Rodney Scott is James Beard award winner for best chef Southeast and a whole hog pit master in Charleston, South Carolina. He's been the proud owner of Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ since 2017. Pitmaster Rodney Scott and his friend, Nick Pihakis opened the BBQ joint based on their shared respect for the time and technique it takes to make great BBQ. Before Scott put whole hog barbecue on the map, it was a dying art. Rodney Scott's BBQ revitalized whole hog cooking. He hopes to keep it a strong staple for generations to come.
Whole hog BBQ style is nothing but hard work. The wood comes in fresh from the Pee Dee region's trees and crews have to haul in the lumber and watch the pits for 12 hours. It's as hot as a sauna in the pits and workers are often dripping with sweat. The work is dangerous as well. The hogs are cooked with their fat intact, which can cause a flare-up if someone isn't careful. Chef Rodney Scott puts in the work to keep this tradition alive.
Rodney Scott BBQ: The Beginning
Rodney Scott grew up in a small town in the Pee Dee regions of South Carolina, after leaving his birthplace in Philadelphia. His entire community was very poor and many residents left the area for better opportunities. Even though he was faced with a lot of negativity, he remained optimistic. His favorite saying, which is now on the back of his restaurant's t-shirts is, "Every day is a good day."
As a child, his parents Ella and Rosie Scott owned a farm with vegetables and hogs. Every year around the holidays his family would slaughter their hog and smoke it. That was commonplace in the town. Scott's parent's owned Scott's Variety Store and Bar-B-Q, which was half gas station, half dry goods store. His parents opened the family business In Hemingway in 1972. Scott remembers getting to cook his first hog at 11 years old. His father Roosevelt's hogs became so popular that they now smoke 8 hours a day.
In 2009, John T. Edge profiled the business and with it, the popularity grew. Rodney took over the pits in 2011. In 2016, Pihakis, a regular customer told Scott he was undercharging for his barbecue. Pihakis and Scott became quick friends and decided to leave the family business and partner to open Rodney's own barbecue restaurant.
Rodney Scott BBQ Today
Rodney Scott's restaurants are most known for their South Carolina-style whole hog BBQ. At his restaurants he sells pulled pork, fried catfish, vinegar barbecue sauce, smoked chicken, chicken wings, and pork skins. His sides include coleslaw, potato salad, Mac 'n cheese, hush puppies, collard greens, and baked beans. There's even banana pudding for dessert. The menu is a much needed expansion from the original Scott's Bar B-Q.
In 2019, he expanded his restaurant to Birmingham, Alabama. A third location is set to open in Atlanta in summer 2021. In 2020 he was featured in Netflix's "Chef's Table". Rodney Scott isn't slowing down, and thankfully he keeps the whole hog tradition alive and well.
Products featured on Wide Open Eats are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.