Hog, Hock and Hash at Dukes Barbecue Buffet, South Carolina

You know you’re in for good Southern Style cookin’ when you see the pink pig statue at the entrance and locals flocking to enjoy old-time favorites at Dukes Barbecue Buffet – All you can eat Restaurant in Walterboro, South Carolina. Choose the buffet menu from the inside dining or order a plate to go at the drive-through.

Location: 949 Robertson Blvd in Walterboro, South CarolinaHeading towards Florida, Dukes Barbecue is easy to find: from I-95, exit 57 for SC-64 E, and from US 17, take SC-64 E.

Menu: Southern Barbeque

Thoughts:  My friend Bitsy had phoned me earlier that morning, inviting me for a jaunt into the country to visit her brother and join them for lunch: “I always stop at Dukes Barbecue for take-out plates when I visit there. But, we have to hurry – it closes at two on Sundays”.  A few hours later, I was speculatively eyeing the twenty feet long food troughs, the deep containers neatly arranged in rows and overflowing with food offerings: rice, pulled pork, fried chicken, sweet potatoes, okra, red beets, and…

Bitsy interrupted my thoughts: “Never tasted hash before? Now, hash and white rice, that the taste of South Carolina.” The only hash I could think of was breakfast ‘hash browns’, and this certainly was not it! The server must have overheard us because she scooped a spoonful from the brothy meat dish and handed it over the counter for me to taste: “A favorite with the regulars. Some people come especially only for the hash.” I carefully savored the mouthful. It had a gritty richness to it, and a very strong, pungent flavor.

What is this stuff? Bitsy could not find words to describe it, so the lady behind us chimed in: “Dukes minces the pulled pork, potatoes and onions and flavors it with a mustard-based barbeque sauce.” She pointed at the bottles on the for sale display. Bitsy went on to explain that there were two types of barbeque people: the yellow ones who liked a mustard base, and the red ones who preferred a tomato base.

For the take-out plate, we could choose a main item and two sides. Bitsy selected hash and rice for the family, and I opted for the fried chicken, a choice of breasts or thighs. We ordered mac and cheese, cabbage slaw,  string beans, and collard greens to-go. At the end of the line, there were three big tubs of home-made desserts for the picking: a classic banana pudding usually served at barbeques, peach cobbler, and lemon cake.

While the server was fixing our plates, there was a pleasant buzz around us as customers filled and refilled their plates, and topped up their glasses from the copious jugs of lemonade, sweet and unsweetened tea. No need to be modest since everyone was there to fill the belly with good old-time cookin’. This is self-serve family style dining with a convivial atmosphere; the venue is unpretentious with simple décor, ample space and long tables, each boasting a fresh loaf of bread as center-piece. And, without fail, the staff keeps on smiling, cleaning, sweeping, and replenishing the ample containers.

Enjoying our generous plates later, I savored the tender and moist white meat of the chicken breast with its crispy buttermilk-crusted coating. The cooked-from-scratch macaroni and cheese was deliciously rich, while the fresh string beans were cooked just right. A nice surprise was the accompanying two hush puppies, two balls filled with corn and delicately fried to perfection. The coleslaw and collard greens were both prepared in the traditional way, the latter flavored with bacon-grease and onions.

We topped off the meal with a bit of southern sweetness: the classic banana pudding with its layers of sliced bananas and vanilla wafers, and freshly baked peach cobbler.

Dukes Barbecue is worth a stop, not only to enjoy wholesome food but also to experience southern living at unbeatable prices! The veggie and dessert options may vary on occasion, but the mains remain the same.

Prices: The average price for adults is $12.50, with a range of prices for different age groups, ranging from free to $10.50 for seniors.

Guest reviewer bio:  Elsa, a South-African born U.S. citizen, is a part-time piano teacher, freelance travel writer, photographer, food and wine-lover. During school holidays, she leads small group tours to South Africa and other countries, blogging on her website, Travels with Elsa.  She loves to visit her family who live in Canada, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Since attending a Great Escape Workshop in Washington D.C. in 2017, she has become a freelance writer and contributor to Shutterstock. Her articles and blogs have been published in Links and Libations, The Travel Post, and TravelSquire, she has co-authored three articles and won 2nd prize in an International Travel News competition. Her latest project is a biography of her father, a famous South African comedian, to be published in December.

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