Wednesday, April 10

Okracast: King's Bar-B-Q in Petersburg, VA

Helen Pruitt, longtime employee of King's Bar-B-Q
Photographs by Jonna McKone
If you're still daydreaming about last fall's barbecue-themed symposium and are having a hard time wrapping your head around this year's focus on women, work and food, we have a compromise for you: women in barbecue.

Last year, Jonna McKone was the recipient of our SFA Greenhouse micro-grant. She pitched a podcast story, and we bit. The result is this portrait of King's Bar-B-Q in Petersburg, Virginia.

John King opened King's with his brothers in 1946. Today, John's daughter, Joan Hawks, and granddaughter, Alicia Keeler, maintain the family business.

Didn't know Virginia had a barbecue tradition?  Well, Robert Moss will tell you that the" institution of barbecue first took root in Virginia." But, as he goes on to explain in his book, Barbecue: The History of an American Institution, Virginia was, more specifically, "where the [barbecue] seed was planted and from which it spread throughout the country." The state didn't manage to hold on to a particular style of 'cue. Today, Virginia barbecue is based largely on the iconic style found in the eastern half of its neighbor to the south, North Carolina.

Meet the women of King's Bar-B-Q: