Home Team BBQ Pulled Chicken Platter

what: Pulled Chicken Platter

cost: $13.95

where: Home Team BBQ Columbia, 700 Harden St.

The new Five Points outpost of the Charleston-based micro-chain has a steady stream of salivating Columbians queuing up to chow down, catch games and schmooze with family and friends.

Is the buzziest restaurant opening of the year worthy of all the hype? Do pigs like wallowing in the mud to keep cool? Home Team serves up some of South Carolina’s finest barbecue, and in a state with a 220-plus stop barbecue trail, that’s hefty praise.

I am not above doing a two-a-day lunch and dinner here. It literally takes all the willpower a carnivore can summon to walk by the place without heading inside, especially if one catches a whiff of the intoxicating scent emanating from the trailer-mounted smoker in the parking lot.

When people in South Carolina talk barbecue, they’re almost always talking pork, but Home Team is an equal-opportunity barbecue joint and I was hankering for chicken bursting with smoky flavor. It’s so good I’ve had it three days in a row now. Ready to get saucy? You can see the seeds in their mustard sauce, and it packs a bit of kick. This isn’t just a lazy honeyed sauce to make dry meat tangy — it’s real deal mustard. If that’s not up your alley, there’s a good chance the six-condiment strong sauce caddy has your slather of choice, although there is no Alabama white sauce.

So, grab your crew, head over and remember to root, root, root for the home team. If they don’t win it’s a shame, but at least you’ll clean your plate.

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