Sunday, November 15, 2009
April: Like many communities in the United States, the outskirts of Rock Hill in York County, SC are growing. Commercial development, new neighborhoods, road projects, etc. dominate the area between Rock Hill and Charlotte, NC. The small community of Newport, SC is no exception. A new Wal-Mart was naturally added to this area not too long ago. With it comes the requisite Dollar General, large clear cut parking lots, and newly created intersections. Slo' Smokin' Barbecue is mainly a catering outfit run by the Partlow family. It is housed in an 1880's farmhouse on the land that is now the new Wal-Mart. Due to the road construction with the Wal-Mart, the Partlow's were forced to shut down the three day a week restaurant that they ran out of the house. We happened upon this spot and this information a few weeks ago. Mr. Partlow was nice enough to give us a tour of the house and grounds, tell us stories of his years in the BBQ and catering business, and supply us with his call ahead/tailgating menu and encouraged us to order the following week. Needless to say, we did. We picked up a whole rack of ribs, 2lbs of pulled BBQ, sauces, and banana pudding. Mr. Partlow also threw in some of his personal recipe BBQ beans. He also told us that the business would be moving after the first of the year. The leasing company that owns the property and (not surprisingly) the Wal-Mart notified him that the rent for the house would be $3500 as of January 1, 2010. It is an increase of almost three times what he pays now. I do hope that he will relocate the catering and to-go business because he has some of the best BBQ, beans, sauce, and banana pudding around. The barbeque was well smoked and lightly mixed with a vinegar based sauce. While there was not a lot of bark (my favorite part) the smokey flavor was great. His BBQ beans are fantastic. A mix of kidney, limas, and pork and beans along with his favorite spices make these beans darn near perfect. I am not a fan of the super sweet baked beans that most restaurants serve up. These were gourmet quality but a very nice mix with the barbeque. The banana pudding is absolutely some of the best I have ever had. He mentioned that his grandson had a hand in making it. I hope they never stop. My favorite sauce is what he calls the "Growlin' Sauce" in honor of the Carolina Panthers. When the NFL team first came on the scene up here, the Partlow's helped cater their training camp. The players requested a hot BBQ sauce so they developed one and named it after the Panther Growl. What a great story! The one disappointment from this grand meal was the ribs. I am not a huge rib fan anyhow, but these were just not to my liking. They were fresh from the smoker and well sauced with a tomato base, but the meat was very fatty and tough. I liked the sauce and spiciness of the ribs, but the toughness and rubbery quality made them difficult to eat.
Overall, Slo' Smokin' is a great gastronomic experience that I hope will re-open far, far away from any future Wal-Marts.
Lane: I agree with the above to a point, as good as the beans were, they just didn't seem to be that great. The BBQ was amazing and the ribs had a ton of flavor. I do have one issue about the ribs however and its that there seemed to be a line of subcutaneous fat over the meat instead of a marbled layer. To me, this just meant that the meat had an unbalanced texture with most of the flavor in one area of the rib. Sauce wise, they were very good. I enjoyed the mustard sauce more then the "Growlin' Sauce" and I also really, really liked the banana pudding. My advice to anyone thinking of having an event catered. Check out Slo' Smokin'.
Slo' Smokin' Barbeque 4821 Old York, Road Rock Hill, SC 29732
Distance from home: 4.7 miles