Rodney Scott we love you and your pulled pork, but we must concede the star of yesterday’s SC-TX BBQ Invitational was clearly John Lewis of Austin, Texas’ La Barbecue. The man’s beef brisket was O-face-inducingly good (I saw more than one pair of eyes roll back into eaters' heads). And the pit master’s presence was all thanks to the members of Charleston Brown Water Society (CBWS), whose Holy City Brewing hoedown came off smokingly well, despite intermittent rain threats.
We rolled up right at the start time of 3 p.m. to capitalize on optimum meat-eating only to find a line already formed. But there was no meat available yet. Although Scott, Lewis, and team had been working since the wee hours, a solid 30 minutes of polish was left to complete their proteins. So we opted for a Holy City Washout Wheat and a bite of B.J. Dennis’ tasty sides, including his potato salad served via ice cream scoop.
As the smell of Lewis’ brisket and secret sausage (not a euphemism, the man is clandestine in regard to his recipes) hit the buffet, the crowd swelled into a circle; a veritable whirlpool of finger-licking frenzy. The salty smacking of gums was sated with pulls from Charleston Distilling Co., High Wire Distilling Co., and Powderville’s Six & Twenty Distillery.
Meanwhile in the VIP CBWS tent, the bourbon nerds pulled out the good stuff — or so we’re told. We weren’t privy to the private goings-on inside the couch-bedecked pergola (as one chef has commented, CBWSers are like Freemasons). However, we did hear a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 15 year was shared between members. In what ritualistic form, we can only image. (Baptism by firewater?)
World Cup enthusiasts got their fill too, watching the match inside the brewery. As we all know Deutschland took home top honors, but we think the afternoon prize belonged to the sacrificed cow(s) and pigs who made yesterday’s fete so damn good.