The United States’s barbecue belt stretches from the Carolinas to Texas, Kentucky to the deep South. All that land naturally means a profusion of regional styles, from the dry and wet pork ribs beloved in Memphis to the chopped whole hog barbecue served with a vinegar and pepper sauce that dominates North Carolina’s coast. (Within that there’s also an entire world of regional sauces, which you can read up on here.)
But occasionally, you’ll find styles afoot outside their home turfs, thanks to chefs who bring barbecue to cities where there isn’t necessarily a local way of doing it, or chefs who dare to take their region’s barbecue to another locale — like Texas native and acclaimed pitmaster John Lewis.
Lewis helped open the legendary Franklin Barbecue and was also the power behind the smokers at equally lauded Austin barbecue restaurant La Barbecue. But in 2016, he decided to bring Central Texas-style meats to South Carolina with the opening of Lewis Barbecue in Charleston. If you’re worried about locals not being welcoming to a barbecue outsider, don’t be. Lewis Barbecue was one of Charleston’s most-anticipated openings, with people eager for a taste of what was at least once referred to “knee-weakening brisket.”
A hit since day one, Lewis Barbecue visitors now know to ask for the housemade sausage, super moist turkey slices, and green chile corn pudding, in addition to the fatty brisket. And to go along with all that meat is Lewis’s beloved green chile barbecue sauce, a mustard-based topper in honor of Carolina Gold, a mustard sauce that’s thinned with vinegar. Take a stab at making your own with help from Lewis’ recipe below. Maybe even bottle it up and gift it to friends and family...
Green Chile Barbecue Sauce
1 16-ounce jar Zia Hatch green chile sauce, found online or at Whole Foods
1⁄2 cup white vinegar
1⁄3 cup yellow mustard, preferably French’s
1⁄4 cup canola oil
6 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon ketchup, preferably Heinz
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Combine all in a blender and mix until well combined. Bottle and keep refrigerated. Enjoy on a pulled pork sandwich or with breakfast tacos, or pour over chicken, turkey breast, and shrimp.