Backyard Eats

In Adair Park, RODNEY SCOTT’S WHOLE HOG BBQ serves bold South Carolina flavor in finger-licking-good style

“Every day is a good day.” It’s the slogan that legendary pitmaster Rodney Scott has lived by for decades, and it holds true at the newly opened Adair Park, Atlanta, location of famed barbecue joint Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ.

In partnership with Nick Pihakis, the restaurant serves major flavor in an assortment of plates including pit-cooked chicken, steak, “these ain’t no babies” ribs, the famed whole-hog pork offerings plus more. Sides such as baked beans, collard greens, hush puppies and creamy mac and cheese give a true Southern welcome, while the vinegar-based barbecue sauce taps into Scott’s Eastern South Carolina roots.

The largest of his three locations, the Atlanta restaurant is also the only one with the pit located inside the kitchen—crowned the “pitchen.” Once an old repair station, the structure reminds Scott of his childhood and barbecue beginnings. With that in mind, keep an eye—or nose—open for the smell of approval upon entering Rodney Scott’s. According to the pitmaster, that’s the first sign barbecue lovers should look for when trying a new establishment. “There’s an aroma when you first walk in the door, if you don’t catch it outside, that will tell you, ‘This place has good barbecue,’” says Scott.

And if the smoky aroma, the inviting environment that mirrors Sunday suppers at grandma’s, or even Scott’s James Beard Award haven’t assured that this barbecue hotspot is the real deal, it won’t take long to get there. As for what’s next, the pitmaster has ambitious goals of opening a Rodney Scott’s on every corner of the U.S. In the meantime, however, Scott says he’ll content himself with “a sigh of appreciation, a deep breath that says hard work does pay off, and most importantly, keeping my foot on the gas and not letting up.”