The Gracious Pig Smokehouse Serves BBQ, Moonshine and Ol’ Timey Ambience
As construction of the much-anticipated Surfside Beach Pier drags on with cranes towering over the beach, just across Ocean Boulevard, The Gracious Pig Smokehouse hasn’t lost a moment in gaining new fans since first opening in September 2021. At the indoor/outdoor restaurant-bar, decorated in white-washed wood planking, 1940s-era Shell gas pumps and old gas station implements, you’ll find good ol’ Southern-style pit-smoked barbecue in many iterations, fresh-made sides, and creative cocktails in a family-friendly setting.
The music of 1950s-era Roger Miller is intertwined with Lynyrd Skynyrd and classic country while patrons show up for carryout orders, or to dine in. On a recent warm midday, nearly all the seats were occupied, inside and out. Many were first-timers there, as word has spread about the only house-smoked barbecue in the area, while others were repeat customers.
One customer, who seemed clearly impressed, exclaimed “Man! That’s a perfect char!” while biting into a slab of dark, smoky beef brisket. “Is that apple?” to which the manager replied, “apple and cherry wood,” referring to the hardwoods used to smoke all Gracious Pig’s barbecue.
The ownership, name and concept for the new restaurant comes from long-time creative restaurateurs, Dining & Design president, Nate Anderson, and VP of new brand development Richie Huggins. The team’s Pizza Hyena sits directly across the street. Local real estate development families are also partners in the new ventures. A small, but attentive army of staff, including director of operations, Jeremy Church, and general manager Austin Fullwood, worked the restaurant like pros. All the staff were extremely knowledgeable about the Gracious Pig’s extensive menu, which includes pulled pork, smoked sausage, pork ribs, sliced smoked turkey, chicken wings and beef brisket.
An array of apps, sandwiches, salads and even a Ginger Snap ‘Nanna Puddin’ dessert are also available.
“Everything, and I mean everything, is made fresh, right here,” says Huggins, who greets customers and recommends menu items to try. “The collards come in fresh, the corn soufflé is made every day with heavy cream and the brisket is smoked out back for 12 hours.”
Seated for lunch, there were as many “you must try” suggestions as there were menu items from which to choose. Starting with a house-made Deep Eddy Bloody Mary, I opted for the three-meat plate; pulled pork, sliced brisket, and pork ribs. The plate is served with small ramekins of sauce (more available upon request), which included Alabama White, a horseradish-based sauce designed especially for the brisket; the Kansas City (the top-seller), which is a classic, tangy red sauce, and Carolina Gold, a mustard-based delight that complemented the pulled pork perfectly. A North Carolina vinegar-based sauce; and a super-hot Sneaky Reaper are also available. I chose Kickin’ Collards, Corn Puddin’ (a corn soufflé), and mac & cheese as sides. All spectacular.
In the Ole Smoky Moonshine sampler, I tried Apple Pie, Lemon Drop and Strawberry Moonshine, which all lived up to their namesakes. Also available: White Lightnin’ and Peach. Additionally, Gracious Pig serves fine bourbon and whiskey, and offers flights of Jameson’s top-sellers, Kentucky favorites, and Ole Smoky’s whiskey, including Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter and Mango Habanero. A full bar with beer, wine and specialty cocktails rounds out the adult beverage options.
“The specialty drinks are flying off the shelf,” says Huggins. “We’ve partnered with Ole Smoky Distillery out of Gatlinburg, Tennesee, for a lot of it.”
Several customers had been chatting about fundraising and buying barbecue by the pound to carry out.
“We’re looking to be very community-oriented,” says Nate Anderson. “We can provide barbecue wholesale for fundraising events and hope to be involved in all the Surfside Beach parades. This is such a family town, and we want to be a part of everyone’s family, whether local or visiting.”
A new Dining & Design restaurant, Chimichanga’s, a southwest, Tex-Mex concept, is immediately adjacent to the Gracious Pig. The large restaurant/bar was under construction at the time of our visit, and was slated to open in January 2022.
The Gracious Pig Smokewhouse
14 Ocean Blvd. S., Surfside Beach
Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily. Opening for breakfast 7 a.m. in mid-February