Rodney Scott smoked his first hog when he was 11 years old. His family owned a convenience store in Hemingway, South Carolina, and on Thursdays, his father would cook whole hogs over hardwood coals. Years later, James Beard Award-winning Scott still cooks that way—at his restaurants in Charleston, Birmingham, and come April, Atlanta. Rodney Scott’s BBQ will open in the historic MET development in Adair Park (680 Murphy Avenue Southwest), alongside a coffee and cocktail bar and the Mammal Gallery.
“My food is my life growing up,” Scott says. “From the cornbread to the smoked chicken, it’s all based on the flavors I remember as a child.”
These flavors come to life in the restaurant menu, which features everything from ribs and pulled pork to turkey and wings.
“We’re vinegar based, bringing an Eastern South Carolina coast flavor into Atlanta. It’s different than what people will be used to,” Scott says.
Below, he shares more about what makes his barbecue unique.
What makes your whole hog barbecue so special?
We get the whole hog butterflied down the middle. While the wood is burning down in hot coals, we load the hog meat-down with no seasonings and put hot coals under its hands and shoulders to cook. After 12 hours, we flip it and season it with hog rub and Rodney’s Sauce. We let it cook through for 30 minutes to an hour and then pull the pork.
What’s your favorite menu item?
The steak sandwich is a hidden gem. It marinates overnight. We smoke the whole loin, then cool it down, slice it, and finish it like a Philly cheesesteak with onion, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise.
Tell us about your sauces.
Rodney’s Sauce is the vinegar, cayenne, and black pepper sauce. It’s loose with some color. The other sauce is apple cider vinegar, ketchup and Worchester. The White Rod Sauce is a white sauce with a touch of Rodney’s Sauce flavored in. The Kathy Sauce is a little thicker and sweeter. Most proteins are cooked in Rodney’s Sauce. The others are served on the side.
Will the Atlanta menu differ from the menus at your other locations?
Everything will be the same, but we’re adding some stuff to all the menus: a burger and another salad. The burger is ground chicken with Rodney’s Sauce mixed in, a little rib rub in it, and some cheddar on top.
Why did you choose Atlanta for your latest location?
Atlanta caught my attention in the early ‘80s as an up and coming city. We always said we’d grow the brand. The opportunity for real estate came about, and I was sold. I love the building—the fact that it’s right down the street from Centennial Olympic Park and you have the old Turner Field right down the street. There’s a lot of history. The building where they filmed Ambition and Black Panther is right across the street.
What will the space look like once it’s finished?
It’s 4,000 square feet. It will definitely will have a disco ball in it. That’s my signature thing. As a child in the late ‘70s, a mirrored ball always caught my attention. It’ll be similar to the Charleston building—light blue and white with a full bar and a pickup window. There will be a patio, too.
Come April, will you be in the pit in Atlanta?
When we open, I plan to be in the pit and in the dining room and shaking the hands and greeting all of our guests. I haven’t hired a pitmaster yet.
Any other locations in the works?
It’s my dream to expand everywhere—all over the world. But right now, we’re working on Trussville, Alabama.