In much of South Carolina, rice is the default accompaniment to pork barbecue, but hoecakes are on a roll in Middle Tennessee, in part because of the influence of pitmaster Pat Martin.
Martin, who this month on James Island opened his 10th Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint, more than a decade ago introduced the cornmeal discs at his first restaurant in Nolensville, Tenn.
Writing for Gourmet magazine, columnist John T. Edge in 2008 noted that hoecakes took the place of buns throughout “north-central Tennessee, especially around Nashville, as well as south-central Kentucky, especially around Bowling Green.” Still, he singled out Martin’s open-faced sandwich, sold as a “redneck taco.”
The Food Network-famous redneck tacos, sauced and slawed, are now a fixture of every Martin’s menu. But customers are no longer limited to pork. At the James Island location, hoecake fans have their pick of brisket, turkey, sausage, chicken and catfish.
Other dishes on the expansive menu include ribs (both spare and baby backs), wings, burgers, four different salads and, on Sundays, coconut cake. A single hoecake costs $2.29.
Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint, 1622 Highland Ave., is open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. For more information, call 843-790-0838 or go to martinsbbqjoint.com.