It’s Palmetto State’s signature contribution to regional barbecue culture, and it stems from pre-Civil War residents who tried to use every part of the pork for food. Barbecue without mince or rice? It would be peanut butter without jelly, burgers without fries, Clemson playing the Saturday after Thanksgiving against anyone but the University of South Carolina.
The hash and rice have become a delicacy in themselves and, fortunately, there are still local establishments that carry on this culinary tradition. One is Home Team BBQ, where operating partner and executive chef Taylor Garrigan breeds hash starting with a boneless pork butt that’s rubbed dry and smoked for 13 to 15 hours.
“The meat is pulled and then added to a large, round, shallow pot with pork livers, onions, garlic, Home Team Red BBQ Sauce, Home Team Mustard BBQ Sauce and tomatoes,” said Garrigan said. “It’s cooked to incorporate all the flavors, then using a food processor we create the smooth, textured meat sauce.”
The home team team looked at several hash recipes from across the region, trying out a few different options before settling on their current formula, being won over by its smooth texture. The restaurant’s specialty sauces are both vinegar-based and give the hash an extra kick, while the dry rub applied to the meat before smoking adds an extra degree of depth to the flavor.
For rice, Home Team uses Carolina Gold, the ancestor of long-grain rice, also steeped in South Carolina heritage and history. The first commercially produced rice in the United States, Carolina Gold was central to coastal South Carolina’s economy in the early 1800s, according to the Serious Eats website. It eventually disappeared from dinner tables before being revived in the 1980s.
Hash and rice remains one of Home Team BBQ’s most popular sides at its Greenville and Columbia locations, Garrigan said. But it’s disappearing from many menus in Charleston, due to an influx of transplants unfamiliar with the dish. Home Team BBQ proudly continues the tradition at its Downtown, West Ashley and Sullivan’s Island locations.
“A lot of other barbecue shops don’t carry hash and rice anymore,” Garrigan said. “Newcomers to the area don’t know about hash and rice. This is often something we need to educate our guests about, especially in Charleston where we have a lot of visitors. That being said, locals expect good hash and rice at Home Team.
Building Blocks of Charleston Cuisine is a series that celebrates the connection between the Lowcountry and its vibrant food scene. Each week features a dish, restaurant or chef that has played a role in preserving the region’s culinary history.