If I had to trace my fascination with southern barbecue back to one source, it would have to be Bessinger's in Charleston. As a teenager in the early to mid '90s I had a job with a traveling construction company that took me to many areas of the country. We spent a good amount of time in the Charleston area during the rebuilding following Hurricane Hugo, and this was one of the crew's favorite dinner spots. The spicy mustard sauce and sweet, doughnut size onion rings kept us coming back for more. Several times we even drove an hour or more if we were anywhere close.
I've been back a couple times since, but not in the last five years, so when I had a business trip to Charleston scheduled this summer, Bessinger's was at the top of my list of places to visit.
Everything I've tried here has been good, especially the pork sandwiches. On this trip, I ordered the rib plate, which I hadn't tried before.
This was a huge slab of meat, as you can see. The ribs were cooked perfectly, very tender and with delicious flavor. Still, with two sides, bread and the one onion ring, it was more food than I could handle. Thankfully, I had my family there to help. It was simply too good to waste.
I was glad to find this place was as good as I remembered. As good as it is, I don't remember ever seeing them packed full. I would attribute this to the multitude of dining options available in the Charleston area. Hopefully they are able to continue cranking out awesome barbecue for years to come. I will be a repeat customer whenever I'm anywhere close.