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Lewis Barbecue - Charleston SC

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    Lewis Barbecue - Charleston SC

    Google lists Lewis Barbecue as "Texas-style house-smoked meats served in an industrial-hip space with a bar & outdoor tables." This really under-represents this place.

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    The wait was nearly nonexistant. There were maybe 6 or 8 folks in line ahead of us but they had 2 spots to place orders so we waited about 2 minutes total. I didn't know it at the time, but John Lewis himself was cutting meat and taking our orders. Tall, thin, very polite and patient, black framed glasses. Sort of an Aaron Franklin vibe. Makes sense, as he's originally from Texas too. Order as much or as little of anything, they weight it and plop it neatly on your tray. "Plates" are simply sections of pink butcher paper. They ask how many's in your party, and they rip off that many slices of paper.

    I ordered 1lb brisket, 1lb ribs, and 1/2 lb pulled pork. For sides- mac 'n cheese, tater salad and fries.

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    Brisket was super tender, almost too tender, but the slices held up. I ordered fatty and wasn't disappointed. PERFECT saltiness. I could've handled more pepper spice, but the rub was a great wide audience pleaser. My mom who doesn't care for smoked meats raved, she thought it was excellent. I didn't expect her to like the place so much.

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    Ribs were full spares, sliced into long single bones at order. The flavor had a slight vinegar vibe going on, assuming from a baste. Not what I expected, but delicious. They were edging more toward fall-apart than gentle tug, but held their shape until tackled by the tooth and overall were great. My dad raved about the ribs.

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    Pulled pork was fantastic. Less smoke & bark than my homemade stuff (assuming because they cook large butts whole), but the texture and overall flavor was awesome.

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    The fries are unique. Sorta spirally wedges cut thick but perfectly crisp and tasty. Honorable mention to the fries!

    Mac 'n cheese was quite rich, too much for me. I wonder if they use Monterray jack cheese. I am a big Mac 'n cheese fan, but this wasn't my favorite. My son loved it though.

    I didn't get to sample the tater salad, it was gone in a hurry. I take this to mean my family loved it enough to eat it all before I could.

    They serve the meat on a single tray, on pink butcher paper, with [what seemed like] homemade dill pickle chips, pickled onion, ( <-- these two for color certainly, but also were quite tasty) and white bread slices.

    There's a separate smoker house, similar to what you may have seen at Franklin BBQ in Austin, with 4 huge stickburners going inside. I didn't ask for a tour or anything.

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    LOTS of seating, both indoor and out in a well laid out outdoor patio area with lots of lighting and a friendly neighborhood cat. We ate outside since it was a nice 70 degree day. Classic country played over the speakers in the outdoor area, much to my dad's delight. I too like classic country and it was a nice change over the modern hip hop crap that every other restaurant plays all. the. time. [eyeroll]

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    There's also a separate bar room with several more seats. The 2 pics above show the bar room in the background, you walk through that to get into the main dining and ordering area (far background), which itself is quite large I thought. I walked up to the bar to order drinks, both adult and root beers for the kids, and the young gentleman at the bar was very friendly and gave me a tray to bring the drinks out on.

    All in all a 9.5/10. Why not a 10 you ask? Because a 10 indicates perfection and I have yet to meet perfection, but this was SO close! The only reason I knocked a 1/2 pt off was because I could think of a couple small tweaks to make it perfect in my personal opinion, but this is simply me being picky, no real flaws here at all. I can tell this fella loves his craft and is great at it. I would wholeheartedly recommend Lewis Barbecue to anyone. I've never eaten at Franklin, but I suspect the brisket is darn close if not the same.


    The aftermath. My family of 5 was pleasantly full and we still had mac 'n cheese to take home. Best $92-ish (plus drinks) I've spent in ages. Fantastic BBQ.

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    One of the mobile smokers in the parking lot, wood locker behind it.

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    #2
    They had a "time" transporting the pits from Texas. Think they had a blowout on a trailer before Houston.

    Comment


    • Huskee
      Huskee commented
      Editing a comment
      For real? I need to look up this story.

    #3
    Huskee

    That mobile smoker looks like one of those ballistic missiles on parade in North Korea!

    Thanks for posting!

    Comment


      #4
      Great write up. Looks like some excellent Q right there!

      Comment


        #5
        Again great right up.
        Lewis, on my bucket list.

        Comment


        • Huskee
          Huskee commented
          Editing a comment
          Worth it as a bucket list item!

        #6
        When i went to charleston for some phish shows i made sure to hit up lewis. We walked there from downtown which turned out to be a very good move since we really needed the walk afterwards since we were so stuffed.

        love that place and will def go back if i find myself there again.

        Awesome write up.

        Comment


          #7
          Great write-up!

          Comment


            #8
            Thanx again - great write-up.

            Comment


              #9
              Great review, love the pic of the smoker. That thing is a beast!

              Comment


              • Huskee
                Huskee commented
                Editing a comment
                I couldn't help but fantasize about it being in my own yard. It'sright near the outdoor patio area where we ate

              #10
              Great write up, Boss. That place looks awesome. Sounds and looks like the food was incredible.

              Comment


              • Huskee
                Huskee commented
                Editing a comment
                Indeed!

              #11
              Looks delicious! Now I just need to justify a business trip to Charleston sometime. Lewis got his start at Franklin's and then opened La Barbecue with LeAnn Mueller and those two places are easily the best brisket I have from a restaurant so I can assume the brisket there is right on par with those two places.

              I kick myself I never really made it up that direction when I lived in Jacksonville.

              Comment


              • Huskee
                Huskee commented
                Editing a comment
                Cool! I have yet to really look up his bio, didn't know La Barbecue was his place.

              • JonnyB
                JonnyB commented
                Editing a comment
                La Barbecue isn't his, but he was pitmaster there before opening his own place there in SC. There's like a Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon thing going on there. Aaron Franklin worked for John Mueller at his first BBQ place in Austin for awhile. John is the brother of LeAnn and Wayne Mueller, who now runs Louie Muellers Barbecue in Taylor, Tx. Aaron bought his first pit from John when he went out of business. John Lewis worked for Aaron and then went to work for LeAnn Mueller at La Barbecue.

              • JonnyB
                JonnyB commented
                Editing a comment
                This is the article that helped Aaron explode onto the national BBQ scene. This was 2012.
                It was the first time I had ever heard of him, and its an excellent article. Goes pretty deep on his history.

                https://www.texasmonthly.com/food/of-meat-and-men/

              #12
              Lewis is why I can't stick to any kind of new year's resolution!

              Rodney Scott's for ribs and pulled pork ain't half bad either if you're still in town...

              Comment


              • Huskee
                Huskee commented
                Editing a comment
                Alas, we left SC Saturday. You're the 3rd or 4th to recommend Scott's though, we just couldn't make it happen this time but we want to make this an annual getaway so hopefully next time!

              • BourBonQ
                BourBonQ commented
                Editing a comment
                Huskee in that case, a pilgrimage to Scott's original BBQ shack in Hemingway is in order for your next trip to the lowcountry. And maybe a stop at Sweatman's in Holly Hill.

              • Huskee
                Huskee commented
                Editing a comment
                BourBonQ indeed! I'll give you notice if we go again next year maybe we can meet up for a beer, or a bourbon

              #13
              Great write-up! I’ll be sure to hit Lewis on my next trip to Charlestown!

              Comment


                #14
                I love Charleston but am somewhat surprised a Texas guy and is 'cue showed up on the scene. Glad to see further Lone Star invasions, nice write up Aaron.

                Comment


                  #15
                  Interestingly enough I was flipping through my phone and they posted an article on Goggle, Best BBQ Joint Per State. Now normally I would pass on such a ridiculous, biased, and totally subjective writing but the cover picture was none other than Lewis BBQ in Charleston (with of course that named as the best in SC). I thought that was a little bit of kismet for sure.

                  Comment


                  • Huskee
                    Huskee commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Cool! I have zero doubts that it can and will be as reputable as Franklin. Not being the synonymous-with-beef-BBQ state of Texas it may take longer, but the service, the food, the establishment itself, everything was top notch. If Lewis BBQ were a reasonable driving distance from me, I would be fat and broke and lose my fire-tending skills. This much is true.

                  • Troutman
                    Troutman commented
                    Editing a comment
                    This may put Charleston back on my radar listing. I haven't been there since the 90's but remember its charm and especially its seafood. Add some well crafted Texas style bbq and it becomes an instant destination for me.

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