In 2021, Kingsford launched its Preserve the Pit® program, an initiative celebrating and fueling the future of Black barbecue. Kingsford continues to invest in Black barbecue culture by kicking off its second year at Memphis in May in the downtown district of Memphis, Tennessee. There, Kingsford did it for the culture and paired six promising pitmasters with topnotch mentors who will help them bring their businesses and barbecue stories to life. 

As grills everywhere sizzle with the best sound of summer, Kingsford is still celebrating the zesty barbecue its 2022 Preserve the Pit® fellows whipped up on the fairgrounds of Memphis, Tennessee. We recently introduced you to three of Kingford’s six fellows, and now we’re ready to introduce you to the rest: Marvin Ross of Peculiar Pig Farm in Dorchester, SC; Joseph and Laura Payne of JP’s Que in Aurora, IL; Donnell Crear of Sunbelt Packaging in Smyrna, GA. 

Each fellow has a different background and a different story to tell, and each tale is as captivating as the food they create. 

Marvin Ross

Kingsford Preserve the Pit Marvin Thumb
Photo by Forrest Smith

Ross was raised on a farm, and has been cooking whole hogs since his preteen years. With barbecue on the brain, Ross runs his farm—full of woodlot raised-chickens, ducks, goats, and pasture-raised cows—alongside his wife Nikki. They’re devoted to leaving a legacy committed to sustainability and community—because the more sustainable you are, the more people you can help. 

Joseph and Laura Payne

Kingsford Preserve the Pit Laura Joseph
Photo by Forrest Smith

The Paynes are committed to blending their Mexican and African American heritages together, one spice and barbecue at a time. Grocery stores often separate foods by ethnicities, but the Paynes want their products to show people you can mix cultures and flavors while still being authentic to the dishes you prepare.

Donnell Crear 

Kingsford Preserve the Pit Donnell Thumb
Photo by Forrest Smith

Crear is the owner of one of a select group of Black-owned packaging companies who specializes in bringing small business clients to market. Inspired by his father-in-law, Crear’s core mission is to be a resource to people who might not have a resource like him.

Black barbecue culture is Black history, and this is only the beginning.