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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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Ken Bosley

Ken Bosley’s parents, who raised five children while both working at local distilleries, sold the family’s house in 1963 to purchase Moonlite Bar-B-Q. The restaurant, which opened around 1950, originally held twelve seats. Ken explains how, little by little, his family expanded the restaurant to a 325-seat landmark with a popular buffet and a booming catering business. The Moonlite specializes in mutton, the iconic meat of Western Kentucky barbecue. They also serve pork ribs, beef brisket, and chicken, all smoked over hickory wood. Ken takes pride in Moonlite’s side dishes—especially the cornbread and macaroni and cheese—which are derived from Bosley family recipes. Their burgoo is adapted from the recipe used at one of the local Catholic parish picnics. Though Ken’s parents passed away in 2003, he’s proud to work alongside his son, niece, and granddaughter—the third and fourth generation of Bosleys in the barbecue business.

Date of interview:
2009-08-11 00:00

Lisa Powell

Lisa Powell

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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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