AUGUST 19, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Adrian Miller, (303) 917-3864, email@example.com
Columbus B. Hill–a legendary African American barbecue cook once based in Denver, Colorado–is a 2023 inductee to the American Royal Barbecue Hall of Fame (“BBQHoF”). Hill is a “Legacy Inductee,” a category which according the BBQHoF website: “honors deceased individuals whose contributions to barbecue excellence helped establish the rich barbecue tradition we enjoy today. Barbecue is a centuries-old culinary art, and this category will recognize individuals whose formative influence came before the modern era of competitions and food media.” Hill will be the first Coloradan inducted into the BBQHoF, and the induction ceremony will take place on Saturday, September 30, 2023, at the Kansas City Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas.
“By demonstrating exceptional excellence, passion and unwavering commitment to the barbecue craft, this year’s inductees have earned their place in the Barbecue Hall of Fame,” said Jackie McClaskey, president and CEO of the American Royal Association. “A thorough evaluation process involving 90 nominees and 10 finalists was conducted by the Barbecue Hall of Fame nominating committee and living members of the Barbecue Hall of Fame to select the inductees. We are proud to celebrate their remarkable achievements to the barbecue heritage by welcoming them into the Barbecue Hall of Fame.”
“I’ve loved Hill’s story ever since I discovered him while researching African American food traditions in the early 2000s,” said Adrian Miller. “I was astonished not only by Hill’s barbecue accomplishments, but that there was so much information about him in old newspapers. On top of that . . . he lived in Colorado!”
Miller, a member of the BBQHoF’s nominating committee, successfully advocated for Hill’s induction. Since Hill did not have any children, Miller will represent Hill at the induction ceremony, and he will share interesting aspects of Hill’s barbecue legacy.
Some Highlights from Columbus B. Hill’s Life and Barbecue Career:
- Circa 1851–Hill born in Missouri.
- 1870s–Hill moved to Denver, Colorado.
- March 30, 1888–Head chef at Denver Businessmen’s Barbecue for 4,000 people. The menu featured: beef, possum, bread, cheese, pickles, beer, and “other tempting delicacies” according to the Rocky Mountain News.
- July 4, 1890–Head chef at barbecue in Lincoln Park, Denver to celebrate the laying of the cornerstone for construction of the Colorado State Capitol building. An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people attended. Attendees were served 30,000 pounds of beef, lamb, and veal, 5,000 pounds of bread, 30,000 cucumber pickles, and 8,000 to 10,000 tin cups of lemonade.
- October 1894–Head chef at barbecue for thousands of people who attended the Greely Potato Days festival. According to the Greeley Tribune, the menu was: “Roasted Ox, a la mode; Potatoes, camping out style; Bread, Butter, and Coffee.”
- January 27, 1898–Head chef at a private V.I.P. barbecue at the National Stock Growers Convention in Denver. The barbecue menu for 5,000 people included: 2 buffalo, 10 cows, 4 elk, 30 sheep, 2 bears, 15 antelope, 200 possum, 35 barrels of yams (sweet potatoes), 10,000 pickles, 3,000 loaves of bread, a half-ton of cheese, 300 kegs of beer, and 200 gallons of coffee. Thirty thousand uninvited guests showed up for this event and a riot ensued that garnered national attention.
- May 25, 1908–Head chef at Seattle, Washington celebration of the Atlantic battleship fleet.
- August 19, 1923–Hill buried in an unmarked grave at Riverside Cemetery in Denver, Colorado.