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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

< Back to Oral History project: Tennessee BBQ


Billy Frank Latham

The restaurant industry is recognized as tough work. Compared to the life of a farmer, Billy Frank Latham finds restaurant ownership to be quite easy.

Billy Frank grew up on a farm just six miles outside of Henderson. The son of farmers, he was a farmer himself until the late 1990s. But like so many independent farmers, he could not compete with big agribusinesses and had to end this career.  He always loved to eat barbecue, so decided to give it a try, investing in a long-established pit-house.

In a novel twist to the barbecue sandwich, Billy Frank adds sauce to the meat before putting it on the bun; he then mixes sauce and pork to form a patty. He says customers like that their barbecue doesn’t fall out of the bread.

We first visited Bill’s Bar-B-Q in 2003 as part of our initial foray into documenting rural Tennessee ‘cue. Visit the original Bill’s Bar-B-Q page.


Date of interview:
2008-07-10 00:00

Rien T. Fertel

Rien T. Fertel

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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