Image by Ken Hawkins/Staff
One of the great things about being in Charleston is that there's no shortage of really great pulled pork to be had.
Read more stories on this subject in our BBQ topic page.Open for about two months, the Smoky Oak Taproom on James Island certainly holds it own, but what pushes over the edge to make them shine is their beer list. Yes, while good BBQ can be had in many corners of town, it's hard to have a beer with said BBQ, much less a good beer.
Sporting 16 types of beer on tap, the spot doesn't leave you wanting. The list offers beers including Athens' Terrapin Rye Ale, Rj Rocker's from Spartanburg, and more classic ones like Guinness and Stella.
Their menu also offers a solid selection of bottled beer and a wide menu with options from Beer Can Chicken (where the chicken is roasted with beer,) to pizza, wings, salads and so on. Most hover in the $7 to $10 range.
But back to the main item: the restaurant's self-declared "Best Naked BBQ in Town." Depending on where you want to draw the lines of said "town," they've got a real case. The BBQ was moist and had a good natural flavor without to many of the more gristly parts making their way in.
As pairing with the naked pork they, offer four sauces served in the classic plastic squeeze bottles: Carolinas Mustard, Red Rib Sauce, Chipotle, and Wilber's Hopped Up Vinegar. I've never had much of a taster for red sauces, but all were flavorful and none garish (oh, I've had some awful sauce before.) I've also had better, but all were respectable if a tad on the sweet side for my palate.
My pulled pork came by way of the "regular" $8 plate ($11 large.) Both come with two sides and cornbread. I tried the hash with rice and onion rings.
The pulled pork was the best of the bunch with the hash being a good consistency and well seasoned. The onion rings were respectable but far shy of Melvin's legendary status.
We were a geeky table of three that spent a long while at the table and our waitress remained attentive and friendly -- even after we had her post-split our check.
Verdict? Good, and I'd go back in a heartbeat. It's a great spot to get your BBQ fix and have a couple beers with friends. It's an even better spot if someone in your group doesn't care for pork.
They're at 1234 Camp Road (that's just next to the strip mall with James Island town hall.) They offer a happy hour from 4 to 7, Monday through Friday.