Harry Green – “barbecuer for the fair”

This article is courtesy of the Owensboro Museum of Science and History and Mr. Green is a 2016 member of the Voices of Elmwood presentations by the Museum.

Harry Green

This famous African American western Kentucky barbeque chef had a state-wide reputation by the time of his death and is recognized by many to be the “father of the local barbeque industry.” He lived near the corner of Ninth and Hall Street in Owensboro for most of his adult life and began Owensboro’s first commercial barbeque site at that location. His pit was a hole dug in the yard, from which he sold meat throughout the year. His busy season was during the Daviess County Fair, where he was known as the “barbecuer for the fair” for almost thirty years and was said to have sold up to 1,000 pounds of his delectable meat during the few days of that annual event.

Harry had a love for his work and was considered to be an artist both in Daviess County and throughout the Commonwealth. Local church parishes made a point of advertising his presence at their events in order to increase their ticket sales, posting notices such as “Harry Green, the veteran barbecuer, will superintend the cooking of 50 choice lambs for St. Peter’s Catholic Church Picnic”. His reputation as “being without a superior in Kentucky” also earned him the honor of traveling to Louisville on the first weekend of May each year, to cook for post-Kentucky Derby celebrations there.
He is buried at the African American Greenwood Cemetery.