Fill up on fresh-cooked Southern comfort food at Port Royal’s new Smokin’ Planks BBQ

in Lunch Bunch by

By Pamela Brownstein
When I first heard the building that once housed the cute coffee shop in Port Royal was being turned into a barbecue restaurant, I was skeptical. Would they be able to pull off the transformation?
Any reservations I might have had were tossed out the window when the Lunch Bunch ate at the new Smokin’ Planks BBQ last week. The interior looks good, and they are in the process of setting up picnic tables for an outdoor seating area. And the food is pretty outstanding.

At far right, Smokin’ Planks owner Larry Plank rests his hands on the shoulders of his wife, Nancy. Seated is their daughter, Brooke Plank-Buccola, who also works at the restaurant, and standing is manager Joe Abell.

Owner and chef Larry Plank described their food: “Everything is cooked naked,” meaning customers add their own sauces to the meat and fish. “We want you to taste what you are already getting,” he said. The variety of barbecue sauces include Original, Golden, Spicy Vinegar and Citrus Chipolte.
Buck tried the half chicken platter with a side of barbecue beans and corn on the cob. The chicken was smoked and tender — and huge, even though it was only a half. Buck said the chicken was delicious, and he liked it with the Original sauce.
David chose the smoked salmon special with a side of mac n’ cheese and a corn on the cob. His fish was flaky with a smoky flavor and so good. The corn on the cob was tasty too, with a grilled glaze on it.
Elizabeth ordered the pulled pork sandwich, served on Texas toast, with a side of red rice and a bag of chips. While the rest of us were chatting and sampling each other’s dishes, Elizabeth was quickly inhaling her food. Her entire plate was literally clean; she ate everything, and said the Spicy Vinegar sauce was her favorite.

Half chicken platter.

Kim had the full rack of beef ribs, and these babies were giant. She called them caveman-sized ribs, and even

Full rack of beef ribs.

though they were messy, she couldn’t stop eating them.
I tried the smoked shrimp salad special, that was shrimp salad on a bed of greens, as well as a side of mac n’ cheese. We all agreed that the mac n’ cheese (which I also ordered as a side) was a must-have. I have tried many a mac n’ cheese in my day, and this the quintessential comfort food — big noodles and a blend of melted cheese — was excellent, some of the best in town.
Even though we were all so full, we had to try the desserts — mini funnel cakes drizzled with chocolate (seriously awesome) and little s’mores bars that were just sinfully good.
I liked the touches that give Smokin’ Planks a homey-barbecue-joint feel, such as Cheerwine soda at the drink fountain and the big slices of Texas toast that come with almost every meal.
Smokin’ Planks BBQ is located at 914 Paris Avenue, Port Royal, SC, and is open Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Call 843-522-0322. Follow them on Facebook for information about upcoming events as well as daily specials.