“In Western Kentucky, when we talk about barbecue, it’s mutton and lots of it,” says Jerry Thompson of Morganfield, pictured above. Jerry participates in St. Ann Catholic Church’s annual barbecue, a tradition throughout Western Kentucky. According to Jerry, church barbecues started during the Great Depression as a way for the community to come together and for each family to share what they had. Some families brought sheep. Some families brought wood. Some families brought corn. Together, they had a big barbecue, and the tradition continues today. “These churches, I mean…in the whole of Western Kentucky from Owensboro to the Tennessee Line to the Mississippi River…there’s probably 50 or so churches in this area, and the large majority of them will have a big barbecue,” Jerry says proudly.
The St. Ann Catholic Church oral history is just one of the many interviews we'll be adding to the new Kentucky leg of the Southern BBQ Trail in the coming weeks.
Stay tuned for more!
Visit the introduction to our state-by-state Southern BBQ Trail tour here.
Or, just visit the Southern BBQ Trail to meet the more than 100 people from 9 states who've shared their stories with us.
Grab a napkin and go!