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Yesterday I was on ASSIGNMENT.
I have two good friends that are editors for newspapers. Donnie Douglas at The Robesonian and Justin Smith at The News Reporter. Despite that friendship they have never drafted me as a correspondent and given me a journalistic ASSIGNMENT.
Well my BBQ blogging friend John Tanner deputized me as Senior Carolina Correspondent yesterday and gave me an ASSIGNMENT for John Tanner’s Barbecue Blog.
John Tanner doesn’t mess around in the world of being a restaurant reviewer/foodie. In just the last two months he or some of his other correspondents has reviewed some 13 dining establishments in Europe including Paris, Frankfort, Port Vendres, and Lyons.
For those not in the know Lyons is recognized by many as the food capital of France if not the world. Guess what? John Tanner Barbecue Blog had someone in Lyons on ASSIGNMENT, it just wasn’t me.
John’s real passion is barbecue cooked over wood coals. His passion became my ASSIGNMENT and I was off to Latta, SC to review Shuler’s BBQ.
For some Latta is just a small town on the way to Myrtle Beach SC, to others it is known as the hometown of former UNC Basketball legend Raymond Felton, and to others it is the former residence of the “Voice of Latta HS Football” and now the President of University of North Alabama Dr. Ken Kitts.
My wife and I had to make a shopping trip down I-95 to Florence SC. We decided on the way we could combine some household responsibilities with the ASSIGNMENT.
Florence, SC is about 50 minutes south from Lumberton NC where we live. Latta SC and Shuler’s is about 15 miles north of Florence SC. We completed the shopping and on the way home stopped at Shuler’s for lunch and the ASSIGNMENT.
So here is my report for John Tanner’s BBQ Blog
Shuler’s BBQ sits on SC 38 about 4 miles east of I-95 and Exit 181A. If you are visually impaired or still distracted by the early wooden cotton press you saw three miles back you might miss it. What helps you know you have arrived is the GIGANTIC American flag, the Shuler’s Bar-B-Que sign, and a packed parking lot.
John told me that I could be in at least one photo so here is a selfie outside of the restaurant.
When you enter Shuler’s BBQ you follow a corral to the cash register where you place your order. I immediately got excited when I read some small print on the menu that said Senior Discount. I got ahead of myself for being recently deputized as Senior Carolina Correspondent on ASSIGNMENT. The senior discount only applies to the buffet for those over the age of 65. John this is good for you to know.
My wife ordered the lunch buffet and I went with a BBQ meat tray with two sides. Both orders came with a drink and dessert and the tab was $20.02. I am pretty sure that John’s international correspondents on ASSIGNMENT are not turning in receipts with that amount of frugality for reimbursement.
After placing your order you get a number mounted on 12 inch metal pole and go find a seat. They have inside and outside dining. The outside overlooks a pond that may be habitat for alligators. For the record I didn’t see any but opted for indoor seating.
The food arrives in a hurry and a waiter/waitress will take you drink order when seated. Here are pics of my wife’s buffet plate and my BBQ plate.
My wife plate on left and mine on right with cornbread.
In the world of journalism I don’t know if there is such a thing as full disclosure since this is my first ASSIGNMENT. Whether it is or is not appropriate here comes the disclosure.
I attended East Carolina University which is in Pitt County NC. Barbecue is king in and around Greenville NC and it is cooked over wood with vinegar not MUSTARD.
I want some form of Eastern North Carolina Style Barbecue Sauce with my cue.
If you don’t know how here is a simple explanation. Get one gallon of apple cider vinegar with enough poured out so that the gallon jug can hold one inch of ground red pepper, one inch of ground white pepper, and one inch of ground black pepper. Then let it sit for a week or more before use. That or some variation of it is how I like it.
When my friends and I cook for the Annual Beer Snob Pig Picking we use apple cider vinegar and a few other ingredients. For the record John Tanner has been on ASSIGNMENT at that event. My friends and I think Lumberton is on par with Lyons, France or why else would John have visited both places. For the record he has been to Lumberton twice-take that France and your “formule”.
Okay with the journalistic disclosure out of the way Shuler’s BBQ sauce is tangy and mustardy with some tomatoey taste but it is not EASTERN NC sauce. The BBQ was lean and you can taste the salt and pepper. I did not use the sauce. The meat was not overly moist. It was chopped well and you could see the smoke ring. My sides were good with the mac n’ cheese being a little better than the slaw.
The value and service when dining at Shuler’s is excellent. Adjacent to the restaurant is a General Store with some big time grills for sale inside. They also have a bakery and ice cream shop. Outside on the porch of the general store they have an industrial scale to weigh yourself. It might not be a good idea after the buffet.
If you are traveling down I-95 close to the NC/SC line and feel the need to taste some SC Barbecue take it on as an ASSIGNMENT and give Shuler’s BBQ a try for lunch or dinner.
FYI they have Banana Pudding and a soft serve ice cream machine for dessert.
This is your Senior Carolina Correspondent signing off.