As people fire up their grills this summer, Kingsford is celebrating those who have made barbecue what it is today. The Black community ignited American barbecue more than 350 years ago, but without the spark of a new generation at the pit, important stories, recipes and techniques risk being extinguished. Kingsford launched Preserve the Pit earlier this year as a commitment to honor the history and culture of Black barbecue to pave the way for its future.
The effort is anchored by the Preserve the Pit Fellowship, which invited aspiring barbecue professionals from around the country to apply for an exclusive opportunity to take their businesses to the next level with one-on-one mentorship with industry leaders. After receiving more than 1,000 applications, Kingsford and its Mentor Network selected three fellows, including one couple. In the months since being selected, the fellows have been teamed up with the mentors to learn the tools for success and exchange stories around the pit.
This year’s Preserve the Pit fellows include Cory and Tarra Davis, owners of Daddy Pete’s BBQ in Grand Rapids, MI; Chef Shalamar Lane, head chef and owner of My Father’s Barbeque in Carson, CA; and Ronald Simmons, owner of Master Blend Family Farms, LLC in Kenansville, NC. And they’re all ready to go!
So, prepare your pits, ignite those coals and get ready to watch the Preserve the Pit fellows turn their business aspirations into a reality in an upcoming three-part series exploring the culture of Black barbecue and how these fellows are fueling future generations of grill masters to come.