|Sawdust covers the floor around the dining tables at Midway BBQ in Buffalo, South Carolina. (Photo by Denny Culbert/ The Barbecue Bus)|
811 Hash Boulevard. If that ain’t the the actual address of Buffalo, South Carolina’s Midway BBQ, it might as well be. Established some time around 1941—the date is sketchy—founder Jack O’Dell was once one of nearly 50 Union County hash houses hurrying out the slow-cooked beef, butter, onion, salt and pepper stew. Today Midway BBQ is the only one remaining.
Growing up in his family’s grocery, the future Hash King first garnered attention as a crackerjack cattle and hog grader and buyer. “When Jack O’Dell walked in the barn,” recounts son-in-law Jay Allen, Midway’s manager since 1994, “you knew the best cows and hogs were going home with him because he only bought the best.” Though O’Dell has long retired, livestock purchases continue to stock Midway’s full-service meat counter (in old-school butcher shop fashion, sawdust still covers the floor), emerge as the hickory-smoked shoulder and ham barbecue, and fill the three 100 gallon hash pots.
“Without hash,” declares “barbecue science engineer” Allen, “we’re done. We’re closed.” Allen, husband of O’Dell’s daughter Amy, Midway’s present owner, says that though “BBQ” styles the business’s signage, the name should read Midway Hash (it should be noted that they also sell a hundred gallons a day of their superb creamy, spicy chicken stew on rainy days). Then naturally, when people ask where to find Midway BBQ, O’Dell responds: “811 Hash Boulevard.”
— Rien Fertel/ The Barbecue Bus
811 Main Street
Buffalo, SC 29321