Home Team [Not Just] BBQ [Anymore]
Congratulations! You made it past PART 1: The Location — now on to the main event… THE FOOD! Home Team BBQ has become a staple in Charleston for BBQ. Yes, everyone is familiar with South Carolina’s ‘mustard based’ BBQ stereotype; however, I think Charleston, SC has yet to fully find its identity in the smoked meat game, but thats not a bad thing. Aaron Siegel, Taylor Garrigan and co. at Home Team BBQ have been hard at work developing a balanced menu to cater not only to BBQ purists, but also the fine-dining audience that Charleston is known for. Executive chef Garrigan, is a Johnson and Wales graduate and was previously at FIG under Mike Lata before developing the concept for Home Team BBQ with Siegel. Its easy to forget that Atlanta-native ‘Fiery Ron’, attended the Culinary Institute of America and was once the executive chef at Blossom in Downtown Charleston – but the new menu at their downtown location helps to remind us that these seasoned chefs have much more to offer barbecue fans.
“In addition to being featured on the Food Network’s “Heat Seekers,” Fiery Ron’s has racked up accolades, including nods for “Most Life Changing Ribs in America” by Esquire, “Best Rib-Sticking Joint in America” by Southern Living Magazine, and “America’s Tastiest Ribs” by USA Today.”
The Appetizers (MENU)
Smoked Chicken Wings (1/2 doz $7.25 or doz $13.50)
There’s a reason this is the first item on the menu: because they are arguably the best wings in Charleston. They are dry-rubbed, smoked, deep fried and then dusted with more of that dry rub. Be sure to ask for extra Alabama White Sauce – you’re going to want it!
Pork Cracklins with Pimento Cheese ($7)
The satisfyingly crunchy and light pork skins are a favorite of ours. We can’t eat at Home Team without ordering these with a side of housemate pimento cheese for the table (ok… maybe just for ourselves).
The Tacos ($4.50/ea)
At $4.50 each, these tacos are well worth the money – the average person would be satisfied eating just two. Each one is filled full of their signature smoked meats and stacked on their house-made tortillas.
Crispy Pork Cake ($9.95)
Most people come to Home Team BBQ expecting…. well, barbecue. Now you can also get dishes like this…. tender, succulent and almost creamy pork confit on the inside, crispy hot panko crust on the outside, with house made lardo melting on top. You might expect something like this from one of Charleston’s fine dining options, but it’s here for only $9.95- a steal! The Crispy Pork Cake is served with fresh local veggies, which takes away some of the guilt from eating something so deliciously indulgent. This is a MUST TRY.
“A good number of customers no doubt skip the pork cake, understandably lavishing their attentions on chicken wings and beer. But that cheffy dish is right there for the taking, reflecting the kitchen seriousness of owner Aaron Siegel, a Culinary Institute of America grad, and executive chef Taylor Garrigan”
– Hanna Raskin (Post & Courrier)
Cold Smoked Cobia Tartare ($8.95)
The cobia has a subtle smoked flavor, herbs and harissa and pairs perfectly with the chargrilled bread.
Green Salad with Linguisa Sausage ($12.90)
The base salad ($9.95) had a bright lemon vinaigrette dressing and was a touch on the spicy side, which I liked. The linguisa (+$2.95) was full of bold flavors and complimented the texture and spiciness of the salad.
Fiery Ron’s Burger ($12.50)
This burger is a monster – a juicy 10oz of 100% house ground brisket. Its served with smoked bacon, wood-fired red onions, heirloom tomatoes, shredded lettuce, house-made pickles, Harissa aioli, American cheese on a Brown’s Court Bakery brioche bun. It also includes a choice of one side. Did I mention you can add slaw ($.75) or sausage ($2) on top? Do it. You won’t.
The Meat Platter Combo
I’ve thrown a ton of food your way but you don’t really get the Home Team experience until you’ve tried a Combo Platter (Two Meat – $16.50 / Three Meat – $19.50). I tried the smoked chicken, brisket, pulled pork and smoked turkey. Siegel uses red oak to smoke their barbecue which produces a milder smokiness (compared to Hickory/Mesquite) and lets the flavor of the meat shine through.
Of course you’ll need to pick sides for your combo platter. I tried the fresh cucumber and tomato salad and their creamy mac and cheese. What is it about mac and cheese that pairs so well with BBQ?? Home Team’s rendition was supremely cheesy. I loved the golden crust.
How did I eat all this food, you ask? My answer: over the course of three days… and I didn’t eat a single bite I didn’t like. The new Home Team BBQ shows the maturity and evolution of the restaurant through its dishes. The plates will speak to Home Team regulars but will also appeal to the crowd looking for something more than BBQ. With dishes like the Pork Cake and the Cold Smoked Cobia, Home Team is making strides to be much more than a BBQ joint. I’m excited to see what the future holds for this place. If you think the pictures of the food looked good, wait till you see the cocktails by Beverage Director, Adam Rothstein in PART 3: THE COCKTAILS!
Disclosure: I was compensated for my time to produce photographs and write this blog post. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and not influenced in any way.