08/14/07 — How far would you go for barbecue?

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How far would you go for barbecue?

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on August 14, 2007 1:45 PM

Would you fly 900-some miles to get a taste of eastern Carolina barbecue?

For Heather Schuch, the answer is yes -- but only if it's Scott's Barbecue.

The O'Fallon, Mo., resident is pregnant with her second child.

The craving struck for Scott's, and she decided to answer it.

So, Friday at noon, Mrs. Schuch, her husband, Mike, and first-born son, Jacob, 2, gathered with her father, Ted Hill of Goldsboro, her uncle and children's performer Dave Hill, and other friends and family.

They ordered up trays and plates of chopped- and chunk-style pork barbecue.

But the mother-to-be wasn't just here for the meat -- she already gets her dad to bring frozen pounds of barbecue up to her when he visits her home near St. Louis.

Hill said he has to check the cooler of frozen pork as carry-on baggage when he travels to visit his daughter.

Scott's is also known for its skins and ribs -- which are crispy when served. And they're just not the same after freezing, Mrs. Schuch said.

"The skins -- you can't really reheat them because they get soggy," she said.

Sitting around a table in the rear of the restaurant, Hill remarked on the circumstances.

"This is the reason we're here," the grandfather-to-be said. "Because a pregnant lady wanted skins and ribs."

So what possesses someone to fly so far for skins, ribs and a tray of slow-cooked, vinegar-seasoned pork?

The answer's easy, Mrs. Schuch said -- she hasn't found a restaurant in Missouri capable of whipping up anything like Scott's barbecue.

"I grew up on it, and it's the best barbecue that I've ever had," she said.

But the love for barbecue doesn't seem to be genetically passed -- or at least yet.

The Shuchs' 2-year-old old Jacob imported a McDonald's Happy Meal into Scott's, choosing some chicken McNuggets as his entree.

That didn't seem to bother Scott's Barbecue co-owner Sybil Scott Seward, daughter of second-generation owners Ann Marks Scott and A. Martel Scott Sr.

Seward and her brother, Alvin Martel Scott Jr., are grandchildren of Adam W. Scott, founder of the William Street landmark.

Mrs. Seward said she started in the restaurant at age 10, and her brother at age 8 or 9.

But the siblings had to close the restaurant briefly when her cancer recurred for a third time in 2001, she said.

But locals begged them to try coming back with a limited schedule.

The restaurant began a 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Thursday- and Friday-only schedule back in 2002. They haven't looked back since, Mrs. Seward said.

Even as the restaurant temporarily closed, the thriving Scott's Barbecue Sauce business stayed open -- keeping up long-standing distribution deals with specific Wal-Mart, Harris Teeter, Food Lion and Kroger's locations.

Mrs. Seward said if she had to estimate gross sales of the sauce, her best guess is the company sells $250,000 worth annually.

"We ship individual orders all over the country," she said. "We shipped to Alaska three times this month already -- and we ship to places like Canada, the Virgin Islands, Germany, Italy."

Seems those folks are not the only ones who won't let distance separate them from Scott's pork stylings.

"Your pregnant daughter tells you she's coming to North Carolina for barbecue, what do you say?" Ted Hill said with a laugh.