Spooney’s Bar-Be-Que | Southern Foodways Alliance arrow left envelope headphones search facebook instagram twitter flickr menu rss play circle itunes calendar

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 annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

< Back to Oral History project: Downtown Greenwood Farmers’ Market

< Back to Oral History project: Mississippi BBQ

< Back to Oral History project: Greenwood Restaurants


Leroy “Spooney” Kenter, Jr.

Leroy "Spooney" Kenter

Leroy Kenter, Jr., better known as “Spooney,” started cooking barbecue in Kansas City, Kansas. When he returned home to his native Greenwood, he knew he wanted to have his own place and make a name for his own brand of ‘cue and sauce. He started out with a smoker in his mother’s yard. In 1996 he moved his business to a narrow storefront on Johnson Street in downtown Greenwood. In 2009 Spooney decided to downsize and dragged his smoker back to the old neighborhood and set it in front of his house in Greenwood’s historic Baptist Town.

Part of the secret to Spooney’s success is his sauce, the recipe for which came to him after his first wife left him. The story is that Spooney sat at home alone, staring at the walls for days upon days. Then one day his eye caught the image of the crock-pot sitting on the kitchen counter. Then some ketchup. And then his mind started swimming with secrets and spices, culminating in his homemade sauce that was inspired by heartache. This man’s barbecued ribs really will make you cry.

*The interview featured below was conducted in 2003 when Spooney was still working out of his Johnson Street location. He moved his business to Baptist Town in 2009.

Date of interview:

Amy C. Evans

Amy C. Evans

Download Transcript



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

Let’s Stay in Touch

Sign up for the SFA newsletter to have the latest content
delivered directly to your inbox.