It seems like North Carolina barbecue legends are dying almost every week, and I suppose this is the natural course of events given the age of many of NC barbecue’s founding fathers. As reported by the Associated Press and run in the San Francisco Chronicle (which shows just how far and wide barbecue culture has spread), Ralph Parker passed away last week. Mr. Parker had been the lone surviving founder of the venerable Parker’s Barbecue in Wilson.
Although Parker’s Barbecue committed the original sin of switching away from wood cooking in recent years, the restaurant spent many decades since its founding in 1946 as one of the state’s true old school barbecue purveyors. Plus, the old time atmosphere at Parker’s still makes it worth a visit even today. There is no doubt we will always remember Mr. Parker’s contribution to North Carolina barbecue history. May he rest in peace.