BBQ purists will scoff at the concept of quality smoked meat coming from a chain restaurant -- especially one based in Louisiana. But VooDoo in Greenville has an awful lot of potential and in some places it already soars.
I was skeptical at first, but since I frequently get to SC, but don't frequently get to LA, I wanted to give this outpost a try. I'm very glad I did. Took my two sons for a Friday lunch last week and it knocked my socks off. I chose brisket and sausage (two easy items to do really badly) and my boys had pulled pork (more forgiving). All of it was dee-lish. The pork was smoky and moist and definitely compares favorably to other local BBQ joints in the area. Brisket was tasty with really nice smoke, but was a tad overdone (shouldn't be this way at lunchtime unless it was recycled form the day before), so that knocked off a star. Sausage was a pleasant pork/beef mix, nicely spiced without being overly hot, and a nice bite to the casing. All were served without sauce (a very good sign) though a couple of good sauces were available at each table.
For sides, my boys had a mac-and-cheese which one liked, but the other thought was bland, and they had a corn cake which needed just a bit more sugar. I had the Gator Beans (baked beans with some kind of meat which I'm guessing, given the lack of alligators in Upstate SC was probably pork) and greens which had a nice kick.
Though VooDoo is a chain, and looks the part, they're serving up some of the best bbq I've eaten in a chain restaurant in a long time. Once you get past the overall cleanliness (they get an A from the health department -- a less-than-positive sign for a Q joint, but nice for those who choose to avoid trichinosis, salmonella, Yersinia enterocolitica, Enterococcus, Staphylococcus aureus, and listeria), and the gas-fired smokers which remove some of the authenticity, you'll find some pretty dang good Q.
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