2022 SFA Fall Symposium: BARBECUE

SFA’s 2022 Fall Symposium will be held October 21-22 in Oxford, MS.

This year, we ask questions about what barbecue is, who makes it, and how the craft is changing. From sliced beef brisket to pulled pork, from tacos to fire-roasted vegetables, barbecue speaks to the past, present, and future of the South and to the stories of pitmasters—the places they work, the smoke they conjure, and the sauces they stir.

Tickets go on sale in early August. Our year-long exploration of barbecue culminates at the Fall Symposium. Meanwhile, stay tuned on Instagram and subscribe to our email for barbecue-themed podcasts, oral histories, documentary films, recipes, and more.

Illustration by Delphine Lee.


The Southern Foodways Alliance is committed to making the Fall Symposium safe. We’ve reduced the size of the event by half to avoid crowding. We’ve planned for meal service outdoors and at the Old Armory Pavilion, where there is good airflow and a roof in the event of rain. Masks will be required at events held at indoor venues where/if local guidelines require it. Additionally, ticket holders must provide proof of vaccination to attend SFA’s Fall Symposium. SFA is following national guidance from the CDC to create the safest possible environment for symposium guests.

We are all in this together, and we’re grateful for your cooperation with all procedures. We look forward to welcoming you to Oxford.


Cancellations before September 1, 2022 incur a $100 cancellation fee. No refunds after September 1.

If your city or airport is locked down due to COVID-restrictions, refunds will be issued in full, no matter the date.

Individuals who have credit cards that offer trip insurance are encouraged to use those cards for ticket purchases.

Event Presenters

Gustavo Arellano is a columnist with the Los Angeles Times, host of its daily news podcast The Times, and author of Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America. He has been a Gravy columnist for five years and still marvels that a Mexican kid from Southern California has accomplished this. He aims to cover a South that’s yet to make it into American depictions of the region, and to elevate a people who are changing the South as much as the South is changing them.

Vishwesh Bhatt is the chef at Snackbar in Oxford, Mississippi. A native of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, he is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and Johnson and Wales University. He moved to Oxford for graduate school, abandoned academia for restaurant kitchens, and never looked back. His new book, I Am From Here: Stories and Recipes from a Southern Chef, debuts in August.

Cedric Burnside is a Mississippi Hill Country blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He grew up in Holly Springs, Mississippi, the grandson of bluesman R. L. Burnside, but has made a name for himself. He’s been nominated for a Grammy three times, and his newest record, “I Be Trying,” won the 2022 Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album.

Edward Crouse and Marie Stitt own Babas on Cannon in Charleston, South Carolina. The neighborhood eatery is inspired by the cafés and bars of Europe. The menu features carefully sourced ingredients and European wines. A second location, Babas on Meeting, opened this past fall.

Latria Graham is a journalist and fifth-generation South Carolina farmer. She is a contributing editor for Garden & GunOutdoor Retailer, and Outside, and has written longform pieces about everything from nature to NASCAR to chitlins. After years of covering systemic injustice in underrepresented communities, she recently decided to turn her focus to small towns in the American South at risk of disappearing due to gentrification and suburbanization. 

Stephanie Hart opened Brown Sugar Bakery in 2002, creating southern cakes derived from memories of love and good feelings of her grandmother.  In 2022 she is celebrating 20 years as a baker. She has a second bakery location Navy Pier and is preparing to renovate the newly acquired Cupid candies factory to house Brown Sugar Bakery’s new candy line “Life is Sweet.” Hart is the 2022 Karen Barker Baker.

Jiyeon Lee owns Heirloom BBQ in Atlanta. A former South Korean pop star, Lee turned her attention to culinary school and now enjoys fame via the kitchen. Customers form long lines at the door for a taste of the classic barbecue with Korean-inspired sides.

Jason McCall holds a master’s in fine arts (MFA) from the University of Miami. He is an Alabama native, and he teaches at the University of North Alabama. His collections include Two-Face GodDear Hero,; SilverA Man Ain’t Nothin’; Mother, Less Child; and I Can Explain.When the time is right, he hopes he can make it back to Hooligans in Tuscaloosa for a gyro combo and an extra side of fried okra to share with his wife and friends.

Rob McDaniel and his wife, Emily, own and operate Helen, a contemporary Southern grill in downtown Birmingham. McDaniel’s passion and respect for traditional Southern cuisine was first inspired by the foods his grandmothers prepared while he was growing up in Haleyville, Alabama. He graduated from Auburn University, has studied at the New England Culinary Institute, and is a five-time James Beard Foundation Best Chef: South semifinalist.

Adrian Miller is a food writer, James Beard Award winner, attorney, and certified barbecue judge who lives in Denver, Colorado. Adrian previously served on the SFA board and received the 2018 Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award. Adrian is featured in the Netflix hit High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America. His latest book is Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue.

Ricky Moore, a North Carolina native, is owner of Saltbox Seafood Joint in Durham. His restaurant features seafood of all types, but excels at showcasing catch from local waters. The availability of fish and shellfish varies depending on what has been caught by North Carolina fishermen, so Moore’s handwritten chalkboard menu changes daily.

S. Farhan Mustafa is a freelance food writer by night and a product management director at an analytics company by day. Born and raised in Greenville, North Carolina, he started learning how to cook at the age of four, shadowing his mother and grandma. He’s a former waiter, restaurant cook, and—briefly—a food critic. He’s been an investigative journalist for Al Jazeera English during the Arab Spring, and the founder of a venture-backed tech startup. Throughout it all, he’s fiercely maintained his loyalty to Golden Corral.

Ethan Payne is a musician, photographer, and documentary filmmaker living in Atlanta, Georgia. His work has been featured in Oxford American, ArtsATL, and The Bitter Southerner. “We Travel,” the film he created with Brian Foster for SFA’s 2020 Fall Symposium, won awards from the Berlin Independent Film Festival and the Ouray Film Festival. Ethan plays music with his band Easter Island and tells stories about the forgotten, tossed-away South.

Hanna Raskin is editor and publisher of The Food Section, a Substack newsletter covering food and drink in the American South. In 2017, the James Beard Foundation awarded her its first Local Impact Journalism prize. She is a Gravy columnist, and former food editor of The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina. Raskin first experienced the power of culinary storytelling from descriptions of  mustard and vinegar in the Zingerman’s catalog.

Daniel Vaughn has always loved barbecue. When he traveled to an SFA barbecue symposium and realized barbecue could be a full time job, he left architecture behind and is now the barbecue editor for Texas Monthly. He now travels extensively eating and writing about ‘cue. Vaughn is the author of The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue, and the coauthor of Whole Hog BBQ: The Gospel of Carolina Barbecue.

Joe York is a documentary filmmaker, producer, director, and editor with a passion for helping people tell their stories. From 2005 to 2015, he worked at the University of Mississippi’s Southern Documentary Project and the SFA. During that time, he produced more than 50 short films and four feature-length films focused on the culture, food, music, history, and social issues of the American South. His work has been featured on PBS and in The New York TimesThe Atlantic, and Garden & Gun, among other outlets.

Michelle Zacks has served as the Associate Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center since August 2016. Before that, she worked as a public historian, folklorist, and oral historian, focusing on racial and class dynamics of maritime work and marine conservation in the U.S., Haiti, and Antigua. Michelle holds a Ph.D. in American studies from the University of Hawai‘I, and her book manuscript, based on her dissertation, is titled “The People’s Fish: Florida Mullet and the Coastal Commons.”


The Southern Foodways Alliance values the time and talent of all presenters who are part of the symposium and, in accord with our values statement, we believe that their work should be compensated. We thank these donors for supporting the Southern Foodways Alliance throughout the year, and making it possible for us to offer affordable tickets for the symposium as we adhere to our values.

Blackberry Farm Taste of the South
Brook and Pam Smith Fund
Cockayne Fund
Dorothy Pihakis Charitable Foundation
Lodge Cast Iron
Maker’s Mark
McIlhenny Company, maker of Tabasco® Brand pepper sauces

21c Museum Hotels
AC Restaurant Group
Anson Mills
Cathead Distillery
Deborah MacAbee and Byron Morris
Gravy Boat Society
The Indigo Road
Karen Barker Memorial Fund
Lynne DeSpelder and Albert Strickland
Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint
The Mountain Valley Spring Water
Order of the Okra
Randy Fertel
Rathead Giving Society
Rebecca and Roger Emerick
Ruth U. Fertel Foundation
Simmons Farm Raised Catfish
Taqueria del Sol
Tony Chachere’s
Virginia Wine Board
Visit NC

Brown in the South Dinner Series
The Do Good Fund
Zingerman’s Community of Businesses