Just as barbecue can be a uniting force — especially for a gathering of family and friends on Memorial Day weekend — it can also be a point of contention for folks who proclaim to hold the taste buds to discern and recipe to create the real definition of BBQ.
In much of the country, barbecue is a verb — as in, “We're going to barbecue this weekend.” It usually means “to cook out,” so barbecue can involve grilling burgers or hot dogs. But in the South, barbecue is a noun — as in, “Y'all come over this weekend for some barbecue.” Guests will expect slow-cooked pork over an open flame, pulled and smoked to perfection.
But even different regions of the South disagree over everything from the type of wood that should be used to the style of sauce to slather on it. In North Carolina, the sauce is typically vinegar-based; in South Carolina, it's usually mustard-based; Memphis is all about ribs with a dry rub and tangy sauce; while Texas folks prefer beef smothered in a sweet and spicy tomato-based sauce.
Luckily for visitors to the Grand Strand, you can find all of the above to make your Memorial Day picnic plans complete. Here are five of our favorite places to go for BBQ:
Damon's Oceanfront Grill: Places like Damon's, which is located in a large beach house on the Myrtle Beach oceanfront, are typically reserved for seafood restaurants. But this regional chain is world famous for its baby back ribs that are cooked over an open flame until they fall off the bone and melt in your mouth. The scenic location also makes this a popular spot for folks who like to look at the ocean but prefer their dinner to come from dry land. Damon's also has great steaks, chops and even some seafood dishes.
Dickey's Barbecue Pit: Fans of real Texas barbecue finally have a new option on the Grand Strand. The Texas-based chain recently opened a location near the corner of Highway 17 Bypass and 38th Avenue North, adding a new flavor to the local lineup. Dickie's offers BBQ beef brisket, ribs, pork and house-made sausages that are smoked on-site. Dickey's is also known for its sides, such as its fried okra, mac and cheese, and onion straws. Patrons can enjoy free ice cream for dessert.
Hog Heaven BBQ: Real South Carolina barbecue, as well as good country cooking and fresh local seafood, can be found at this Pawleys Island hot spot. But BBQ is the main draw, and Hog Heaven serves pulled pork that is slow smoked over hickory coals in the backyard. A daily buffet includes BBQ and ribs, local shrimp and fish, Southern classics, and side dishes in a Lowcountry setting that makes Hog Heaven worth the 30-mile drive south.
Little Pigs: Those who swear by North Carolina barbecue have kept this small but thriving restaurant busy for nearly 20 years. Located near the corner of Highway 17 Bypass and 62nd Avenue North, Little Pigs features whole pork shoulders that are slow smoked over hickory and chopped for sandwiches. Put some coleslaw, pickles and vinegar-based sauce on the bun, and you've got a true taste of Tar Heel State-style BBQ.
Memorial Day Picnics: Fans of a more traditional cookout style of barbecue are in luck for Memorial Day weekend with two family picnics scheduled on the Grand Strand. The Military Appreciation Days Big Family Picnic is set for noon Saturday at Market Common's Grand Park, beginning after the Memorial Day Parade. Hot dogs, hamburgers and other picnic-friendly food and drink will be available, and veterans and their families can eat for free. The town of Surfside Beach holds its Beach Picnic at 2:30 p.m. Sunday by the pier as a Memorial Day tribute.
For a true family beach picnic, guests can always get their barbecue feast to go and enjoy it back at the Ocean Reef. Spend your Memorial Day weekend with us and enjoy the beach, BBQ, and the beautiful facilities and amenities at Ocean Reef.