Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ in Charleston, SC in 2017 was born out of a friendship between Rodney Scott and Nick Pihakis and their mutual respect for the time and technique required to make great barbecue.
Every day is a good day
Although they sold local produce and cold drinks throughout the week, every single Thursday they they did a little something extra: the Scott’s smoked whole hogs.
Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ in Charleston, SC in 2017 was born out of a friendship between Rodney Scott and Nick Pihakis and their mutual respect for the time and technique required to make great barbecue. Understanding the history of the craft, the difference it makes in flavor profiles to cook over live coal direct heat, and the dying art of whole hog barbecue is what drives them. Hardwood is burned down to glowing embers at the side of the bbq pits. Those embers are shoveled carefully under the meat and tended—paying special attention to temperature and heat placement—using those coals to regulate cooking through the entire process.
The work is smoky, difficult and satisfying but turning the craft into a business is a way to ensure the survival of an important part of history and a traditional cooking technique that imparts a very unique flavor into meats. With Rodney Scott’s BBQ restaurants in Charleston, SC, Birmingham, AL and Atlanta, GA, there are pitmasters who are trained in the same way that Rodney Scott has been working the pits since he was a kid. In addition to serving outstanding food, Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ is committed to passing on the enjoyment, education and tradition of whole hog bbq to new generations.
Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ
"There are no strangers at Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ. Everyone has a seat at our table.
Our customers are family. Our crew is family. We are all family, spreading food,
spreading love, and having fun. The glass is always half full here."
The blending of Rodney Scott’s BBQ and The Pihakis Restaurant Group began as an evolution. The relationship started as a friendship—one where thoughts on technique and business practices led to a partnership. PRG is interested in uplifting and preserving generational restaurants that have roots in traditional cooking using an eye to the future to create sustainable businesses. “Rodney Scott has been cooking Whole Hog BBQ since he was 11 years old and I’m interested in helping preserve the technique as well as spreading the education for generations to come.”
– Nick Pihakis, founder, Pihakis Restaurant Group
Founder and CEO, Pihakis Restaurant Group
Nick Pihakis began working in restaurants when he was 19 years old and started his Birmingham based barbecue business, Jim N Nick’s Bar-B-Q, with his father Jim, 30 years ago. Nick believes in creating community gathering places that offer great food, drinks with an opportunity for employees to grow. He is inspired by travel and the creative minds that he meets along the way and that curiosity coupled with his entrepreneur’s spirit is what fuels Nick’s energy for building teams and dynamic brands. Nick is a proud supporter of the Southern Foodways Alliance and The Jones Valley Urban Teaching Farm. Nick was nominated for the James Beard Foundation’s award for Best Restaurateur in 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015. It is Nick’s ability to identify enthusiasm, authenticity and business opportunity that inspired him to create The Pihakis Restaurant Group in 2017.
Founder Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ 2018 Winner James Beard Award for Best Chef, Southeast
Rodney Scott has been cooking whole-hog barbecue, over wood coals burned down from hardwood, since he was in middle school. For the next 25 years he worked with his family in their bbq stop in Hemingway, SC until 2017 when he partnered with the Pihakis Group—including chef Paul Yeck and seasoned restaurateur, Nick Pihakis—to open Rodney Scott’s BBQ in the North Central neighborhood of Charleston, SC. In their very first year of operation the restaurant was named one the 50 Best New Restaurants by Bon Appetit Magazine and in 2018, Rodney Scott was awarded the James Beard Foundation’s award for Outstanding Chef Southeast.
In 2019 Rodney Scott’s BBQ opened a second location in Birmingham, AL bringing whole-hog, South Carolina-style barbecue to a different part of the South with plans for a second Birmingham restaurant and an Atlanta outpost already underway. The popular, expanded menu includes classic sides like potato salad, cole slaw, baked beans, collard greens and hushpuppies while offering fresh salads, burgers, smoked chicken wings and fried catfish among other favorites.
Rodney’s hard work, friendly manner and respect from his peers has offered Rodney many opportunities to travel around the world and cook alongside chefs and pitmasters in New York City, Belize, Uruguay, France and Australia. He has been featured on popular television shows with the likes of Andrew Zimmern, and Anthony Bourdain and recently appeared on The Today Show helping Al Roker feed folks affected by devastating tornadoes in Alabama. Rodney’s attitude is contagious and while Rodney Scott’s BBQ nourishes the body through great food, the spirit of generosity and positive attitudes expressed through the restaurant’s environment—the great music, vibe and motto painted directly on the wall, “Every Day is a Good Day” lifts the spirits of every customer.
Executive Chef & Chief Operating Officer Pihakis Restaurant Group
Growing up in Oxford, Mississippi, Paul Yeck attended the University of Mississippi where he earned a degree in business before going on to study at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. He worked in New York before taking a chef position with the dynamic group of restaurants led by Chef Jose Andres where he worked from 2008-2013. In 2013 Paul returned to the South—relocating to Birmingham, Alabama to begin working as Chef de Cuisine at Bottega Dining Room and Café. In 2016 Paul became Executive Chef and Chief Operating Officer of The Pihakis Restaurant Group and enjoys the diversity of culinary technique and team building opportunities that the family of restaurants provides as well as the opportunity to create meaningful brands that create community spaces.
Growing up in Birmingham, Alabama—a city famous for great, family-owned restaurants, Tec knows about the great experiences created when communities of people come together to enjoy good food. A former Army, and later, civilian medical helicopter pilot and flight instructor, Cutcliffe understands the importance of organization and timing essential to success in any endeavor. Tec began working with Rodney Scott’s BBQ supervising both the Birmingham, Alabama and Charleston, South Carolina operations and now is the Operating Partner for Rodney Scott’s BBQ in the Carolinas.
Pihakis Restaurant Group brands—Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ, Little Donkey Mexican Restaurant, Hero Doughnuts and Hot Dog Pete’s—are restaurants with menus that celebrate great food, born from regional traditions, in approachable and fun spaces that uplift family businesses and create opportunity for growth and great work environments.