I knocked off another destination from the G&G article when I finally visited Hite’s in West Columbia. I heard about Hite’s a few years ago via Chowhound and it’s only two miles from my office in SC, but they are only open on Friday’s and Saturday’s. Rarely am I in town those days, so I knew where I’d be dining when I realized I would be working there on a recent Friday.
As a side note, I’ve discovered that many of the well known BBQ destinations in SC, often in rural areas, tend to only be open on the weekends, or maybe Thursday through Saturday. Most are not open on Sunday, because it’s the Lord’s day, I presume. Many of the pitmasters don’t cook BBQ full time, they have other means of income and they cook BBQ on the weekends because hell, that’s what their family does.
Below is the pork and hash plate from Hite’s. The hash was very good. In comparison to Dowd’s, and really these aren’t the same at all, it is less stringy, having broken down a bit more, and probably utilizing softer, more gelatinous (think trotters and jowls) parts of the pig. Though, I appreciate the sharp tang of the mustard sauce in the Dowd’s.
The pork was probably the best pork I’ve had in SC to date. Instead of shredding the pork to death, Hite’s offers large chunks of pig permeated with rich wood smoke, then lightly tossed in a mild yellow sauce. I could have used a few fattier pieces tossed into the mix, but this was excellent.
A view out back behind Hite’s, from the picnic tables (no seating inside).
A pint of warm to go.
On the way home the next week I finally decided to stop at another BBQ joint that’s been on my list for while. This time I was stopping off I-20 in Thomson, GA, which isn’t too far into Georgia after passing through Augusta. Neal’s was on my radar due to John Edge’s listing of his top 100 Southern foods for G&G. It’s also on his Southern Belly iPhone application.
I got the plate with hash, pork, potato salad, homemade pickles, and white bread. As you can see, this hash looks a bit more like Brunswick stew. The texture was the softest yet, a heaping portion of greasy and guilty pork bits in a slick tomato based sauce. I thought the pulled pork would be dry based on appearance, but it must have been sitting in a pool of its own juices, as it was moist and flavorful. Neal’s earns bonus points for really good house pickled cauliflower.
Clearly, moving down from Newberry (Dowd’s) to Hite’s (Columbia) and finally on to Neal’s (West of Augusta), you can see the variation of what they all call hash. And as you move South through the midlands, and West over into Georgia, the use of yellow sauce dissipates. I don’t know if this is a direct result of geography and history, or just coincidence, but it’s interesting to me either way.
What hash do I like the best? They are obviously different beasts, but the Dowd’s has been the most interesting to me, with a pepper-specked punch of vinegar and yellow sauce that I have not had before. In terms of texture, you aren’t ever going to try something like the hash at Neal’s, though I prefer the less greasy feel of the hash at Hite’s. If you love stew, Neal’s is what you want. For the highest quality pork used in a hash, go with the Dowd’s.