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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

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Kyle McClard

McClard’s Bar-B-Q was founded in 1928 by Gladys and Alex McClard, who started their business by smoking goats, not hogs. Gradually, goat was phased out, and pork, as well as beef, made the menu. Kyle McClard, pitmaster and Gladys and Alex’s great-grandson, represents the fourth generation to work in the family business in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Over the years, McClard’s has gained notoriety not only within the state, but throughout the country. McClard’s is known as a favorite eatery of former President Bill Clinton, who spent many years in Hot Springs. The walls are adorned with pictures of the former president, famous movie stars, singers, and reporters who made the pilgrimage to the restaurant known for its signature sauce, hickory-smoked meats, and a unique dish known as the Tamale Spread. Kyle and his partner, Anthony, work alongside five generations of McClard family members and a devoted staff, including Winona, who, in addition to being a waitress at McClard’s for over fifty years, eats one of their barbecue plates every day.

Date of interview:

Rachel Reynolds Luster

Rachel Reynolds Luster

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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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