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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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George Paul & Jimmy Paul

Paul’s Bar-B-Q

In 1929, Clifford Collins started cooking whole hogs in his hometown of Lexington, Georgia. For the next forty years, he, along with his right-hand man Fudge Collins, stood under the shade of a Mulberry tree on Main Street, selling barbecue on Saturday mornings. Somewhere along the way, they stopped cooking whole hogs and started smoking hams. It wasn’t until Clifford was well into his nineties that he chose to retire. When he did, he handed the business over to his nephew, George Paul Jr.

George Paul Jr. was a farmer. He didn’t have any experience running a restaurant, and his Uncle Clifford didn’t care to show him the ropes. Instead, George used what he learned from cooking for community events and the senior citizens’ center and applied it to the barbecue business.

Today, George and his son Jimmy still operate the place George’s uncle started almost a century ago. Now, though, they operate as Paul’s Bar-B-Que. George smokes the shoulders on a cinderblock pit out at his farm, and Jimmy is in charge of the Brunswick stew. But, since George is still a farmer, and Jimmy works as a paramedic, you can only have their brand of ‘cue on Saturday mornings or, if you plan ahead, on the Fourth of July.

Date of interview:

Amy C. Evans

Amy C. Evans

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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.


Alex Raij Txikito

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