BBQ Pitmaster Helen Turner: The Woman In the Smoke

helen-turner-bbq-pitmaster-bbqblvdThe Southern Foodway Alliance produced a fantastic documentary on Helen Turner a one woman show and pitmaster. Turner has served great BBQ to her community of Brownsville, TN for twenty years.

pulled-pork-slaw-sandwichThey said a woman couldn’t run a barbecue joint…but that was before they tried Helen Turner’s sandwiches. Turner has owned and operated Helen’s Bar-B-Que in Brownsville, Tennessee by herself since 1996, and amassed a loyal following due to her smoky cooking and secret sauce recipe.

bbq-fire-smoke-pitHelen Turner’s joint is one of the smokiest barbecue spots around. Located a mile off tiny Brownsville’s town-center, Mrs. Turner cooks on an open pit; a simple, yet effective operation: bricks, metal fencing, hot coals, plenty of smoke, and meat. It is all contained within a screened-in back porch resulting in billows of woody smoke. She admits that the fumes make her cry sometimes.

bbq-sauce-makingA long-time barbecue employee of the present location’s various incarnations, Helen seized the opportunity to make the business her own back in 1996. She is one of only a handful of female pit-cooks in the country.

If you’re in the Brownsville, TN area stop by Helen’s Bar-B-Q. You can visit the Southern Foodway Alliance by clicking here.

Helen’s Bar-B-Q
(731) 779-3255


Author: Staff

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