Category / On The Road


Charleston Brown Water Society TX-SC BBQ Invitational

Charleston-TX-01-CookingBrisketByMoonlightI’m still documenting my summer fun and one of my favorite barbecue trips involved  the Charleston Brown Water Society SC-TX Barbecue Invitational at Holy City Brewing.

John Lewis of La Barbecue, the top-ranked barbecue in Austin, TX, accompanied by fellow Texans Robert Sierra and Emma and Travis Heim, traveled from Austin to cook brisket and beef ribs alongside famed South Carolina whole hog wizard Rodney Scott.

Above is John, with Travis looking on, cooking briskets by moonlight.

Charleston-TX-02-RodneyBurnBarrelThe ritual of prepping and cooking barbecue is my favorite part of an event. Here’s Rodney’s burn barrel, just before firing it up …

Charleston-TX-03-PilesOfOakwith this pile of hewn oak, hauled from his hometown of Hemingway South Carolina.

Charleston-TX-04-LightingWithBeefFatWe lit the fire with Texas butcher paper dipped in beef fat from John’s pit. A true collaborative effort.

Charleston-TX-05-FanningFlamesIt took a lot of fanning to get the fire going.

Charleston-TX-06-SmolderingPigsAfter prepping the hogs, they were put on the pit to smoke and smolder through the night …

Charleston-TX-07-MoreCoals… with more coals shoveled on as necessary

Charleston-TX-08-98YearOldWhiskeyOf course, the good stuff always happens after midnight. We took swigs out of this bottle of 98 year-old whiskey that Jed Portman brought out for the occasion. This is Dan Latimer, CBWS founding member and head puppeteer of the Husk/McCrady’s/soon to be Minero empire.

Charleston-TX-09-SimpleMenuThe day’s simple menu written on butcher paper.

Charleston-TX-10-IceLugeThe carved ice luge saw some action throughout the party.

Charleston-TX-11-BagOfCrabsChef BJ Dennis brought a bag crabs to cook for us. BJ is revered for his Gullah/Geechee cuisine.

Charleston-TX-12-CrabsWatching Robert’s reaction to those crabs, especially when the bag was dropped and some escaped, was pretty amusing. You’re not in Texas anymore, Robert!

Charleston-TX-13-CheckingThePigsThe Texas contingent up close and personal with Rodney and the hogs.

Charleston-TX-14-PilesOfBeefTravis  and John posing with piles of wrapped beef ribs.

Charleston-TX-15_RodneyCheckingHogsThe master: Rodney checking the hogs just prior to pulling them off the pit.

Charleston-TX-16-PullingRodneysPorkLoved spending time with Angel Postell, Hometeam PR girl extraordinaire. We had lots of time to chat as we teamed up to pull the pork.

Charleston-TX-17-OneDownOne carcass down.

Charleston-TX-18-NotMessingAroundThese Charleston Brown Water Society boys are not messing around. This was their private stash.

Charleston-TX-19_BestShirtHusk bar manager Robert Weaver ha the best t-shirt at the barbecue. Hands down.

Charleston-TX-20-PlateOfFoodPlate of delicious food. Sides by BJ Dennis.

Charleston-TX-21-HometeamBBQHanging with the Hometeam BBQ boys, Aaron and Taylor, was a highlight.

Charleston-TX-22-NewBestieNew bestie, Craig Nelson from Proof. If you’re ever in Charleston, you must sit at his bar and marvel at the precision and care he takes with his cocktails.

Charleston-TX-23-HolyCityBreweryJT Stellenmach from Holy City Brewing with the Texas contingent: Emma and Travis Heim, John Lewis, Becca DuPree, and Robert Sierra.

Charleston-TX-24-SamAmyRodneyJohnBarbecue family: Sam Jones, me, Rodney, and John.

Charleston-TX-25-ThisIsBBQNow THIS is barbecue. Great shot of a great time.

Charleston-TX-26-JedRodneyAmyDanJed Portman of Garden & Gun, Rodney, me, and Dan Latimer celebrating at the end of the event.

This event was magic. Holy City Brewing was such a gracious host, providing late morning yoga, great beer, a place to watch the World Cup, and the perfect spot for 300 guests to comfortably gather enjoy great food. Highwire Distillery, Charleston Distilling, and Six & Twenty Distilling sampled their wares and King of Pops distributed an array of refreshing, inventively flavored popsicles. While the pace of prepping barbecue for the lines was a bit rapid at times, the overall pace of the day was relaxed, and the guests were so appreciative of the food, libations, and fun. Heartfelt thanks to Robert Donovan, Eric Doksa, Dan Latimer, Robert Moss, Craig Nelson, Jed Portman, Roderick Weaver, Bear Barrow, and the entire CBWS and Holy City Brewing crews for their hospitality, hard work, and good cheer. Can’t wait to do it again!

Special thanks to Robert Donovan Photography for the use of some of his photos. 

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Charleston Dining & Fun

CharlestonDining-1_MarthaLousIn mid-July, I traveled to Charleston to try some new restaurants and attend a barbecue event. Recently named the top travel destination by Travel & Leisure magazine, Charleston has a burgeoning food scene and so many good restaurants. I met up with a group of new and old Charleston and Texas friends, and we had an array of amazing dining experiences.

We started off with soul food at Martha Lou’s. Fried chicken, mac and cheese, butter beans {my favorite} and other vegetables, and chitterlings. The Texas contingent is pictured above: Robert Lerma, Robert Sierra, and John Lewis with Martha Lou Gadsden and Ms. Debra on the left, and Emma and Travis Heim on the right.

CharlestonDining-2_RobertSierraRobert Sierra and me, with a Robert Lerma photo bomb.

CharlestonDining-3_HomeTeamBBQ“Let’s be incognito,” I said to Robert Lerma, as we entered Hometeam BBQ. That didn’t work out so well as we were instantly greeted by name  and treated like royalty. We’ve been Instagram friends for a few years and I loved seeing their operation in person.

CharlestonDining-4_HomeTeamBBQThey cook on both Lang and Southern Pride pits.

CharlestonDining-5_HomeTeamBBQHere’s owner/pitmaster Aaron Siegel, showing off some pork bellies.

CharlestonDining-6_HomeTeamBBQThe trays of food just kept coming. These pork rinds, dusted with their dry rub, and served with pimiento cheese were crazy good.

CharlestonDining-7_HomeTeamBBQThe Gamechanger is my new favorite frozen cocktail. Golden spiced rum, dark rum, cream of coconut, and pineapple and orange juices.

CharlestonDining-8_HomeTeamBBQFresh, lightly battered fried okra. Great.

CharlestonDining-9_HomeTeamBBQBrisket, beef ribs, house made pickles. So good.

CharlestonDining-10_HomeTeamBBQAnd of course, the requisite Fireball shots.

CharlestonDining-11_TwoBoroughsLarderA leisurely Saturday morning brunch at the charming Two Boroughs Larder was a treat.

CharlestonDining-12_TwoBoroughsLarderLove the design of this tiny space.

CharlestonDining-13_TwoBoroughsLarderFresh, delicious food and breakfast cocktails.

CharlestonDining-14_DellzJuiceI worked in hot power yoga and fresh green juice at Dellz Vibez twice during this visit. The Charleston Power Yoga is small and has a number of classes each day. The ones I attended were Baptiste in style and quick flow. Great instructors and nice people. Dellz Vibez is just a few doors down, and both are located on Upper King Street.

CharlestonDining-15_LeonsLeon’s Poultry & Oyster Shop opened in April and it was high on my list of new places to try. I love everything about restaurant design in Charleston – from well-designed logos/menus/signage to old spaces that incorporate reclaimed materials. This former paint and body shop has been transformed into a cleverly designed space with vintage and repurposed details, exposed beams, and a variety of textures and finishes. The food is as sexy as the space.

CharlestonDining-16_LeonsWe ordered all of the oysters … fresh, chargrilled, and Rockefeller — and we enjoyed them all, especially the chargrilled platter.

CharlestonDining-17_LeonsSiam slaw – napa cabbage, avocado, peanuts, orange, fried shallots, and fresh herbs … hush puppies with honey butter … fried chicken … and corn …

CharlestonDining-18_LeonsThe corn on the cob was a highlight. Brushed with mayonnaise and rolled in fried shallots, cheese, and herbs. Savory and bursting with flavor.

CharlestonDining-19_EdmundsOastNext up was a memorable late afternoon at  Edmund’s Oast, with their outstanding selection of beer and libations and charcuterie.

CharlestonDining-20_EdmundsOastWe chose to drink pink.

CharlestonDining-22_EdmundsOastAnd eat only vegetables. These fried heirloom carrots with yogurt and pistachios were my favorite.

CharlestonDining-23_EdmundsOastDessert for two. Of course, we had room for a small taste of these moist, dense brownies with Italian meringue, graham cracker crumble, and salted sorghum caramel.

CharlestonDining-21_EdmundsOastFunny dessert cocktail.

CharlestonDining-24_ProofOnMainWe spent several evenings at Proof, a chic, sexy cocktail bar on upper King Street. Owner Craig Nelson, mixologist extraordinaire, crafts impeccable cocktails, delivered with a flourish and a lesson.

CharlestonDining-25_ProofOnMainVida mezcal, Reyes ancho chile liquor, agave shrub, and a bread and butter jalapeño wrapped in orange peel.

CharlestonDining-26_ProofOnMainI’ll have to update with the description … I totally lost track as cocktail after cocktail was set in front of me. Craig?

CharlestonDining-27_ProofOnMainThe tall glasses are Reverb, Proof Gin & Tonic, a few shots of Fernet Branca, for good measure, and the remains of the previous drinks.

CharlestonDining-28_ProofOnMainMore of the gang whooping it up at Proof: Robert Strickland, Craig Nelson, Jed Portman, and Eric Doksa. Thanks, guys, for a most memorable trip!

Read more about my Charleston adventures, including an amazing meal at Husk.

Follow our adventures in real time on Instagram and Twitter.
See lots of branding, restaurant design, entertaining, and barbecue ideas on our Pinterest boards.
And we post fun things on Facebook, too!