There is nothing that is inherently elegant about a BBQ restaurant in the South. You won’t normally find a Roasted Pigeon with a Warm Foie Gras Sorbet like you would from the Villa Crespi in Orta, Italy. You won’t find fresh out of the water Langoustines as you would at Bjorn Frantzen in Stockholm, Sweden. You won’t find a $130 Waygu Tomahawk steak like you would at the EDGE restaurant in Colorado. You also won’t find the $115 Red’s Porterhouse at Halls Chophouse in Charleston, South Carolina; but if you travel an hour and 20 minutes Northwest to Orangeburg, South Carolina you will find a place that is worth its weight in gold to anyone who steps through the sticker-laden glass doors. You’ll find that that drive has led you to a place that lays out Southern comfort food at its finest. You’ll find the sweet and sultry taste of their Southern style pulled pork BBQ matched with their South Carolina style sauce, fried chicken, delicious BBQ chicken, fried livers and gizzards, all the fixins’ that you can imagine, and most importantly the hash and rice. The hash was something that I was unsure of when I was first introduced to Dukes BBQ but it is essentially somewhere between a soup and a stew. Despite the taste and texture being different than anything you’ve ever had; over some fluffy white rice it is absolutely delicious. Besides the meat selections you’ll find the Southern comfort food fixins’ on their all-you-can-eat buffet. Delicious macaroni n’ cheese, baked beans, collards, fried okra, fried potatoes, green beans, lima beans, rutabagas, yams, and almost anything that Southern part of your soul desires. The cold bar features homemade banana pudding, macaroni salad, pickled beets, potato salad, slaw and an assortment of pickles. Now pickles may seem like an odd pairing for fried chicken but just trust me; I’ve been down this road before.
Dukes BBQ is a South Carolina staple. After the Dukes recipe came from the Baltzingers who had Carolina BBQ in the mid 20th century, after Dovie Dukes married into the Baltzinger family. Dovie gave the recipe to all of his brothers and sisters, but it was his brother Earl who opened the first Dukes restaurant in 1946 outside of Orangeburg but later moved it into town. My last visit was to this location but all 7 of Earl’s brothers and sisters opened up Dukes restaurants. You won’t find one within a 30 mile radius of their kinfolks restaurant because that was the deal originally set forth by the family. As the years flew by, their children and extended family opened up restaurants and there are currently 14 locations across the state to enjoy the best Southern comfort food that South Carolina has to offer.
Their award winning restaurant has been picked by Southern Living magazine as one of the best BBQ restaurants in the nation, been given Trip Advisors Award of Excellence, was picked as best BBQ Restaurant and best buffet by countless magazines and organizations and has an accolade from this blogger who says that its the best BBQ restaurant in the state of South Carolina. You won’t be disappointed in the ambiance or the old fashion Southern recipes that are always prepared on site. So grab your jacket, pack up your kids, call your friends, and go experience down home, Southern comfort food at its finest. I’ll meet you there.
Inside one of the three corners of the Research Triangle Park in the piedmont region of North Carolina lies a quaint yet legendary southern food restaurant that has been serving Chapel Hill since 1976. Thor had heard of the legend from fan’s of his favorite college football team: The North Carolina Tar Heels. The restaurant has been an after game ritual for many Tar Heel fans and Thor had to experience this himself.
Thor sadly witnessed his beloved Tar Heels lose at the hands of the much-loathed Duke Blue Devils; so he and his fellow Tar Heel Fans were in need of some food that would bring happiness to tattered hearts. It was a good thing that Thor was within walking distance of Mama Dips. The southern food restaurant was waiting with open arms to greet the defeated Tar Heel fans and the smell of their home made sweet potato biscuits permeated the air as they walked through the door. Thor ordered their juicy fried chicken and as many fixings as he could imagine. The delicious home cooked taste warmed his heart and refueled his Godly body. Thor devoured his meal and two baskets of those delicious smelling sweet potato biscuits which he liberally slathered with butter.
After his meal was disposed of, his waitress brought forth a platter of deserts to assuage the sweet tooth that he thought could never be satisfied. Upon his request the chocolate pecan pie covered with a heavy dollop of vanilla ice cream satisfied any assuaged sweet tooth. An opportunity to experience such stupefyingly delectable fare brought joy to his defeated heart and made the Tar Heels defeat taste a little better in his mouth. He flew back to Asgard to tell his brethren of the goodness that he had experienced at Mama Dips. He knew that he would return as soon as his next group of adventures relented and allowed him the free time to wander his beloved Earth realm once more.
Thor was called to wield Mjolnir into action due to one of his compatriots trying to steal his sweet potato biscuits.
So upon Thor’s many escapades on Earth, Captain America had introduced him to a human Country musician and pop culture icon, Johnny Cash. He listened to his music and had learned a lot about the Southern culture during his adventures in North and South Carolina, so off he went to Nashville, TN. He flew in first to Hendersonville, TN to pay his respects to Johnny and his wife June Carter Cash in their final Earthly resting place at the Hendersonville Memorial Gardens.
After Thor had paid his respects to the Man in Black, he flew off to Music Row to see the sights and hear the sounds. The streets are crowded and the hustling tourists push past Thor as he takes in the Tennessee town’s tantalizing attractions. The neon lights of downtown Nashville shined brighter than the July summer sun and Thor thought that this town was turning out to be one of the most interesting towns in all of the Nine Realms. The humans on Midgard had brought aspects of different aspects of the musical stylings that lived in the town; as well as appreciated the artist integrity of the town.
Thor was beginning to feel a god-sized hunger take hold of his body and asked a local Midgardian about a quintessential Nashville establishment and was reassured of the validity of one of Nashville’s most famous delicacies: hot chicken. He struck out towards the world famous Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. The James Beard Award-winning restaurant is in a small strip mall on Ewing Dr in Nashville but the exterior is merely a false facade for what delicious deep-fried poultry are slovenly plunked down upon a piece of white loaf bread and topped with a bread-and-butter pickle. Thor stood in the line that meandered around the small restaurant but was greeted with a smile by the cashier taking the orders. He didn’t order the hottest chicken that he could because he had heard rumors of their face melting spices. He placed his order and waited patiently as his mouth salivated. The anticipation was about to climax and Thor was beginning to lose his patience when his number was finally called. He sat down at the cloth covered table to begin his meal. The bouquet of spices permeated the air; so he dug in. The delicious chicken was only highlighted by the seasoning that was almost massaged into Prince’s award winning poultry. All was right with the world. Even though the spices burned his tongue, the flavor continued his brain to allow him to take in another morsel.
Before he knew it, the chicken and sides were gone. His plate was left with just the picked and dissected carcass; and he decided to continue on his adventure through the town. He meandered through the streets and took in the beautiful architecture that highlighted the people’s beautiful disposition.
Thor is a busy god. One day he’s out fighting the Clone Ragnarok with the Hulk on Planet Hulk after recapturing his conniving brother Loki back into prison only after meeting up with Jane for a date on the French Riviera. Thor needs a vacation. But not just any vacation will do for our blonde hair future king of Asgard. Nay nay. We need a vacation fit for a king. Thor walks to the end of the Rainbow Bridge and Heimdall knows exactly where Thor should go.
Thor lands down in Cherokee, NC amongst the beautiful trees of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He takes a breath of fresh air and starts to take in his surroundings. He travels to the Museum of the Cherokee Indian to learn about the history of the people who live in this area. He walks through the streets and sees the shops but as we all know, Thor’s biggest enemy is his stomach. He has to find food fast and sees the Kobe Express of Cherokee and Thor tastes some of the most delicious sushi that he has ever had in his life.
He fills his barren belly and sees a large building in the distance. He gets closer to find that it is the Harrah’s Cherokee Hotel and Casino. He enters the facility after booking a room and tries his luck at the video slot machines. As Thor is an intelligent creature, he is angered when he does not win but he is relentless. Thor continues on and finds himself at the card tables and just strikes even. Thor realizes that he is hungry again and his card dealer tells him about the grand Chef’s Stage Buffet.
Thor stuffs himself with steak, seafood, and everything else that his hunger could desire.
He walks himself back to his luscious motel room in the Soco Tower and relaxes on the comfortable queen sized bed.
He awakens to begin his day again and finds his way to the breakfast buffet where he instructs the chef that he should probably bring out another pan of bacon. As he stares out the window at the beautiful stream that flows beside the hotel, he doesn’t think he ever wants to leave.
When Thor returned to Asgard from his journey to Topsail Beach, he stood upon the Rainbow bridge and beckoned to Heimdall to use his all-seeing eyes to see what beautiful location that had plentiful amounts of delicious food would be. Heimdall just smiled and told Thor to enjoy his time in the Holy City.
Thor was shocked to find himself on Broad St. in front of the almost 300 year old St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Thor looked upon the oldest surviving religious structure with a smile but his gaze was distracted by the smell of fresh rock shrimp that were sizzling beside a plate of crispy calamari. Thor all but runs to Hanks Seafood Restaurant to experience the delicious seafood prepared by Chef Frank McMahon. Thor decides to try the Local Clams simmered in white wine, garlic, olive oil and fresh herbs.
After he has sopped the last of the delicious liquid from the bottom of his plate, he knows that he must walk down a little further from St. Michael’s church to McCrady’s Restaurant. Sean Brock melds techniques of American cuisine mixed with his culinary genius to transform high quality, fresh ingredients. The restaurant is located in Charleston’s first tavern which was built in 1771. Thor felt right at home when he sat down to probe deeper into the ever changing menu. He decides to grace his pallet with grilled swordfish caught fresh from South Carolina waters.
As he finishes his meal and his last sip of his Knob Creek bourbon, he knew that it was time to find dessert. Thor was thoroughly impressed with Sean Brock’s first restaurant that he knew that he had to visit McCrady’s sister restaurant Husk. The ever changing menus at McCrady’s and Husk represent the ever changing fresh ingredients that are available; so Thor knew that whatever was on the menu would be delicious but he wanted to satisfy his sweet tooth. The Lemon Pound Cake with cream cheese mousse was just that item. The large piece of Lemon Pound Cake paired with the Knob Creek 100 proof rye satisfied his Asgardian appetite.
Thor walked onto Queen St and walked the streets of Charleston, enjoying the beautiful sites. After a while, he then knew that it was time to journey back to his Asgardian home. Thor just nodded his head in thanks to Heimdall as he walks out of the Bifrost. He had experienced another one of Earth’s beautiful wonders.
Even Superhero gods need vacations from time to time. This week on Thor’s Thursday Tour, Thor visits one of the most beautiful beaches in the south and the future king of Asgard brought along his appetite and his surf board.
Thor flew to the 26-mile long barrier island (consisting of the communities of North Topsail Beach, Surf City and Topsail Beach) located on the east coast of North Carolina on a warm sunny day. Thor stuck his surf board down into the sand and mentally prepared himself to welcome the waves. He surfs the beautifully breaking waves of the Surf City beach and finally walks away from the ocean with a smile on his face. The surfing has caused a hunger to rise in his belly, so he is off to find the best food on the island. He asks a fellow surfer if she had any suggestions as to where he should eat and she told him to walk the short distance to Max’s Pizza.
Thor strolls through the door of the restaurant and occupied his chosen seat. He is welcome by a friendly waitress and to fill his endless appetite he tells her to bring him the three most delicious things on the menu. Within minutes, a hand tossed pepperoni and mushroom pizza; chicken wings, and a steak and mushroom sub are placed before him beside his sweet tea. He takes his time and enjoys each ranch dressing dipped morsel. He strolls out of the restaurant, that has been surfing delicious Italian Food for over 30 years, with a larger smile on his face.
He decides to make the most of the day. He takes a walk on the Surf City Pier to enjoy the views and to contemplate the Avengers and all the problems of the Universe. The minutes of relaxation turn to hours and is met by the bellowing roar of his sweet tooth. Someone on the pier directs him to Island Delights. Thor orders some ice cream and he is relaxed but it is time for his mini-vacation to end. He slings his mighty hammer into the sky, completely satisfied with his day spent on the beautiful North Carolina coast.