OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) — Each year Southern Living Magazine compiles a list of 50 of the south’s best BBQ joints, and sitting at number 24 is Owensboro’s Old Hickory Bar-B-Que.
“Everybody keeps coming up to me saying, I hear you won another award, another award, another award. We keep hearing that, so I know we’re doing something right,” said Keith Cooke, the general manager of the restaurant.
The article describes the city as “The barbequed mutton capital of the world”. People travel from all over to get a taste, but Owensboro residents only have to travel down the road to sample this Kentucky delicacy.
“We have mutton, pork, chicken, beef, ham, turkey. We have some amazing bologna. Our pork ribs are incredible,” said Cooke.
Since 1918, John Foreman, along with the 5 generations before him, have maintained the award-winning flavor through consistency; For 105 years, they’ve always cooked their meats over hickory coals and staff arrive a little before 6 am.
“Our big pits that we cook all the mutton and pork and beef on, they run 24 hours a day. So, what we cook one day, what we load that one morning, it’ll actually come off the pits the next morning. That’s what we’ll sell that day. This meat is fresh, never frozen. It’s fresh every single day,” said Cooke.
Old Hickory Bar-B-Que is also famous for their burgoo. Burgoo is a hardy vegetable soup made with mutton, pork, and chicken. Depending on the time of year, the restaurant sells around 40 gallons a day.
“Even right now, with it being 85 degrees outside, we’re selling 20 gallons of burgoo a day,” said Cooke.
The general manager has been present for 24 years, and says upholding the standard can also be attributed to staying true to their core values.
“Number 1 would be our faith. Number 2 is all of our families, cause here we’re one big family together and the love of BBQ brings us all together,’ said Cooke.
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