Dukes takes the ‘que out of quirky

Aiken location is highly polished operation

Photos by Michael Stern
Photos by Michael Stern
Avatar photo
Avatar photo

People who enjoy eating barbecue also like the restaurants that make it. The appeal of so many esteemed places goes beyond appreciation of meat cooked right. Favorites throughout the South and Southwest, and in some Midwestern cities, are known for their character. That’s a blend of location, dining facilities (or lack of them), décor (or lack of it), and the restaurant’s general demeanor.

The most beloved barbecues are anything but upscale. I’m thinking of Texas meat markets where you eat unsauced brisket off sheets of butcher paper, of “aquarium smokers” on the South Side of Chicago that guarantee the safety of their staff with bulletproof order windows, of Scott’s Bar-B-Q, 40 years ago when it was just small-town Scott’s, and of countless shacks, stands, trailers, and storefronts where skilled pitmasters are aristocracy in aprons and overalls.

blue-line

This article is included for paying subscribers.

BECOME A SUBSCRIBER

Help us cover food and drink across the American South as though it mattered as much as crime and politics (because it does.)