South Carolina’s bar-b-que has a long and storied past. This history has seen styles of barbeque that are both diverse and unique develop within our state.
In fact, those taking a road trip within SC need their own field guide to help them find the perfect location to sample the best of SC’s BBQ Trail.
To help the hungry road-warriors on our roads, we have created SC BBQ Road Trip: A Restaurant Field Guide for each of the interstates that criss-cross our state. This is the Interstate 95 edition.
Traveling I-95 in South Carolina, visitors and residents alike have ample opportunity to sample some of South Carolina’s best BBQ. (As a side note, learn how to eat SC’s best BBQ for FREE!)
What’s better: they don’t need to travel far off the beaten path to do so.
The I-95 corridor stretches for 201 miles along its journey through the state. While drivers do traverse the more urban tract of Florence, the majority of that distance is passed among our more pastoral areas.
Along the way, I-95 passes through two of South Carolina’s largest and most distinct BBQ regions: one region primarily serves a mustard-based BBQ sauce, and the other favors a vinegar-pepper based 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:
You see, of course, that I-95 passes through the heart of the mustard and the vinegar-pepper regions of SC.
As a side note, barbecue in South Carolina is not necessarily as defined as the map suggests. The map generalizes and whitewashes regions based on historical precedence.
Today, however, 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 among the masses hurtling up and down I-95. 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 is it hidden?
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-95. If you love SC BBQ as we do, we know you will appreciate this guide.
In addition, we’ll recommend our “Must Visit” SCBBQ restaurants along I-95.
Just a quick overview of our criteria for selecting these 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-95 is clearly a south-north running, East coast interstate, being such a high 2-digit odd number.
- mile markers for south-north running interstates begin at the southern border of each state
Thus, we will follow the exits up I-95 from our southern border with Georgia to our northern border with NC.
And away we go…
Distances are approximate: Use our map for more precise directions.
Exit 5 (US 17/Hardeeville)
(NOTE: Click store name for more info, including address, links to social media and review sites, and other details.)
Blurb: “The spot is basically a trailer, with some outdoor seating and a one-person restroom. If you’re looking for a fancy, “clean” looking place you might had better go elsewhere, but if you’re looking for some good ole southern fried greatness, make the stop!” ~ Ryan A., Yelp
>>> Read our Review
Directions: Simply take Exit 5 and head south on 17. The restaurant will be on your right just a stone’s throw from your exit.
Monday – Saturday: 10:30 am – 10 pm
Sunday: 4 pm – 10 pm
Phone: (843) 784-5141
Blurb: “This place was a hidden gem! The owner informed me she had been there for 23 years! I can see why! The inside of the restaurant is quaint and the food is amazing! To be honest, from the outside I didn’t expect much… I was pleasantly surprised !!” ~
Gregory C., Yelp
Directions: The Pink Pig lies about 7 miles from Exit 5. Start by heading south on 17. It is pretty much a straight shot, but there are a few important turns to make along the way. Use our map to find your way.
Tuesday – Thursday: 11 am – 3 pm
Friday – Saturday: 11 am – 3 pm; 5 pm – 7pm
Exit 21 (SC 336/Ridgeland)
Blurb: “Go early because it will be crowded, the best family served and prepared Bar B Que fixin’s in South Carolina.” ~ Citadel62, Trip Advisor
Directions: Dukes Bar-B-Que in Ridgeland is about 1.5 miles from Exit 21. Take 336 toward Ridgeland and turn left on 17. Dukes will be on the left about a half-mile from your turn.
Thursday – Saturday: 11 am – 9 pm
Exit 57 (SC 64/ Walterboro, Lodge)
Blurb: “Saw a sign for this place on the interstate and so happy we stopped to give it a try. This definitely is not fine dining, but for all you can eat southern barbecue buffet served on a paper plate this place nails it.” ~ Brian M., Yelp
>>> Read our Review
Directions: To get to Dukes in Walterboro, you will take Exit 57 and head southeast on 64 (Bell’s Hwy) and then turn left on Robertson, drive about a mile and Dukes will be on your left.
Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Thursday – Saturday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Sunday: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Exit 90 (US 176/ Holly Hill, Cameron)
Blurb: “They turned the old family home into a restaurant in the middle of nowhere on Hwy 453 between Eutawville and Holly Hill. Open only Fri and Sat. We drive 90 minutes and go 2 or 3 times a year. It’s that good.” ~ Faye C, Trip Advisor
>>> Read our Review
Directions: There are several exits (and routes from those exits) that you can take to get to Sweatman’s. Exit 90, 93 or 98 will get you there, and all are roughly the same distance, but Exit 90 offers the shortest of the options. Sweatman’s is a bit farther than most of the places mapped out for you in this article, but it is worth the extra mile or two.
Friday – Saturday: 11:30 am – 9 pm
Exit 98 (SC 6/ Eutawville, Santee, Elloree)
Blurb: “Looking for a one-of-a-kind dining experience? Real home cooking in a 1890s fish-camp style atmosphere. Can taste the love in every bite, especially the tomato pie.” ~ BillHHI, Zomato
Directions: Lone Star enjoys one of the best settings in SC for a BBQ restaurant. Go northwest on US 15 toward Santee, continue straight on SC-6 W, and turn right on State Park Rd. and Lone Star will be on the left in around .3 miles.
Thursday: 11:30 am – 8 pm
Friday – Saturday: 11:30 am – 8:30 pm
Sunday: 11:30 am – 3 pm
Exit 115 (US 301 – Manning, Summerton)
Blurb: “I Had a really good time at this place the food was great but what really made me came was the great reviews I’m a local that didn’t even know about the place until I tasted their amazing BBQ.
Their service was amazing and to say it was only 2 people working, they got through my family pretty quick. I definitely recommend this to family and locals if you want real BBQ.” ~ Moonsie R., TripAdvisor
Directions: To get to Sugar Hill, take Exit 115 (also accessible from 119), and head northeast on US-301 N toward Ram Bay Rd for about 2.5 mi. Turn right onto Raccoon Rd/State Rd S-14-63 and go about 1.7 miles. Then, turn left onto Oak Grove Church Rd/State Rd S-14-62. Continue to follow Oak Grove Church Rd for about 2.1 mi. Turn right onto Herod Dr and Sugar Hill will be on the right.
Friday – Saturday: 11 am – 8 pm
Exit 119 (SC 261/Manning, Paxville)
Blurb: “I can’t say enough about this restaurant. Less than 10 minutes off I-95 and well worth the short drive.” ~ Harlan M., Yelp
Directions: To get to JK’s House of Ribs, head southeast on 261 for a bit over 2 miles, turn left on Durant and JK’s will be on your left.
Wednesday – Saturday: 11 am – 8 pm
Blurb: “Non-pretentious southern BBQ with large portions and very friendly, attentive service. Homey atmosphere and prices are very reasonable. prices.” ~ Bob5705, TripAdvisor
Directions: Head southeast on 261 for about 2 miles and take a right on S. Mill St. D&H Bar-B-Que will be on the left about a half mile from your turn.
Tuesday – Saturday: 11 am – 8 pm
Sunday: 11 am – 2 pm
Blurb: “This food was out of this world amazing. We discovered it on Yelp on our drive from DC to Hilton Head for a wedding. All four of us got the all you can eat buffet for under $10.
The food was so incredible. Small town, family-owned and run restaurant of 30 years–this place highly deserves your business. Only open for lunch on Thur, Fri, and Sat, though, so plan your trip accordingly! Highly worth the stop.” ~ Katherine W., Yelp
>>> Read our Review
Directions: McCabe’s can easily be reached from Exit 122 as well as Exit 119. The distance is about the same from either exit. Via Exit 122, simply head southeast on 521 for about 2.5 miles. Via Exit 119, go southeast on 261 for about 1.9 miles, turn left on N. Brooks St. and McCabe’s will be less than a mile on your right.
NOTE: McCabe’s is Cash Only; No Cards
Thursday – Saturday: 10 am – 3 pm
Exit 146 (SC 341 – Lake City, Lynchburg, Olanta)
Blurb: “We love this place! Always hot food, great bbq, and friendly staff. We eat here at least once a week, seeing as how we’re so close.
It’s small and not overwhelming as other buffet places, plus you can order something else if you don’t want what’s on the buffet, if you’re looking for a large variety then it isn’t for you.” ~ Jennifer D, Yelp
Directions: Country Cousins is about 8 miles from Exit 146. Take the exit and head south, then turn left onto SC-341 S (signs for Olanta Lake City). Travel about 7 miles and then continue straight onto Hampton St. In a half mile, turn right onto N Jones Rd. and Country Cousins will be just ahead on your left.
Thursday – Saturday: 11 am – 8 pm
Phone: (843) 370-9696
Exit 160 (I-20/ Florence, Columbia)
Blurb: “This is a genuine Southern BBQ restaurant. This place is golden. It has the moist, succulent, tangy BBQ of South Carolina. Vinegar-based seasoning makes this some of the best BBQ in the South. The buffet is loaded with good food.” ~ Tawanat4, TripAdvisor
Directions: Roger’s Bar-B-Q House is about 3 miles from Exit 160 heading east on McLeod Blvd (I-20B) until you reach W. Palmetto, where you will turn right. Then you will turn left on 2nd Loop Rd.
Wednesday: 11 am – 3 pm
Thursday – Saturday: 11 am – 9 pm
Sunday: 11 am – 8 pm
Exit 164 (US 52/ Florence, Darlington)
Blurb: “Wholly Smokin’ is by far one of my favorite restaurants in Florence. For those of you who don’t know, South Carolina’s Pee Dee region is a mecca for BBQ joints. Honestly, they are all delicious and all the same.
Cue Wholly Smokin’. This place is a crown jewel and has gained the utmost respect from me and my taste buds. It’s BBQ and all the fixings, but with flair.” ~ Jessica H., Yelp
Directions: Head southeast on US 52 for just over 2 miles, turn right on N. Irby and go just over a half mile, then turn left on W. Cheves. Wholly Smokin’ Downtown will be a quick left turn on Dargan away.
Tuesday – Thursday: 11 am – 9 pm
Friday – Saturday: 11 am – 10 pm
Sunday: 9 am – 8 pm
Blurb: “If you are looking for atmosphere; go somewhere else. If you are looking for a great BBQ buffet this is the place. The buffet is not the biggest around but everything is good.” ~ Botzworth, TripAdvisor
Directions: From Exit 164, head southeast on US-52 for just under 2.5 miles, turn right on N. Irby and continue straight for about 2 miles until you see Woodstone on the right.
Thursday and Saturday: 11 am – 8:30 pm
Friday: 11 am – 9 pm
Sunday: 11 am – 2 pm
Blurb: “Plenty of southern comfort food and a great price. Certainly not a place that is light on calories, but it is heavy on taste and comfort.
The people working there were nice and chatty, which we like. Has a home-like feel, like eating with friends. If you are heading to or from the coast or in the area for other reasons, give Cain’s a try. You won’t leave hungry.” ~ Chris K, TripAdvisor
Directions: Cain’s Bar-B-Q lies 6.4 miles from Exit 164. It is a little over 3.5 miles further down 2nd Loop Rd. (SC-51) from Roger’s. 2nd Loop becomes Pamlico Hwy.
Thursday – Saturday: 11 am – 9 pm
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: Nick’s BBQ House is pretty much a straight shot off of Exit 164. Take 52 southwest toward Darlington for a bit over 4.5 miles. Continue straight onto S. Main St. for just over a mile and Nick’s will be on your left.
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: Take exit 164 for US-52 W toward Darlington and merge onto US-52 N. Continue for 4.8 miles. Continue straight onto US-52 BUS N/S Main St. Fahrenheit 225 will be on the left.
Tuesday – Friday: 11 am – 2 pm; 5 pm – 9pm
Exit 170 (SC 327 – Florence, Marion, Myrtle Beach)
Blurb: “Delicious Roadside BBQ. The smell is noticeable first thing, and then you see the arrow sign pointing towards the BBQ Barrell, this place is either going to be terrible or fantastic – and it’s the latter.
You order in the little black food truck/trailer and try to keep from drooling from the smell coming from the smoker. We ordered the BBQ Sandwich with Slaw and the 3 Rib Plate. Both were scrumptious, the BBQ sauce is red/vinegar base and doesn’t need much, but the slaw is a nice tangy and creamy accompaniment.
The ribs fall off the bone and the fries were crunchy and warm. I’m so glad I stopped, and we will make the trek whenever we are back in the area!” ~ Meg H, Yelp
Directions: Take Exit 170 and head to Marion and Myrtle Beach on 327. Follow 327 for about 2.8 miles and turn left onto Old Marion Hwy. (State Rd S-21-24). Follow this road for 2.9 miles and D’z Pit BBQ will be on your right.
Tuesday – Sunday: 10 am – 8 pm
Exit 181 (SC 38/ Latta, Marion)
Blurb: “I have been driving by this place for 18(?) years and have never stopped…I saw a clip on The Profit and knew we had to stop on our next trip.
Three weeks later and a slight detour on our trip to Florida, we have finally tasted the hype…and it was well worth the wait! We will definitely be back on every trip through the area. It is very easy to get to from I-95.” ~ Daniel C, Yelp
>>> Read our Review
Directions: Shuler’s Barbecue, made famous on the CNBC show The Profit, is almost as simple to get to as it is worth visiting. It lies only 3.9 miles down SC-38 from Exit 181. When you see the giant US Flag, you know you are there.
Wednesday – Saturday: 11:30 am – 9 pm