How a Pitmaster Keeps Sustainability in Mind While Running a BBQ Empire

How a Pitmaster Keeps Sustainability in Mind While Running a BBQ Empire

  • Pitmaster Rodney Scott wants to minimize food waste in his restaurants.
  • His team uses profit and loss records as projections of how much to cook each day of the year.
  • Scott also prefers to source ingredients locally whenever possible.

Rodney Scott is a James Beard Award winning pitmaster and the founder of Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ. Since opening his first restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2017, Scott has grown it into an empire with three newer locations in Alabama and Georgia.

With lines known to run out the door and sometimes around the block, Rodney Scott’s team has to make sure they are preparing enough food without overdoing it.

In the United States, the US Department of Agriculture estimates that between 30% and 40% of our food supply ends up as food waste and, according to Recycle Track Systems (RTS), the restaurant industry spends around $ 162 billion each year in food waste-related costs. .

In an interview with Insider, Scott says his teams are meticulous when it comes to projections thanks to their weekly and daily profit and loss analysis.

All those in charge of preparing the amounts receive a relevant profit and loss sheet every Monday, Scott told Insider.

“We look at it and try to see where we are short, where we finish, what is selling and what is not,” he said.

“How much are we cooking versus how much are we selling, all of those things are in profit and loss,” he continued. “That’s just one way we keep up with how not to cook too much food. Also how not to sell ourselves short on a busy day.”

Using data from the same day last year, a week before, and even the first part of the current day, the team will predict and adjust the amount of food they are cooking.

Rodney Scott's BBQ

Ribs at Rodney Scott’s BBQ in Charleston.

Rachel Askinasi / Insider


When they come across leftovers, the team finds ways to reuse as much as possible

“It’s cold right now, so when we have leftover brisket, we put chili on the menu,” Paul Yeck, executive chef of Pihakis Restaurant Group, owner of Rodney Scott’s, told Insider. “That is a very good option for the colder months.”

Leftover pulled pork and ribs are broken down and added to vegetables, baked beans, and other dishes. As for chicken, Yeck said it can be turned into chicken salad the next day.

“In our Birmingham market, we are really connected to the city and the mayor’s team,” Yeck said. “We work with them to provide meals when we can. We are serving quality things, it is just not something we want to pass on to our guests and charge them.”

Rodney Scott's BBQ

Baked beans include pork.

Rachel Askinasi / Insider


Scott is also charged with helping sustain the communities around his restaurants.

“We are here to complement, not complicate,” the award winner told Insider. “If we are going to ship all of our produce, we are not complementing your neighborhood at all, we are just another place you could possibly eat. But come and deal with your local farmers, for us, we think it is an advantage. We like to do it. We work with as many locals as we can, while still maintaining the quality of our food. “

He also said that he prefers to hire the locals first before looking elsewhere. Scott’s goal is to be a positive force in his local communities, so hiring from within is preferable to outsourcing, he said.

While his staff in Charleston in particular is not as dense with locals as it once was, he says he is always willing to offer an interview to someone looking for work.

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