First Look: Acclaimed pitmaster opens Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ

Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ is now open in the Pittsburgh neighborhood near West End in Atlanta, with offerings that include (top row, from left) Collard Greens, Sweet Tea, Ella's Banana Puddin'; (middle row, from left) Pit Cooked 1/2 Bird (chicken) with pork skins and coleslaw, Rod's Original Whole Hog Pork Sandwich "The King of the Menu" with mac and cheese; (bottom row, from left) Pit Cooked Pork Spare Ribs, Pit Cooked Pulled Pork sandwich with tomato cucumber side (seasonal) and baked beans. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

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Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ is now open in the Pittsburgh neighborhood near West End in Atlanta, with offerings that include (top row, from left) Collard Greens, Sweet Tea, Ella's Banana Puddin'; (middle row, from left) Pit Cooked 1/2 Bird (chicken) with pork skins and coleslaw, Rod's Original Whole Hog Pork Sandwich "The King of the Menu" with mac and cheese; (bottom row, from left) Pit Cooked Pork Spare Ribs, Pit Cooked Pulled Pork sandwich with tomato cucumber side (seasonal) and baked beans. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

In March, his cookbook, “Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ” (Clarkson Potter, $29.99), was released to great acclaim. And last week, the third Rodney Scott’s BBQ restaurant opened at MET Atlanta on Metropolitan Parkway in southwest Atlanta.

The nearly 6,000-square-foot space, which was once a car repair shop, underwent an extensive adaptive reuse renovation. It features two spacious indoor dining areas, a full bar, a screened patio, and a walk-up window for carryout orders. The state-of-the-art kitchen includes an indoor pit room with four custom-designed wood-burning pits.

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What's now Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in the Pittsburgh neighborhood near West End in Atlanta was once a car repair shop. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

What's now Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in the Pittsburgh neighborhood near West End in Atlanta was once a car repair shop. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

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What's now Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in the Pittsburgh neighborhood near West End in Atlanta was once a car repair shop. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Scott’s hard-won success story began when he was just 11 years old, cooking whole hogs over hardwood coals at his family’s Hemingway, South Carolina, restaurant, where he continued to work for some 25 years.

But in 2017, he partnered with Nick Pihakis founder of Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q and now CEO of Pihakis Restaurant Group, to open the first Rodney Scott’s BBQ in Charleston, South Carolina, followed by a second Rodney Scott’s BBQ in Birmingham, Alabama.

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James Beard Award-winning pitmaster Rodney Scott has just opened Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in the Pittsburgh neighborhood near West End in Atlanta. He also has restaurants in Charleston, S.C., and Birmingham, Ala. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

James Beard Award-winning pitmaster Rodney Scott has just opened Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in the Pittsburgh neighborhood near West End in Atlanta. He also has restaurants in Charleston, S.C., and Birmingham, Ala. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

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James Beard Award-winning pitmaster Rodney Scott has just opened Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in the Pittsburgh neighborhood near West End in Atlanta. He also has restaurants in Charleston, S.C., and Birmingham, Ala. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Shortly before he cut the ribbon to open the Atlanta location for the first time, Scott sat down at a table on the patio and talked a bit about the newest venture.

“I had no idea about this side of Atlanta, and didn’t know a whole lot about the city, and then we came over here and I thought this place was perfect,” Scott said. “It was a huge garage and shop, and now it’s our biggest operation so far, and it’s the most advanced, yet.

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210727: Atlanta, Ga. (Pittsburgh neighborhood near West End): Ella's Banana Puddin'. Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in the Pittsburgh neighborhood near West End in Atlanta Ga. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

210727: Atlanta, Ga. (Pittsburgh neighborhood near West End): Ella's Banana Puddin'. Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in the Pittsburgh neighborhood near West End in Atlanta Ga. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

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210727: Atlanta, Ga. (Pittsburgh neighborhood near West End): Ella's Banana Puddin'. Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in the Pittsburgh neighborhood near West End in Atlanta Ga. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

“We care about our people, and we wanted to make sure the pit wasn’t as hot as it is at our other operations. The pits and firebox are inside, so it’s a lot more convenient. It’s cooler. It’s not as smoky. And it’s a lot more comfortable.”

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Pulled Pork Sandwich, with sides of baked beans and tomato cucumber salad (a seasonal offering), at Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in Atlanta. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Pulled Pork Sandwich, with sides of baked beans and tomato cucumber salad (a seasonal offering), at Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in Atlanta. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

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Pulled Pork Sandwich, with sides of baked beans and tomato cucumber salad (a seasonal offering), at Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in Atlanta. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Asked for his take on the current emphasis on community-based and Black-owned businesses, Scott answered in personal terms.

“I’m Rodney Scott. I happen to be Black,” he said. “We’re in a neighborhood where obviously a lot of people look like me. But at the same time, we have room for everybody at our table.

“Barbecue for me is universal. It’s where people always come together. That’s the one time that nothing else matters, except what time is the food ready? We do have a multicultural partnership here, but to me, that makes it all the better.”

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Rod's Original Whole Hog Pork Sandwich "The King of the Menu," shown with mac and cheese, at Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in Atlanta. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Rod's Original Whole Hog Pork Sandwich "The King of the Menu," shown with mac and cheese, at Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in Atlanta. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

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Rod's Original Whole Hog Pork Sandwich "The King of the Menu," shown with mac and cheese, at Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in Atlanta. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

While Scott is best known for his way with whole hog barbecue, the menu has continued to grow over the years.

“The menu that you see here now is pretty much the menu that you see in the Charleston and Birmingham locations, but the menu has evolved since Hemingway,” Scott said. “When I was in Hemingway, I cooked hogs and chickens. That was it. Then we moved on to hogs, chickens, beans, coleslaw, and then we added sweet tea, and we did steaks on Saturdays.

“Now we’re at a point that we have catfish, burgers, turkey, brisket. But we put some things together that just complement the whole hog. We kind of centered the whole hog in all of our ingredients, and added sides and other dishes to the menu. We even added salads as an option.”

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Though Rodney Scott is best known for his way with whole hog barbecue, his menu has grown over the years. Here is the 1/2 Bird Chicken plate with sides of skins and coleslaw at Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in Atlanta, his newest restaurant. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Though Rodney Scott is best known for his way with whole hog barbecue, his menu has grown over the years. Here is the 1/2 Bird Chicken plate with sides of skins and coleslaw at Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in Atlanta, his newest restaurant. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

caption arrowCaption
Though Rodney Scott is best known for his way with whole hog barbecue, his menu has grown over the years. Here is the 1/2 Bird Chicken plate with sides of skins and coleslaw at Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in Atlanta, his newest restaurant. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Adding a full-service bar has been another important part of the evolution of the concept. Though the bar isn’t open in Atlanta, yet, the menu will have a focus on whiskey and agave-based spirits, and include cocktails, canned wine, and draft beer.

“Adding the bar was a big plus, because, again, that was something that I never knew a lot about in Hemingway,” Scott said. “We have a full bar in Birmingham, as well, so you can get your drinks at the bar, and you can order your food at the bar.”

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Of course, you'll find Spare Ribs (pork) at Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in Atlanta. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Of course, you'll find Spare Ribs (pork) at Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in Atlanta. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

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Of course, you'll find Spare Ribs (pork) at Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in Atlanta. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Scott’s motto is “Every Day Is a Good Day.” He said he believes barbecue will save the world. And opening in Atlanta is another part of that journey now.

“It’s humbling,” Scott said. “It’s a feeling of the next step, and it’s an accomplishment. I don’t think the dictionary has any words to tell you how good I feel, or to describe what I feel on the inside right now with this happening in a major city.

“But still, it’s kind of where I started, in an old gas station, where I grew up in the family business. And here we are again, in an old service station, creating the same thing all over again.”

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Rodney Scott and City Councilwoman Joyce Sheperd pose for a post-ribbon cutting photo as Scott opens his Atlanta location of Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in the Pittsburgh neighborhood near West End on Tuesday, July 27, 2021. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Rodney Scott and City Councilwoman Joyce Sheperd pose for a post-ribbon cutting photo as Scott opens his Atlanta location of Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in the Pittsburgh neighborhood near West End on Tuesday, July 27, 2021. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

caption arrowCaption
Rodney Scott and City Councilwoman Joyce Sheperd pose for a post-ribbon cutting photo as Scott opens his Atlanta location of Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in the Pittsburgh neighborhood near West End on Tuesday, July 27, 2021. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

DINING OUT

11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Sundays.

Dine-in, takeout.

668 Metropolitan Parkway, Atlanta. 678-855-7377, rodneyscottsbbq.com.

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