It’s Barbecue Season

Plus: Return of the Greek Festival

By Eva Moore
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 |
South Carolina Barbecue Trail is a listing of 162 barbecue restaurants across South Carolina.
Last weekend, the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism rolled out the South Carolina Barbecue Trail, a listing of 162 barbecue restaurants across South Carolina, all mapped out on Foursquare. (You know what would have been cool? If the barbecue joints were categorized by sauce type, too, so you could plot out, say, a vinegar-based path of your own.) Gov. Nikki Haley announced the launch on her Facebook page.

The agency plans a $1.2 million marketing effort, according to an August story in The State. They’ll target people living within 350 miles of South Carolina. “When you look at all the small mom-and-pop barbecue places ... each one has its own character, its own following, its own little special item — like their recipe for banana pudding,” a department spokesperson told the paper. “We can really have a lot of fun with that.”

The rollout was in good company, as there are several barbecue-related goings-on in Columbia this week.

This Friday, Senate’s End hosts the South Carolina Barbeque Association’s Smoke on the Water barbecue competition. Sixteen teams will compete in the chili and ribs categories, with judging at 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., respectively. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., with live bluegrass all day. During lunch, competitors will serve up samples of homemade chili; in the evening, they’ll be selling ribs. And no worries: You can buy burgers, hot dogs, veggie wraps, fish tacos, fries, salads, barbecue, beer and wine all day long. Admission is free.

Then, the South Carolina State Museum gets in the barbecue game with its Fall Heritage Festival and Pickin’ Party. The festival features four types of barbecue: Midlands mustard-based barbecue from James Hayes; Pee Dee light tomato-based barbecue from Buddy Rogers of Marion; Cheerwine-sauce barbecue from Frank Collins of Mt. Pleasant; and vinegar-and-pepper barbecue from the Pee Dee. The event also marks the kickoff of a new exhibition at the museum; see page 28 for more information. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the new Coble Plaza on the Columbia Canal, just a few steps down from the museum. Admission is free, but you’ve got to pay for the barbecue.

Return of the Greek Festival

Once again — for the 27th time, actually — the Greek Festival is upon us. And that means that once again, Columbians will begin lining up early outside the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church for takeout containers full of Greek delicacies. You can order plates from the lunch and dinner menus — roasted lamb on pasta, baked chicken, etc. — or from the a la carte tables, which feature such favorites as gyros, souvlaki and the all-powerful appetizer plate. (Seriously, the appetizer plate is our favorite, what with the spanakopita and the feta cheese. We really miss that orange zest-flavored sausage they used to serve with it, though. But this year, they’re adding lamb chops, so we’re cool.)

For pastry lovers, the festival is a haven — we’re talking koulourakia (a semi-sweet buttery cookie twist), finikia (a honey-dipped cookie), kourambiedes (crumbly powdered Christmas cookies), baklava, kataïfi (a shredded-phyllo pastry with a spiced nut filling), flogeres (sweet cheese-filled phyllo pastries) and ergolavi (almond cookies).

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Swing by before you hit the Jam Room Music Festival, maybe? Visit columbiasgreekfestival.com for more information.

Let us know what you think: Email food@free-times.com.

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