Where to Find Great Barbecue on Hilton Head Island

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The Lowcountry is known for its delicious and fresh seafood dishes, but there’s another type of cuisine that may have gotten its roots right on Parris Island! Did you know that South Carolina is often called the Birthplace of Barbecue? Many people and regions have claimed to be the same, and there are certainly a wide variety of sauces and methods within that Southern Barbecue umbrella.

According to an article by Discover South Carolina, the Spanish and American Indians shared their traditions and ideas while they were on Santa Elena, which is now known as Parris Island. The Spanish had been raising pigs and the tribe used their method of cooking with an open flame…the outcome is considered to be the first time a pig was barbecued. Click here to read the article, “The Birthplace of Barbecue.”

Just as there are other guides for foodies to find their favorite dish, South Carolina has its very own Barbecue Trail. In the following list of places to find great barbecue on Hilton Head Island, we’ve specified that restaurants are stops along the Coastal section of the trail. Find the complete trail here.

Restaurants to check out

Forrest Fire Bbq

1 N Forest Beach Dr, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

(843) 341-3473


Located in Coligny Plaza, Forrest Fire BBQ is known for its delicious, wood-smoked barbecue. With a menu that changes daily, you can customize your meal with your choice of meats (ribs, brisket, chicken, or butts), sauces, and fixins’ such as Smoked Egg Salad, Crack Mac, Pesto Brussel Sprout Salad, and more. A popular joint on the south end of the island, you might want to head there earlier than later since they close when they sell out of ‘cue! The bar is open until 9pm.

Bullies bbq

3 Regency Pkwy, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

(843) 686-7427


On the BBQ Trail

A barbecue staple on the island, Bullies BBQ has been a longtime favorite that serves the freshest lean pork and ribs. Everything is slow-smoked over Hickory and Mesquite, with the ribs taking 6 hours and the pork taking up to 14 hours. Try Chef Bob Sutton’s famous South Carolina Pulled Pork on a plate or in a sandwich, and enjoy a wide selection of sauces such as Texas Sweet, Carolina Vinegar, Carolina Mustard, Original Mild Herb, and Slow Burn. This mid-island spot offers outdoor seating and sells Bob’s Memphis Style Rub for you to take home!

One Hot Mama's american Grill

1 Greenwood Dr Ste 7A, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

(843) 682-6262


On the BBQ Trail

Food Network Star, Orchid, has brought award-winning barbecue to the island, along with a family-friendly atmosphere at both Hilton Head Island and Bluffton locations. One Hot Mama’s offers a list of starters that might make you drool, featuring some award-winning chili, and other mouthwatering plates such as the fried, Stack A Mac, Chocolate BBQ Baby Back Ribs, Brisket Queso, and more. Not only does this spot serve up some seriously good hickory-smoked BBQ, but award-winning wings and other house favorite dishes.

The Smokehouse

34 Palmetto Bay Rd, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

(843) 842-4227


Once located near Coligny Circle, The Smokehouse is now in a beautiful new building off Palmetto Bay Road. As impressive-looking as the restaurant is, expect the barbecue to completely wow you. The award-winning BBQ plates are crowd favorites, but add on a large bar area to watch the game, a delicious happy hour menu full of deals, and an outdoor patio to relax in.

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