Monday, July 30

SFA Skillet Brigade Helps Rebuild Sam's BBQ in Humboldt, TN

Day one of the rebuild: fire-ravaged Sam's Bar-B-Q is gutted.
Photo by Amy Evans.
Led by the SFA, the Fatback Collective, and Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q, a group of volunteers traveled to Humboldt, TN, last weekend to help rebuild Sam's Bar-B-Q.

Founder Sam Donald began smoking hogs in the 1940s. Through the years, Sam worked for other men, smoking their hogs and stirring their sauce. In 1988, Sam and his wife Mary opened their own place, Sam's Bar-B-Q, specializing in shoulder meat sandwiches and sweet potato pies.

Sam built a pit alongside his building, a dome-topped double-decker behemoth. Oak and hickory limbs burned down to coals on the bottom. Up top, those coals smoldered, cooking and perfuming pork shoulders.

When the SFA began its oral history work, Sam Donald was one of the first pitmasters interviewed.

Sam passed away in 2011. His daughter and son-in-law, Seresa and Jon Ivory, kept the pit going. In June of this year, Sam's was claimed by fire.

Remnants of the original pit.
Photo by Amy Evans.

The work was hard. It was hot. But last weekend, 20+ people did heir part to help resurrect this icon east Tennessee barbecue.

In the video below, pitmaster Rodney Scott of Scott's Bar-B-Q in Hemingway, SC, and Jim 'N Nick's employees, who came from locations across the country to lend a hand, help excavate the crumbled pit.

Seresa didn't want to let the day end before thanking those who came to help:

By Saturday afternoon, there was a new roof over the pit, new fire bricks inside, and a fresh coat of paint on the building's exterior.

Thanks to everyone who traveld to lend their time, tools, and labor.

Day one of the rebuild, volunteers from as far away as South Carolina
and Colorado traveled to Humboldt, TN, to pitch in.
Photo by Amy Evans.
Stay tuned for updates and news of 'cue from Sam's in Humboldt, TN.