TWO BBQ Giants Gone.
Upon arriving here tonight, I noted the passing of Harold Hembree, Jr. of Harold's BBQ in Atlanta. Of course he and Bobby Mueller of Texas (who also died on close to the same day) didn't ever get to swap trade secrets, but I hold them both in high esteem... even though their 'cue styles differ.
It is a little-known fact that Harold's BBQ was one of the first white-owned restaurants in Atlanta to integrate fully without being asked. Harold's mama (the lady who invented the cornbread recipe) suggested it about the time Carl E. Sanders became Governor in 1962. She said that African-American State Senator-Elect Leroy R.Johnson was good enough to eat in her restaurant if he was good enough to get elected. (Mr. Johnson, now retired, is alive and well and reportedly still eats at Harold's.)
The illness of Mr. Hembree may well account for the inconsistencies in food which several posters have commented on recently. Without his watchful eye present, and with his family often not present so as to help care for him, lapses have occurred. I say we tip our hat to Harold Hembree and give his famed BBQ establishment another chance before writing it off as a now-losing proposition. I think we all owe Mama Hembree (who has not terribly long been gone herself) that much.
Ruefully 'Cuelessly, Ort. Carlton in Lovely Athens, Georgia.