LATTA, SC (WMBF) - Whether you love barbeque or just southern country cooking, everyone from judges to locals would urge you to stop by Shuler's BBQ.
The family-owned buffet is located in Latta on Highway 38, just a few miles from Interstate 95. WMBF News Anchor Michael Maely recently sat down at the famous restaurant to see what goes into the flavor and the fanfare.
And he certainly wasn't disappointed.
"I've never seen nothing like this," exclaim Shuler's BBQ employee Willie Fore. "The fun is standing here watching it roll and cook."
He was talking about the Monster. It's a unique and gigantic rotisserie. During Michael's visit, it was cooking up 800 pounds of pork barbeque for 13 hours. It's so popular that was all gone by the weekend.
And the Monster cooks ribs too!
Norton Hughes, co-owner of Shuler's, instructed us, "When you pick it up if it bends over it's done."
We quickly learned Norton is a specialist. "I always tell them if the fat isn't dripping on the coals it's smoked meat and not bbq," Norton said.
While spinning in the Monster, the ribs get a dry rub, but Norton likes to use his Dad's Shuler's Sauce on the pork.
Norton hinted that the sauce contains "vinegar, some mustard, spices and a couple other things I can't tell you that make it different than everybody else's.
The Shuler's Sauce is added repeatedly before the meat is placed in the fridge and reheated. It's an extra step for extra flavor.
Shuler's co-owner Lynn Hughes said, "He would cook and people would say 'Man, you really need to open up a restaurant, you really need to do this.'"
So Lynn said she pushed her husband to open Shuler's in 1996. They even named their young son after the business, a truly family-driven business. Lynn trade in her Master's degree in Education and Teaching and Norton let go of his real estate business for the award winning barbeque - barbeque judges say is worth a 100 mile drive.
And though the barbeque is what they're famous for, it's not the only delectable item on their menu. The entirely homemade buffet includes biscuits, peach cobbler, blueberry cake, bread pudding, fresh collards, macaroni, rutabagas, fried chicken and fried corn.
"Did you ever have an idea it would turn into something as big as it is now?" Michael Maely asked the owners.
"Never, I can remember standing and looking at the original room, looking out the window and saying well if it doesn't make it we can always live here, we can make our house out of it," they replied.
Michael Maely sampled all the delicious food that's cooked up in the Shuler's BBQ kitchen and well, "This is good stuff. It's well worth the trip. Tangy, succulent, everything, you guys do know what you're doing."
And hundreds of weekly customers agree. They come from all over to enjoy the barbeque as you can see from the international currency that's posted on the restaurant's walls.
But more than money, Norton and his wife say their greatest compliment is a clean plate.
"Having people walk out and tell me their miserable, you know they're walking out rubbing their stomachs and saying I'm miserable and I say I know I've done good, that's the best compliment you can get," Norton admits.
The Shuler's buffet is $12.98 including everything. They open at 4:30 pm.. every Thursday through Saturday but patrons usually line up an hour early.
They do a smaller lunch menu on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.