July 19, 2024








Kansas City, my home base, is well known for it’s great barbecue.  In fact, those of us who live in KC consider our barbecue to be The Best. Of course every region of the country has it’s own take on this All American style of cuisine. Personally,  I have a history of involvement with barbecue and KC Masterpiece Barbecue Sauce. I love barbecue and as I travel the country I always enjoy checking out the local version. Recently I spent a bit of time in Columbia, South Carolina where I took the opportunity to sample some BBQ Done Southern Style. And that’s where I discovered The Southern Belly BBQ.

Exploring Southern Style Barbecue –

As it turns out, Columbia’s Southern Barbecue is rather different than KC BBQ.

  • Meats – In Kansas City, BBQ is a term which covers various meats and preparation styles – turkey, ham, pork, beef, brisket, burnt ends, etc. In South Carolina the definition of BBQ is much more narrow. BBQ means one thing – Pork – Pulled Pork.
  • Sauce – In Kansas City the sauce is primarily tomato based.Yes, you can find other varieties if you search them out, but for the most part, KC sauce is tomato based.  In contrast, you don’t find much tomato based sauce in South Carolina.  Instead, BBQ sauce in Columbia seemed to be either mustard based or vinegar based.

The BBQ Train

I sampled Southern BBQ at various venues.  The most interesting tasting occurred when I took a ride on The BBQ Train in Winnsboro, South Carolina. ( Read about it at:  Ride The BBQ Train).  It’s an old style train ride which makes a stop for a traditional southern barbecue meal.  The barbecue meat was, of course, pulled pork, but all three sauce base versions were available including tomato based, mustard based and vinegar based.  I have to say, tomato based sauce remains my favorite.  The mustard based sauce was not bad but the vinegar based sauce – well – that must be an acquired taste.

Traditional Southern BBQ Meal on The BBQ Train – 3 types of pulled pork, green beans, mac & cheese, slaw – the fried chicken was a bonus. 


Having checked out various samples of Southern Style BBQ I was feeling a bit disappointed. Nothing really grabbed my attention nor spoke pleasantly to my taste buds.  I was about to abandon my exploration of Southern Style Barbecue but decided to try one more option.  I had heard of a place that others said was great.  I headed off to sample the “Q” at The Southern Belly BBQ




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The Southern Belly BBQ –


Southern Belly BBQ Entrance and Outdoor Eating Area

The Southern Belly BBQ has three locations in the Columbia, South Carolina area.  I stopped in for a late lunch at their restaurant in Five Points, an interesting entertainment area near the University of South Carolina.

Southern Belly BBQ / Five Points Location


The Southern Belly / Five Points is not a big place.  It has an older looking and rather unimposing facade, It sits back along the western side of Harden Street behind several street-side trees. It’s easy to miss.  Trust me.  I drove past it once even though I was using my GPS.

The interior is warm and cozy. Decor is interesting and visually appealing. It’s a comfortable place to have a drink at the bar, order a sandwich (BBQ of course) and relax.  And that’s exactly what I did.

Comfortable Bar Area


Main Dining Area

Interesting And Appealing Decor

OK – so it’s a nice and comfortable place.  But how about the food?  How about the BBQ? Time to check out the menu – and order up some Southern Style Q.

Barbeque Unleashed?!

Southern Belly Menu


At first glance the menu looks a bit like other Southern BBQ spots I visited.  Only one basic item on the menu – All Sandwiches – All Pulled Pork.  No surprises there – that’s for sure.  But closer inspection reveals that something rather different is going on here. There are a number of specialty sandwiches with names like “D’jango,” “King Kahuna,” and “Southern Belly Dipper” to name a few. The basic foundation of each sandwich is of course – pulled pork.  But beyond that, each specialty sandwich adds various intriguing extras – things like bacon, cheese, grilled onions, pineapple, banana peppers in various combinations and permutations. The list goes on, with each sandwich having it’s own unique pairings  and focus.

If you are a person who tends to be more of an independent, free thinker type – there is also an option beyond the prearranged specialty sandwich lineup.  You can also order up your pulled pork sandwich plain and add you own selection of sauces and toppings.  Again, the list is lengthy and gives lots of room for creativity.  And speaking of sauces – this is not a place which limits you to the basic three – mustard, tomato, vinegar.  No- not at all. There are seven different sauce options with names like Souther Bell-Y, Midas, Rebel Red, Yum Yum and The Dark Side.

My own dining decision was difficult.  So many options sounded oh-so-tempting.  I finally decided to go with the “Traditional” sandwich – described as “traditional closed-pit slow roasted bbq”.  That translates to a plain pulled pork sandwich. It comes with  a side of fries.  That option allowed me to taste the “Q” without it being hidden beneath any sauces or toppings. It gave me a chance to sample their pulled pork “straight up” – with no distractions.  To that I added a side of “dipping sauce”, going with the Yum Yum, described as “An Asian infused funky remoulade, creamy, sweet, and flavorful..”

“Traditional” Pulled Pork Sandwich With Fries

And so the question –  how was it?   The results are in.  It was Delicious!   The ‘straight up” pulled pork was tasty, moist and tender.  A great sandwich by itself and the most enjoyable pulled pork I’ve tasted.  But then the sauce – The Yum Yum Sauce.  Dip that delicious pulled pork into the Yum Yum sauce and Wow!   Magic happens. Taste Bud Heaven.   Yes, it was good.  Really, really good.


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BBQ Done Southern Style ——– Bottom Line ———-

Southern Style (Columbia) BBQ is different from KC BBQ for sure.  It’s strictly pulled pork and typically comes in various sauce bases. Mustard based and vinegar based seem to be the favorites in the south.  This type of pulled pork is good.  But to my KC BBQ way of thinking it is not great. BUT, if you search around a bit you can find some BBQ in Columbia which is truly distinctive and delicious.  On that note I would suggest you check out the pulled pork at The Southern Belly.  I’m really glad I did.  And I will return to sample more the next time I find myself in Columbia, South Carolina. My only problem will be deciding what sauces and toppings to add to the pulled pork foundation.




                                                               AND ENJOY THE ADVENTURE!



Want To Read About Great Kansas City BBQ?  Try These Articles –

Luther’s BBQ                                  Woodyard BBQ



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