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Hidden History: Jones Barbecue


(NEXSTAR MEDIA) — A small barbecue joint in a tiny Arkansas town is more about just getting a bite to eat. It’s been bringing people of all colors together for years with a secret recipe.

Inside the little white building a worker takes embers from a fireplace and puts them into a barbecue put to smoke the meat.

It’s early in the morning, but 71-year-old James Harold Jones has already started selling his pulled pork barbecue. The sign says it opened in ’64, but it’s believed to be the oldest black-owned restaurant in the south.

“It’s been in the family for over 150 years my granddaddy’s uncle started it,” said Jones.

And the sauce hasn’t changed. It’s a family tradition that doesn’t care how much money you have or your skin color. The color that matters is the reddish-orange of the sauce.

Lately, Jones has gotten a lot of attention. He wont he so-called Oscars of culinary work. The National James Beard award for his American Classic sandwich. The only person in Arkansas to ever win it! But it didn’t take a national award to prove if you want some, you better come early.

“I never know from one day till the next day how big a crowd I’m going to have. And when it’s out, it’s just out,” said Jones.

Until tomorrow when the meat is smoking, as it has for the last 150 years.

If you ever get to visit Jones’ Barbecue, just know there are only two things on the menu; pulled pork barbecue and barbecue sandwiches.

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