The couple is happy to continue serving up their community food using their time honored traditions, infused with love.
They’re a staple in the south! Meet Mr. & Mrs. Grady, owners of Grady’s BBQ, North Carolina’s only Black-owned whole hog barbecue smokehouse.
According to ABC 11 News, 86-year-old Steve and his wife, 76-year-old Gerri Grady, are the owners of Grady’s BBQ.
The two opened the smokehouse in 1986 in Dudley, North Carolina, creating classic recipes for locals that the Grady’s learned as young children.
Mr. Grady was taught how to cook whole hog barbecue from his father and grandfather. They would cook a couple of pigs in honor of fall and winter holidays and celebrations in barbecue pits dug directly into the ground every year.
Mrs. Grady also learned the traditions when she was just 9 or 10 years young, learning from her mother, grandmother, and mother-in-law tried and true family recipes.
“This is cooking the old-fashioned way. This is all we’ve ever known. This is country. It’s a dash of this and a dash of that. There are no measurements,” Mrs. Grady said.
Grady’s BBQ is the only Black-owned whole hog smokehouse in the state. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the couple didn’t know if they would make it through to see another year.
Not only did they have to close the restaurant, possibly permanently, but Mr. Grady also tested positive for the virus in June and had to be hospitalized.
“It wasn’t nothing but God intervening. You read about [COVID], you hear about it, you try to be cautious, then bam! When you experience it, it’s different,” Mrs. Grady explained.
Thankfully, Mr. Grady’s fever broke and he was able to come home and fully recover. The restaurant remained closed until July, opening just in time for their 34th anniversary.