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Ancestral Cooking Forum

Hord Smith: BBQ King

In my family, the professional was Hordie Smith. Uncle Hordie was my grandmother's oldest brother. Her father's son by a previous marriage, she was very close to him. Hord was born on 3/22/1884 in Sharpsbug, KY. I never knew of any other occupation that he held aside from running a Gary, Indiana barbecue establishment called, "Smitty's." That's how Uncle Hord made his living. In fact, within his 1967 newspaper obituary, he was referred to as Hordie "Barbecue" Smith!

Now, there's a story that Grandma loved to tell. Everyone in the family, and those not related, loved Uncle Hord's barbecue. It was delicious and extremely tender. It was, allegedly, irresistable. So it was a natural progression for people to ask for the recipe. It happened every time. Uncle Hordie's response would also be the same every time: "I will make you ALL the barbecue you want, but I ain't gonna NEVER give up my recipe!" Then, he'd commence his preparations, and grill up some ribs and chicken, and throw together some of that amazing sauce. He'd make jars and jars of it, which my grandparents would try to stretch out until his next visit.

I remember my grandmother's kitchen having a divider in the doorway to the den. Certainly, she put it there to keep the heat from the kitchen in the kitchen, and not allow it into the rest of the house. I sure can imagine, though, that Hordie closed that divider while he was creating his masterpiece! He wouldn't have sent anyone to the store for what he needed, so I am quite certain that he brought everything he would need with him.

Unfortunately, I don't recall ever experiencing Uncle Hordie's BBQ first-hand. Now a lot of barbecue was made between my grandparents' kitchen and the grill outside. I do have that recollection, as well as the fact that it was all just out of this world. If I did meet Uncle Hordie, specifically, I just don't recall it now. That's one of my biggest regrets.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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