On March 6th, MDP & the Southern Foodways Alliance gave folks at the Charleston Food & Wine Festival a sneak peek at their latest short documentary. The film CUT/CHOP/COOK, a profile of pitmaster Rodney Scott of Scott’s Barbecue in Hemingway, South Carolina, was produced and directed by MDP’s Joe York in association with the Union Square Hospitality Group and will officially debut at the 2010 Big Apple Barbecue Block Party in New York. We’d like to offer a very special thanks to the good folks at Jim ‘N Nicks Barbecue, who hosted the event which featured the sneak peek. Though we weren’t able to attend the event, the reviews have been amazing. Here’s a great one from Libby Wiersema of SCNow.com:
“The Pee Dee was the unexpected star of the show when the Charleston Wine + Food Festival presented the Pitmaster’s Bourbon & Q Dinner at Jim ’N Nick’s Bar-B-Q on March 6.
Sold-out themed dinners were packing dining rooms throughout the historic district and this popular eatery in the heart of King Street was no different. Guests were greeted at the door with sugar-rimmed glasses of bourbon and led to their assigned seats. In less than half-an-hour, every table and booth was brimming with fun-loving foodies. New friendships were struck and laughter abounded as the bourbon flowed and diners nibbled on pickled shrimp, boiled peanuts and pork rinds.
I was seated across from cookbook author Ted Lee, who was dispelling myths about Bobby Flay’s arrogance (apparently Flay is the “nicest, kindest” food personality on the planet, according to Lee) when the first hint that some home flavor was on the menu came parading through the dining room. The front door swung wide, and two brawny men in red T-shirts advertising Scott’s Bar-B-Que in Hemingway made their way carefully through the narrow aisles bearing a sizzling hog. All eyes were fixed upon the scene. Mouths gaped. Applause rang out. Then they disappeared into the kitchen.
About that time, platters of Jim ’N Nick’s garlicky pork hot links, pimento cheese and liver mousse with wood-grilled bread were laid before us and we dug in, the meat parade forgotten for the time-being. That was followed by trays of freshly roasted Folly River oysters, tender and sweet. All that shucking called for another round of tasty bourbon cocktails, artfully concocted by two of the evening’s guests, Greg Best of Atlanta’s Holeman and Finch Public House and Julian Van Winkle of Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery in Kentucky.
A rowdiness was pervading the atmosphere by the time the course ended. The decibel levels were stretching the limits, and conversations were being shouted. A bluegrass trio was in full swing — if there’d been room to dance, I’m sure some clogging would have accompanied. I noticed a couple of guys struggling to erect a projector screen in front of the door. They didn’t seriously think they could rein this crowd in long enough to show a film, did they? Oh yes they did. But it wasn’t until the first few frames flickered that things started to quiet down. There on the screen was one of the meat bearers from Hemingway. His name is a familiar one in the Pee Dee — Rodney Scott — and the film was a documentary tribute to the way he does business.
I am not kidding when I say that there was perfect silence in that dining room as we witnessed what I can only describe as Scott’s amazing labor of love. As we watched him harvest wood with a chainsaw, stoke fires and flip hogs on his custom cookers, there was a palpable sense of awe developing amongst us. When Scott applied sauce to the hog using a kitchen mop, the entire audience erupted into mad applause. They were tickled by the down-home testimonials of local Scott’s Bar-B-Que patrons. Scott, who was watching from a corner with us, laughed as well, clearly caught up in the building enthusiasm of his newest fan base.
The film faded to black, and as difficult as it was in the cramped space of the room, the awestruck diners leaped to their feet, roaring and shouting and applauding this Pee Dee pitmaster. Crowds of people — many of whom have never heard of the Pee Dee — moved in to shake this man’s callused hands. They hugged him, pounded his back like old friends, asked for autographs, took photographs. When I asked Scott how it felt to be the star of the show, he beamed and said, “Man, it’s unreal. I never thought I’d be here in Charleston and be part of this festival like this. I just can’t believe it.”
Minutes later, plates of Anson Mills grits topped with heaping portions of Scott’s succulent pig were served. Our empty plates seemed a fitting expression of the love we all felt that night for this local barbecue phenomenon.