A Good Day
James Beard Award-winning pitmaster and Charleston chef Rodney Scott will debut his 224-page cookbook, Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ: Every Day is a Good Day, March 16. Part cookbook, part autobiography, the book’s first 61 pages share facts and stories about Scott’s humble beginnings in Hemingway, South Carolina, his journey to Charleston to open Rodney Scott’s BBQ and the many people who have influenced his successful culinary career.
Scott first started thinking about putting the recipes he’s learned over the years into a cookbook three years ago, he told the City Paper, and the pandemic gave him the time to sink his teeth into the project with award-winning writer Lolis Eric Elie.
“I started thinking about this cookbook when people started asking, ‘How do you do this? How do you make that?’ (The pandemic) allowed us to be home, and during those times, we took advantage of trying to write the book and talking about recipes we wanted to put in,” said Scott, recalling phone conversations with Elie on his trips between Charleston and Birmingham, Alabama, where his second restaurant is located.
The book is written for barbecue novices and experienced pitmasters alike, with guidelines for building the pit, burn barrel and controlling the fire.
“I kind of wanted to tell the story of how I started and introduce the food along the way. For the beginners, it shows them that it’s not as bad as you think,” said Scott. “I thought that it would be a perfect escape for a lot of backyard cookers.”
Some of the cookbook’s recipes are ones his family taught him back in Hemingway, while others “will be a head-scratcher for those that grew up with me,” Scott said.
“Scott’s loaded pork skin nachos are kind of like what you would get in a bar, but in the Rodney Scott-style,” he said. Another hidden gem, the acclaimed pitmaster pointed out, is the “pork T-bone” recipe he shares halfway through the cookbook.
It’s been a whirlwind year for Scott who, like other independent restaurant owners, had to endure the pandemic-prompted loss of business last spring, only to see his restaurant busier than ever in September after season six of Chef’s Table hit Netflix, dedicating an entire episode to Scott.
“Between the Netflix release and the pandemic, it’s been a rollercoaster,” Scott said. “The pandemic was like a pause, we were scratching our heads, and then it was the sweetness of Netflix which really turned the whole thing around. The drive-thru line was around the street. We saw people taking road trips because of what they saw on Netflix.”
Scott hopes folks enjoy the stories that made him the man he is today and that readers feel inspired to use their extra time at home to host a backyard barbecue. But most of all, Scott wants people to understand the mantra driving him to succeed: “Every day is a good day,” a phrase he learned during a rough patch years ago.
“I noticed when I said it to people, they would have some sort of relief when they heard that.”