Sweatman's is a weekend only barbecue destination in South Carolina's countryside.
A wooden pig sign announces diners’ arrival at Sweatman’s, a destination BBQ pork buffet that’s run on Fridays and Saturdays in Holly Hill since 1977.
The waving American flag was a patriotic touch at this two-day-a-week restaurant.
The late great Bub Sweatman and his late wife Margie are depicted in this portrait, posing with the animal that helped make them famous.
In my experience, better barbecue establishments are lined with taxidermied animals. The more animals, the better the ‘cue. When I entered the front door, I instantly knew I was in for a classic meal.
Every Southern barbecue joint seems to have its own unique collection of kitschy pig memorabilia, and Sweatman’s was no exception.
For the ridiculously low price of $7.85, diners are welcome to gorge themselves repeatedly at the buffet, which they refresh constantly.
The buffet features fried pig skin, pork ribs, fresh-picked dark meat and white meat, and hash.
Sweatman’s takes their guest experience so seriously that they refuse to sell dark meat or ribs to go, to save them for the dining room.
FYI, hash is a delicious Carolina specialty that basically amounts to a slurry of sauce and undesirable hog parts, which gets ladled over white rice. It may not sound appetizing, but Sweatman’s version was insanely flavorful.
A jumbo dispenser of vinegar-spiked mustard sauce, a style of barbecue sauce specific to the South Carolina Lowcountry, was available above the buffet. Sweatman’s sauce is absolutely addictive.
Here’s a close-up of the caramelized, chew-inducing pork skin.
Post-meal, I did a little recon in the pit, to see how Sweatman’s produces such remarkable barbecue.
The pit contains two rooms, each containing a massive smoker. The air was thick with smoke from the burning oak and hickory embers, transforming them into coal before shoveling them underneath the smokers to cook and flavor the pigs.
Speaking of the hogs, a friendly Sweatman’s pit man hand-cranked open this section of smoker to reveal two splayed pig carcasses, just beginning to cook for 8-10 hours.
Our Sweatman’s experience concluded with creamy banana pudding folded with traditional Nilla wafers, a sweet finish to a memorable meal.
Hours: Friday & Saturday: 11:30 AM – 9 PM