The Sparerib | 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

< Back to Oral History project: Southern BBQ Trail

< Back to Oral History project: Alabama BBQ


Rudolph McCollum

Rudolph McCollum spent thirty-two years as a schoolteacher in Fayette, Alabama. Upon retiring, Rudolph had a chance encounter with a businessman in Winfield, who was interested in opening a barbecue restaurant. All he needed was someone to make the barbecue. Growing up, Rudolph learned to barbecue from an uncle. He found he had a knack for it. So he went into business with his sister and his girlfriend and opened The Sparerib in 1997. Their first storefront was part of the local skating rink. After a few months, though, Rudolph was ready for a new—and better—location. He found a place on Highway 78, built a smokehouse, and got to work. Today, Rudolph and his sister, Mary Spears, operate the place. He does the meat; she does the sides. They’re only open on weekends, but that just keeps their customers hungry for more.

Date of interview:
2006-09-29 00:00

Amy Evans


Download Transcript

Other Project Interviews



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.