Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Sauces of South Carolina

Dana Huff sent me a link to this Strange Maps post about one state's condiment preferences.

The map shows the state of South Carolina divided into four regions, according to the preferred style of condiment used on barbecued food.
  • The vinegar and pepper region covers the eastern quarter of the state. This is “a southward extension of eastern North Carolina-style sauce,” states Mr Reed.
  • “The tomato region ditto for North Carolina’s Piedmont- or Lexington-style sauce, which is basically the eastern sauce with a little tomato added, still thin and vinegar-flavored.”
  • The ketchup region is influenced by what they serve in Georgia “and most of the trans-Appalachian South – or for that matter in grocery stores – a thick, sweet, ketchupy sauce.”
  • Unique to South Carolina, though, is “the mustard sauce of central South Carolina, (which) is unique to that state, and (which) gives it more distinct barbecue regions than any other.”
The prevalence of this last sauce John Shelton Reed attributes to "the great 18th century wave of German immigrants to the Southern uplands."

Drew Smith

As someone who grew up in Newberry County, SC, I can confirm that Newberry County accurately falls within the mustard region.


I was born in NC, near Lexington, but was raised in the Mustard region of SC. I live now in the Tomato region, and I hate it. There's nothing better than a trip to Wise's BBQ, which Drew is surely aware of being that it's between my old home and his. Of course not, Hickory Hill's up in Clinton has been giving them a run for their money in recent years. OK, I guess I'm making a road trip soon... :-)

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