Monday, November 12, 2012

Barbecue's "Golden Secret"

Melvin's  barbecue sandwich topped with the "golden secret" sauce. (Photo by Denny Culbert/ The Barbecue Bus) 

Bessinger, certainly the most famous surname in South Carolina barbecue. Mustard sauce, Piggy Park. Icons of South Carolina history and culture and Bessinger family inventions.

One of fourteen children born to Mack Bessinger, restaurant patriarch Joseph Jacob, was known as ‘Big Joe.’ He moved from the family farm near Orangeburg to open the Holly Hill CafĂ© in 1939. There, together with the Sweatman family, he concocted a mustard-based barbecue sauce, owning to their shared German roots. That “Golden Secret,” as the Bessingers call it, became the state’s signature sauce.

Melvin Bessinger, like most of his ten siblings, followed his father into the barbecue business. In 1961, with another brother, Melvin opened his first barbecue restaurant in west Charleston. Three decades later, Melvin split off to found his own barbecue joint. Today, third-generation barbecue entrepreneur, David Bessinger, maintains the Bessinger family tradition.

— Rien Fertel/ The Barbecue Bus

Melvin’s Legendary Bar-B-Q
538 Folly Road
Charleston, SC 29412
(843) 762-0511