, Yelp
Directions: Take Exit 63 and head west toward E Main St. In about 2.8 miles, Sim’s BBQ will be on your left.
Wednesday – Thursday: 10:30 am – 7 pm
Friday – Saturday: 10:30 am – 8 pm
Phone: (864) 249-6787
Exit 66 (US 29/Spartanburg, Wellford, Lyman)
Blurb: “While passing by on a road trip we stopped in for lunch. We were very impressed with our lunch, the sliced brisket was great along with the pulled pork. The ribs were perfectly cooked with a great smokey flavor.
“I would highly recommend this place as its close off of the interstate if you’re looking for a good spot. The sides were all good as well. I would highly recommend trying the moonshine sauce, a very tasty mix.” Ryan M, Yelp
Directions: Take Exit 66 and head east on US-29 N toward New Hope Dr, driving about 4.1 miles. Then turn right onto S Blackstock Rd and drive about .3 miles and then turn right onto S 499/Oak Grove Rd. Smok’y Blues will be about a half mile down on your right.
Wednesday – Saturday: 11 am – 7 pm
Exit 72 (US 176 to I-585 – Spartanburg, Inman)
Blurb: “Went based on trip advisor ratings. Couldn’t have had better food. Ribs and chicken top notch. Sides also good. Must have the hush puppies. Service was amazing. Absolutely a must if in the Spartanburg area!” Murry G, TripAdvisor
Directions: Take Exit 72 and head east on US-176 E/N Pine St. After about 1.1 miles, take the E Campus Blvd exit toward USC Upstate and then keep right at the fork, follow signs for East Campus Boulevard and merge onto E Campus Blvd. Continue onto S 79/Lone Oak Rd and in about .4 miles Carolina Barbecue will be on your right.
Monday – Thursday: 10:30 am – 8 pm
Friday – Saturday: 10:30 am – 9 pm
Exit 75 (SC 9 – Spartanburg, Boiling Springs)
Blurb: “My husband and I LOVE this place. This little restaurant has BBQ that is excellent! I always get Sams Regular – their pulled pork sandwich — with 2 sides (I get green beans and sweet potato crunch!)
“I load that sandwich up with their “Secret” sauce (We HAVE to buy this in a quart every time we come because it’s finger-lickin’ good). I’d recommend this restaurant to anyone!” ~ Jessica Watts, Google Review
Directions: Take Exit 75 and head
Monday – Saturday: 11 am – 8 pm
Phone: (864) 310-6282
Exit 78 (US 221 – Chesnee, Spartanburg)
Blurb: “Southern BBQ is a great local place with the best bbq in town. Their sauces are a great addition to the actual bbq. Their BBQ coleslaw is incredible as well.
“The staff is so nice and friendly and the food comes out quickly if you’re in a hurry. BBQ doesn’t get much better than this in Spartanburg.” Rebecca K, Yelp
Directions: Take Exit 78 and head north on US-221 N toward Fairview Church Rd. Southern BBQ will be on your left between two gas stations right just off the exit.
Tuesday – Saturday: 10:30 am – 8 pm
Blurb: “Awesome !!!!! Love this place. Great ribs, killer pulled pork & great homemade peach cobbler. This is joes second place.
“His flagship BBQ on New Cut Road is worth the drive if you’re in the area. Just outstanding Carolina BBQ.” Dave W, Yelp
Directions: Take Exit 78 and head south on US-221 S toward Sun N Sand Rd. After about 1.4 miles, turn left onto Floyd Rd and go another 1.1 miles. Turn right onto Floyd Rd Extension and follow that as it becomes Floyd St for a total of about 1.3 miles. Then turn right onto S 44/Drayton Rd and Pig Out will be .3 miles ahead on the left.
NOTE: Cash Only; Cards not accepted.
Tuesday – Wednesday: 11 am – 3 pm
Thursday – Saturday: 11 am – 8 pm
Phone: (864) 327-8230
Exit 90 (SC 110 – Cowpens, Chesnee)
Blurb: “Possibly some of the best BBQ I have had in a while! We had a combo plate of BBQ, Chicken, and Ribs with corn and baked beans plus a kids BBQ meal. 3 people stuffed for $17!
The only thing that would have made it better is if there was a mustard-based sauce option (please! Someone around here work on that!) staff/owners were also super friendly! Would definitely recommend!” Shelly S, Yelp
Directions: The route varies a bit depending on which direction you are going on I-85, but either way take Exit 83, exit onto SC-110 S/Battleground Rd, and head toward Cowpens. In about 1.7 miles turn right onto N Main St. Go another .2 miles and Bluegrass will be on your left.
Tuesday – Saturday: 10:30 am – 9 pm
Exit 92 (SC 11 (Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway) to SC 150 – Gaffney, Chesnee)
Blurb: “Awesome food and service. We were traveling and stumbled on this gem. The Bbq was delicious and the shack chips were fabulous!!!
“Didn’t know cheesy chips like this existed… Grilled zucchini and tomatoes were an excellent healthy side. Wow! And don’t forget the hard cider…..” Cyd P, Yelp
Directions: Take Exit 92 and head southeast on SC-11 N/W Floyd Baker Blvd. Daddy Joe’s will be on your left in about .9 miles.
Monday – Thursday: 11 am – 10 pm
Friday – Saturday: 11 am – 11 pm
Phone: 864.487.7427 (RIBS )
Blurb: “The food is awesome the people who run it is great people I would recommend anyone going there to eat awesome atmosphere the price is right also you can’t beat it.” James Childers, Google Review
Directions: Take exit 92 for SC-11 toward SC-150/Gaffney/Boiling Springs. Turn onto SC-11 N/W Floyd Baker Blvd and head toward Gaffney. In about 1.8 miles, turn left onto N Granard St. (SC-29) Go for about 3 tenths of a mile. Stay on SC-29 as it turns into Cherokee Ave. Go about another 1.2 miles to find The Jiggy Pig on your left.
Tuesday – Wednesday: 10:30 AM – 4:00 PM
Thursday – Friday: 10:30 AM – 6:30 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM