Queuing up for Q at Big D’s new location in Conway

Gut Reaction for Aug. 8, 2013

For Weekly SurgeAugust 6, 2013 

Dine at the trough or carry dinner home. Photo by Becky Billingsley for Weekly Surge.

PICASA

Big D’s BBQ Trough is at 2917 Church St. in Conway, and the number is 365-7485. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays and from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.

Setting the Table

Thirty-one years after opening the venerable Big D’s BBQ Barn at Fantasy Harbour in Myrtle Beach, back in the days when Waccamaw Pottery was a prime shopping destination, Russell Davis and Kay Davis opened a second location in Conway called Big D’s BBQ Trough.

The original Big D’s is still thriving, although I’m sure the Davises miss extra traffic from the shopping center, the Fantasy Harbour shows (only Medieval Times survives) and the nearby amusement park that lasted two seasons. The new Big D’s BBQ Trough likely gets some impulse stops from people visiting the nearby Conway Wal-Mart, but it is its own destination for those who appreciate tasty Q and southern cooking.

The location is off the west end of Church Street (a.k.a. U.S. 501) in the former Seafood Shack restaurant, and the Davises remodeled the interior with sunny yellow paint and a countrified décor that includes oak tables and an abundance of whimsical pig figurines.

Down the Hatch

Most visitors feed at the buffet trough, which is $8.60 at lunch or $11.50 at supper for people ages 11 and older; $6.50 for children ages 5-10; and free for little squealers ages 4 and younger. The prices include self-serve tea or soft drinks.

First on the line are white rice and chicken bog, and the bog is well seasoned with just the right amount of stickiness to the rice. For the uninitiated, chicken bog is a beloved local dish of rice, chicken and smoked sausage with regional culinary roots hearkening to the 17th century.

It’s useful to know that sauces including a spicy red barbecue sauce, gravies, barbecue hash (sort of like Brunswick Stew without the veggies, and with pork instead of chicken) and the juice in which the barbecue chicken is cooked, are placed in the buffet line before the barbecue. That’s because the barbecue is pre-sauced either with mustard or vinegar sauce.

If you want extra sauce on your Q, there are little plastic ramekins to hold it. Or you could go backwards against the line (not recommended if it’s busy) to ladle sauce directly on the meat.

My friends and I tried the mustard and the vinegar barbecues and enjoyed both; I lean a little more partial to the mustard version because of the sauce’s appealing mellow flavor (as opposed to the tangier vinegar one) and pleasing juiciness. There’s a big bowl of creamy chopped slaw, with a kiss of vinegar twang, at the end of the buffet line; many locals like scooping slaw directly on top of their barbecue.

I was too busy savoring the Q, but my dining buddies also had fried chicken, which they said was excellent with a crunchy exterior and moist ‘n’ juicy meat. A steaming pan of heavily sauced barbecue chicken looked alluring.

I did sample several of the sides. Barbecue hash was full of flavor and awesome on top of rice; macaroni and cheese is the good old baked southern version that isn’t too gooey or too dry; a lima bean/pea combo, and steamed cabbage, were full of buttery yumminess; and cornbread was freshly baked and moist.

More dishes I didn’t have room for are green peas, green beans, baked beans, biscuits and banana pudding.

Two dishes I tried and wasn’t in love with are the sweet potato casserole, which was super-sweet; and sweet potato pudding, which had a strong ginger flavor and was the sludgy consistency of pudding skin. Normally I love most anything containing sweet potatoes.

Check, please

Barbecue pork and chicken sandwiches are available at $3.25 apiece (add a dime for slaw), and carryout orders include a whole chicken or a pound of barbecue for $8.75, pints of vegetables for $3.50 each, and to-go plates of one meat and two vegetables for $6.50.

I’d definitely go back, especially for the mustard barbecue.

Becky Billingsley serves up fresh news daily at MyrtleBeachRestaurantNews.com.

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