Up In Smoke – Ledyard Bar B Que
Ledyard Bar B Que Co. is serving up original, homemade dishes in a beautifully renovated house in Knightsville, SC where the owner prefers everything to be customized; from the smokehouse built to his specifications to the self-taught pitmaster behind the smoker.
Cheyenne Ledyard is the definition of a Southern pitmaster, with an emphasis on “master.” Ledyard Bar-B-Que Company (otherwise known as LBC BBQ) all began with a certain disdain towards mustard, of all things. There are specific events and stepping stones in life that will lead an individual to where they are today, and Cheyenne is no exception. When he was still in diapers as a young boy, his innocence brought him to stand in front of the bright lights of the family refrigerator, where his curiosity took over and led him to take a full bottle of yellow mustard and empty all of its contents into his mouth. Yet not completely disastrous, it was an unfortunate event, and from that day, he would never look at condiments the same way again. Despite the obvious drawbacks to eating a whole bottle of mustard, one might say that it sparked a sort of “butterfly effect” towards the life path Cheyenne would take, and that path has proven to be anything but unfortunate.
Fast-forward a few years to a good old fashioned pig pickin’ in 1998, Ledyard had been a significant member of the food and beverage industry for some time and was invited to help pull apart the meat after it was done cooking. He was more than happy to oblige, and didn’t mind the subtle benefit of sneaking a taste of the pork as he worked. Once the job was complete and all five of his senses had been engaged by the process, he was ready to reap the benefits of his work. Before he could dish out a single piece of unscathed pulled pork onto his plate, the entirety of what was once a whole hog was slathered in mustard-based barbecue sauce and the meal was, in his eyes, ruined. From one mustard-related incident to the next, Cheyenne had a decision to make: to live life without the joy of true Southern barbecue, or to take matters into his own hands, and he chose the latter.
After deciding to forge his own path, Ledyard began to learn everything he could about barbecue. The internet was a fairly new concept at that time, and it was rare to even own a computer. However, being disconnected from the world wide web can prove to have its benefits, and he began to teach himself the old fashioned way–books. After studying the differences in cuts of meat, smoking methods, flavors and fire management, he was soon well-versed in what it took to create the most delicious smoked meats he could. Years of dedication led Cheyenne to an age of enlightenment. In his own words, “Barbecue is like being in a rock band. You have two types of rock bands: one writes and plays their own music, the other is a cover band. I was determined to be the former.” With this in mind, he began to form his unique brand by creating an original dry rub and a signature hickory barbecue sauce. Barbecuing is similar to any artform in that you must learn the proper techniques before mastering the craft, and Cheyenne is the first to admit that he did things a little backwards when it comes to perfecting his profession. His opinion aligns with many pitmasters that came before him in that there are two sides to proper barbecuing; one being the flavors behind your meat, which are important, but not as imperative as having a full understanding of what can be summed up as “heat management” as it pertains to the actual cooking process. He made his dry rub and barbecue sauce first, but that didn’t hinder him from seeing the importance behind the way the meat is cooked. For example, using gas and electric cooking methods lead not to barbecue, but to “faux-que,” in Ledyard’s words. Where the wood comes from is not a detail to overlook either, as the wood chips from hickory, apple, cherry, or pecan trees will each significantly impact the flavor of the final product in their own way. Another essential factor in the barbecue world is the temperature in which the meat is cooked; keeping the heat consistent is something that is often overlooked, but not by Cheyenne. He has learned, after years of practice, trial and error, that all of these factors combined is the secret to perfection.
Perfectionism is not inherent, it is earned, and through years of determination Cheyenne Ledyard has perfected his recipes, smoking methods, and techniques, and his hard work has been paying off. He has custom-built a barbecue trailer to be able to join the competitive world of barbecue, and has taken home multiple first-place awards for just about everything he does, including his signature barbecue sauce, ribs, and burgers. His food has also been a mouth-watering staple at the food court at the North Charleston Coliseum for five years and counting. When the award-winning chef decided to open up a more permanent residence for his barbecue in Knightsville, he opted to completely renovate a house into a restaurant perfectly tailored to his needs as a pitmaster. He designed and helped build the water smokers that the restaurant uses in what is now known as the LBC Smokehouse. Cheyenne has a handful of people on his all-star staff to help serve his growing customer base, but he makes sure to personally oversee all aspects of his restaurant. He takes pride in knowing each ingredient that goes into his menu items, which are all his own original recipes. He confirms that every bit of meat that they serve is exactly what he intended it to be by being the only person to use the smokehouse.
As far as what the future holds for Ledyard Bar-B-Que Company, only time will tell. Cheyenne is not willing to compromise the quality of his barbecue in order to expand his business, he would rather stay small and he has no problem in doing so, he is thrilled to be a part of the Knightsville food and beverage community, and plans on staying a while. Reflecting back to the mustard incidents, one thing is for certain: all of their barbecue is served with their homemade sauces on the side. AM
Ledyard Bar-B-Que Company
is located at 1426 Central Ave.
in Summerville, SC
by Jessy Devereaux Mitcham