It’s no secret that Columbia SC has great BBQ, but the fixings, sauces and sides, along with the restaurant’s vibe and the days they are open may help you narrow down the perfect spot in your quest for ‘cue.  

Classic Buffet 

 If you like your helpings heaping and a sample of everything on the menu, a good old-fashioned buffet is for you. A few to try: 

Doc’s Barbeque: Over a dozen sides line the buffet, including collard greens and macaroni and cheese. They also have fried chicken and five other main dishes (in addition to barbecue!) on the buffet, along with banana pudding and cobbler for dessert. Open for lunch Saturday-Monday.  

Shealy’s Bar-B-Que: Located in Lexington County’s Batesburg-Leesville, Shealy’s serves up daily specials in addition to barbecue, fried chicken, Southern-style veggies, salad and desserts on the buffet. Lunch and dinner. Closed Wednesdays and Sundays.  

Little Pigs Barbeque: Their extensive buffet in Northeast Columbia has everything from coleslaw to wings, but do yourself a favor and listen to the menu here. Get your fill for lunch on Wednesdays and Sundays or lunch + dinner Thursday-Saturday. 

Grab & Go Goodness 

Maybe it’s a drive through on the way to the big game or a lunch time takeout fix. This is the way to go when you’re on the go: 

Hite’s Bar-B-Que House: This weekend warrior is open Fridays and Saturdays with slow pit-cooked barbecue for tasty takeout. Try a sandwich or plate to-go for under $10 or call ahead to feed the whole crowd. 

Big T Bar-B-Que: Dine in or carry out for pit-cooked pork, beef or chicken served with hash and rice and veggies. The prices are affordable, and the portions are plentiful. Locations and Garners Ferry (Southeast) and Northeast Columbia.  

Maurice’s Piggie Park: Takeout and online ordering is available at the 9 Columbia area locations, but if you have a hankering when you’re outside the heart of South Carolina, you can have their barbecue shipped to you! Hours vary by location. 

New School, Old Soul 

These spots may not have been around for quarter century just quite yet, but the recipes have stood the test of time. 

Railroad BBQ: The clever names of the menu items (The Passenger, The John Henry, The Tubman)  and the nod to history on the walls along with the classic recipes give this newer spot a soulful feel. Plan to dine in and soak in the atmosphere while enjoying this spot that is welcoming to all. Wednesday-Sunday. 

The Pot Smoker: You can’t walk by without being pulled inside by mouth-watering aroma that permeates the air near this must-try spot in Columbia’s Vista where the dishes are made with love.  Whether you choose the pulled pork, brisket, chicken or ribs, you are sure to leave a happy camper. There’s an affordable kids’ menu, too. Monday-Saturday. 

‘Cue and Cocktails 

If you prefer table-side service and lingering over a craft cocktail, you can fancy up your BBQ dining experience at these spots: 

Home Team BBQ: In addition to a sauce extravaganza including Red, Sweet Red, Hot Red, Pepper Vinegar, Carolina Mustard, Alabama White and HT Hot Sauce, you can sample one of their signature frozen adult beverages like a Game Changer or Frozen Irish Coffee in a trendy atmosphere in Columbia’s Five Points with indoor and outdoor seating.  Open 7-days. 

Southern Belly: Crafted, gooey, giant BBQ Sandwiches are the staple here, along with a list of local beers and made-from scratch sauces with names like Midas (golden mustard) and Yum Yum (an Asian inspired remoulade). Five Points and Colonial Life Blvd. Lunch and Dinner 7-days a week. 

The War Mouth: Elevated comfort food in a hipster atmosphere. In addition to their Carolina Heritage Farm BBQ and wood smoked ribs, you’ll also find chicken bog and seafood perlo on the menu along with house made cocktails and a selection of beer and wine in Cottontown. Dinner daily and Sunday Brunch. Closed Mondays. 

There are plenty more in each category than we had room to list here, so find more on our website and tell us about your favorite spot.