‘Rib King’ to expand Spartanburg, SC

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The man many call King Solomon, or the Rib King, has purchased a larger facility for his home base.

Solomon Williams, owner of Carolina Rib King, has purchased a 17,500-square-foot industrial building on 3.2 acres at 2730 Cannons Campground Road, according to Jordan Skellie of Lyons Industrial Properties, who brokered the deal.

“My main job is doing concessions at big rib fests,” Williams said Thursday. “Now I’m going to be able to have an events center and community commissary where vendors, food trucks and caterers will have kitchen space available.”

Solomon was operating at 340 York St. in Spartanburg, and plans to reopen in the new space by around Christmas or early next year.

“I wanted something closer in the city, but that’s so hard to find,” he said. “The price on this was perfect.”

“I wanted something closer in the city, but that’s so hard to find,” he said. “The price on this was perfect.”

Williams is in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, this weekend serving barbecue at a rib festival. It is one of more than a dozen festivals and shows he attends from spring to fall each year, from Minnesota to Florida, he said.

He also serves up barbecue at local events like Spartanburg’s Spring Fling.

When he returns in July during a break between events, he plans to start taking down office walls in the building and getting it rewired for the large kitchen appliances he will be using.

Williams, 54, has five full-time culinary employees and several who are part time, along with many friends who will be helping on the renovation.

“It will take quite a bit of work,” he said.

Originally from Georgetown, Williams and his wife live in Spartanburg, where his wife works at Milliken & Co.

He has cooked for more than 30 years, but about 21 years ago he decided to make it a career.

He participated in his first cookoff in Tryon, N.C., in 1996, where he placed sixth in the whole hog competition. He won his first championship in 1998, and several more since, including the award for America’s Best Ribs and America’s Best Sauce at Tops Great American Rib Cook-Off in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2006.

He has a rotisserie that can produce 1,000 slabs of ribs and 1,000 pounds of pork or beef a day. The meat is delivered fresh to each venue where Williams is cooking. He uses cherry or pecan wood to smoke his meat before cooking it.

He travels with a kitchen that includes a walk-in freezer and running water.

Though he does not operate a restaurant, Williams said he plans to have some events at his new location next year so local residents can taste his award-winning barbecue chicken and ribs, sausage, mac and cheese, collard greens and cornbread.

“We spread the South around,” he said.

He also does family reunions, birthdays, weddings, tailgate parties, corporate cookouts, backyard cookouts and concerts.

His Rib King sauces have also earned several awards and can be purchased through his website at www.carolinaribking.com/index.php.

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