South Carolina is the buckle in the barbecue belt. In spending time with these unique characters of Carolina, Robert Clark captured their special craft as well as their Carolina traditions that give this state worldwide recognition for the best barbecue.
Brice Cannon, of Cannon’s BBQ in Little Mountain, has been cooking barbeque for more than 50 years. He originally learned from his father and now works with his brother and wife in their restaurant off of Highway 76 in Little Mountain. His specialty is pork ribs — cooked over wood smoke and steamed. Brice cooks with no sauce but has sauce available and prefers a big iron cooker, where he cooks over coals for 12 hours. He starts cooking on Wednesday morning and serves Thursday through Saturday. His favorite wood is Blackjack Oak because he achieves the best coals from this wood.
David Hite, of Hites Bar-b-Que in West Columbia, is a native of Lexington and has been cooking barbeque for about 15 years. The meat is cooked in an open pit covered with metal sheets for at least 12 hours. His favorite sauce is a sweet mustard sauce. Hites Bar-b-Que is pick up only — their meat is pulled off the bones and mixed with sauce at the time of packing. David got into barbeque by helping his father cook and took over the business a few years ago.
Jackie Hite, of Jackie Hites Barbecue, carries on his family’s tradition and has been cooking for 44 years in Batesburg-Leesville. Their specialty is pork and chicken cooked over an open pit with hickory wood. They smoke the meat for more than 20 hours starting on Wednesday mornings. They use mustard-based sweet sauce on pork, chicken and ribs. They prefer to cook in open pits, which are cinder blocks built with coals underneath to smoke the meat and chicken. The wood and meat they use are obtained locally in the Batesburg-Leesville area.