Jackie Hite’s Barbecue
Address: 467 West Church St., Batesburg-Leesville, SC 29006.
Cards: Visa and Master Card
When the food writers and the camera crews roll into South Carolina to do a story on real barbeque done the old-fashioned way they all head for Jackie Hite’s. Jackie, the colorful ex-mayor of the little town of Leesville, still cooks his barbeque in real sand lined pits over real hard wood coals he makes himself. But it’s not just for show. Jackie’s barbeque is the real deal.
Jackie Hite is part of the German tradition of barbeque in South Carolina. His extended family of cousins own and operate three different barbeque restaurants in Lexington County and that all are 100 mile barbeques. Apparently they learned their culinary secrets from a real master and they haven’t strayed. It’s just good old-fashioned barbeque that never looses its charm.
Jackie, however, does one thing the other Hite cousins don’t do, he has a Pig Pickin’ on Fridays at his restaurant. He lays out a split pig on his buffet and you get to pick all you want of your favorite parts, ham, ribs, shoulder, loin, whatever your little heart desires.
It used to be that you had to get there well before noon if you wanted to get some of those choice ribs that Jacky serves up but Jackie, ever one to please a constituent or a customer, started putting a second serving of ribs on at noon, replenishing the pig that was placed there around 11:00 am. Now if you get there before 12:30 you still just might get what some consider to be the best old-fashioned ribs in the state.
In any event, the loin meat and the skins that Hite’s serves is consistently the best in the state and are not to be missed.
Hite’s serves buffet style where he has pulled pork barbeque in two styles – mixed with mustard sauce and barbeque unadorned by sauce (my favorite). Plus, it’s all-you-can-eat with country cooking sides including a great creamy, home-made slaw. He has real barbequed chicken as well as fried chicken for those who want a little variety and the desert, a banana pudding, is included in the buffet price as is the tea. It’s worth the trip and dozens of real barbeque aficionados make the trip on a regular basis.
One thing you’ve got to do is try Jackie Hite’s pork skins and then try the skins from the Hite’s take out in West Columbia. There is a fierce debate among experts as to which is the best in the state. Regardless of which you finally decide on, the taste-off of those two will be one of the most memorable barbeque experiences you will ever have.