Monday, July 7, 2014

Located at 1217 Savannah Hwy, next door to The Glass Onion, 
newly opened Swig & Swine is like no other bar-b-q restaurant in Charleston.
Swig & Swine 
creatively renovated an old garage and has used the space wisely.  On one side is a medium sized bar area which offers an extensive drink menu that includes a wide variety of craft beers and bourbons.
The rest of the space holds a large dining room, decorated with painted pallets on the walls  (black pig and cow sillouettes with the cuts of meat labeled in white on each pallet) and a chalkboard with daily specials and sides that covers the wall at one end of the room.  The space is open, airy and cheerful; the seating, both at tables and booths, is comfortable.
All of the wait staff were well informed about the restaurant's offerings.  Clad in t-shirts with comic sayings on the front, ("I like pig butts and I cannot lie" and "We love you long swine") they zoomed around efficiently with metal trays full of pulled pork, beef brisket and smoked turkey.  I tried all three on golden baked buns in the Trio of Meat Slider special.  
The pulled pork was moist and full of smoky flavor, the brisket incredibly 
tender-crispy on the outside, juicy and packed with flavor on the inside.  The smoked turkey, served in thick slices, was easily the best turkey I've ever eaten.  It was moist and tender with just the right amount of smoked aroma and taste.  Smoked pork belly and homemade sausages are also on the menu but we were too full of the other wonderful meats to try them this time!
There are four sauces on each table: a red sauce that is a cross between ketchup and bar-b-q sauce, a mustard based sauce, an Alabama white sauce, mayonaisse based and flavored with horseradish (my favorite) and a vinegar and tomato sauce. 
And now, the sides.  
What can I say about the sides other than that they are little bowls of perfection?  Creamy mac n' cheese (had to have at least 3 cheeses in it), cole slaw with mayo and vinegar, the best potato salad I've ever eaten which was so creamy that it must have contained a ton of sour cream (Not sure about that because I was too busy eating to ask about the ingredients!) and hearty collard greens torn in large pieces, were enjoyed by our table of bar-b-q aficionados.
On our way out of the restaurant, after lunch, we lingered in the outdoor dining area which was quite comfy, with large spool tables, aluminum stools and umbrellas.  At one end of that area was the screened-in bar-b-q cook house, attached to the main restaurant.  Two of the men in our party stood beside it and chatted through the screen with their friendly Chef/Bar-b-q Master as he tended the smoking meat.  
Cooking "Low and Slow" over nothing but wood, he told them that the huge smoker he uses was custom fabricated in North Charleston.  It was crafted almost in the shape of a boat hull, from stainless steel, surrounded by carbon steel, over a ceramic firebox.  It is the quintessential cooker/smoker.  
We will return soon and often, as Swig & Swine serves the best bar-b-q in West Ashley, greater Charleston and possibly the entire Lowcountry.

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