James Beard Award-winning Rodney Scott is expanding his Charleston institution.
Fresh off of winning a James Beard Award, Rodney Scott has some more good news.
The chef behind Charleston's treasured Rodney Scott BBQ, which earned him the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southeast last week, will be opening a second location in Birmingham, AL, . The pitmaster is partnering with Birmingham restaurateur Nick Pihakis (Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q) and the Pihakis Restaurant Group on the project.
"What made me think about Birmingham is, that city is growing fast," Scott told AL.com in a Monday interview. "It is a beautiful city. The barbecue scene there has always been mentioned to me by people from Birmingham who would come eat here (in Charleston) and tell me, 'Have you ever thought about Birmingham?'"
Indeed, the restaurant scene in Birmingham has garnering (much-deserved) attention, especially with another huge James Beard Award win last week: The city's Highland Bar & Grill took home the top prize for Outstanding Restaurant after nine years of nominations.
"At first, I didn't," Scott continued. "Then, after visiting the city so many times, I thought, 'Why not?' Every time I cook there, the folks seem to enjoy it. So why not just go ahead and give Birmingham a shot?"
Scott is one of the most important pitmasters in the country, and Rodney Scott's BBQ has made Charleston a must-visit destination for whole hogs, his specialty. (He slow-smokes them overnight with hardwood coals, then serves it with a next-level secret sauce passed down in his family.) And don't even think about missing the banana pudding.
Scott opened Rodney Scott's BBQ in Charleston in February 2017, just one year before his historic win; he's the first African-American to win JBF's Best Chef: Southeast and only the second barbecue pitmaster to win any award.
"I'm still trying to gather myself a week later," Scott told AL.com. "I'm still surprised that everything went the way it did. We won the James Beard Award -- you know, a barbecue guy. Unbelievable."