Our Story

Southern Soul

Born in 2006 - Resurrected in 2010

“I start fires and cook BBQ.  That’s what I do.”
- Harrison Sapp
“Our main goal through Southern Soul Barbeque is to spread the gospel of Southern foodways and Slow Food while continuing to offer some of the Southeast’s finest smoked meats and sides.”
- Griffin “Griff” Bufkin

Born in 2006 and resurrected from fire in 2010, we were forever changed by that fateful March morning. Our mission to make the best damn barbecue you'd ever had changed that day and grew into something so much bigger.

Through outpouring of love and support we we received from neighbors, friends and fellow restaurant as we rebuilt, we knew we had to more than just make great barbecue, we were here to do more good.

Because others helped us in our time of need, we committed to pay it forward and made it our mission to do more good and support other food industry workers in crisis however we could.

In 2018 we formally launched The Firebox Initiative, a non- profit dedicated to financially supporting the needs of food service workers in crisis within our community.

Learn More ABout The Firebox Initiative

Throughout The years


Harrison Buys first smoker

Harrison bought his first smoker from Ben Lang in Nahunta, GA, and began testing & perfecting his recipe for BBQ pork.


Griffin and Harrision Forge Partnership

Griffin and Harrison forge a partnership to sell BBQ on the island on a full time basis.

First Retail "Pop up" location

Southern Soul opened the first retail “pop up” location in the courtyard at Palm Coast. The BBQ was initially served only on Saturdays, but the demand was real, so one day quickly moved to two and then three days a week.


Southern Soul Moves to Current Location

Southern Soul moved to its current location at 2020 Demere Road (an old gas station at the round-about in the middle of the island), and the team officially began full time operations.


Guy Fieri visits Southern Soul

In February, Guy Fieri visits Southern Soul to sample the food and film a feature episode of Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives (DDD).

Southern Soul Burns To The Ground

In March, Southern Soul burned to the ground. That might have been the end of the story, but the local community rallied to ensure the doors would remain open, and the team continued to operate out of a neighboring location (Ziggy Mohoney’s) while the restaurant was under re-construction.

Garden & Gun: Top BBQ Joint

JUNE/JULY: Southern Soul was named as one of the top Barbecue Joints of “The Secret South” by Garden & Gun Magazine.

"The best barbecue has got to be Southern Soul on St. Simons Island. Not only ios the BBQ the best, the sides are somethin’ else!"

Featured on DDD After the Fire

Southern Soul was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives(DDD) hosted by the legendary Guy Fieri.

Harrison featured on BBQ Pitmasters

Harrison Sapp featured on BBQ Pitmasters (Season 2, Episode 1).


NYT Feature: Southern Soul is the Favorite Hang out for local PGA Golfers

Southern Soul featured in the New York Times as a favorite hang out for local PGA golfers.


featured On “The BBQ Show”

OCTOBER: SSBBQ featured in “The BBQ Show” - a GPB Georgia Traveler Special.


Makes the G&G BBQ Bucket List

Southern Soul highlighted on “The Barbecue Bucket List” in Garden & Gun magazine

Barbecuban Featured on the “The Drunken Cubano Flip”

In June, Bobby Dean & Nikki Dinki traveled to St. Simons to take on Southern Soul’s Barbecuban in the “The Drunken Cubano Flip” episode of Junk Food Flip. (Season 1, Episode 3)


Featured on “Authentic Eats” episode of Beach Bites

In June, Southern Soul is featured on “Authentic Eats” episode of Beach Bites, hosted by Katie Lee. (Season 1, Episode 6)


Named South's best bbq by southern living

Southern Soul was was named "The South's Best BBQ Joint of 2017" by Southern Living.


Southern Soul ties for Southern Living's best bbq joint 2018

Southern Soul tied with Lexington Barbecue of North Carolina for top honors in the Southern Living reader’s poll for “Best Barbecue Joint 2018.

"Despite their differences, Southern Soul Barbeque and Lexington Barbecue are linked by a few common threads. Both are beloved institutions in their respective communities, places where friends and families come together for good food and fun."

"They are unwavering in their devotion to slow-cooking meat on wood-fired pits. Their commitment to quality has won both places national fame, luring barbecue fans from around the country and even around the world to the rolling hills of the North Carolina Piedmont and to the shores of southern Georgia.

Southern Soul Launches The FireBox Initiative Non-Profit

In March, Griffin, Harrison, Kitty & life-long friend Brad Hummel (Executive Director) formally launch a non-profit initiative inspired by the overwhelming generosity the Southern Soul team experienced in the aftermath of the fire in 2010. The new non-profit, THE FIREBOX INITIATIVE, is created to provide on-going emergency financial assistance to local food service workers who are experiencing crisis due to illness, accident or natural disaster.

In October, The Firebox Initiative hosts the first annual BBQ ON THE BLUFF event at Casgoigne Bluff.  The inaugural event was SOLD OUT, and has been each year since its inception.  Today, this annual Golden Isles tradition (gathering top-notch pitmaster and world renowned culinary talent) has become a fan favorite for both locals and foodies from around the nation.

See Ticket Availability.


Named best smokehouse in the south by southern living (3rd year in a row)

Southern Soul was named THE BEST SMOKEHOUSE IN THE SOUTH (for the third consecutive year!) by Southern Living, and was described as having “Top-notch Southern barbecue with a whole lot of soul.”

"Sapp and Bufkin don't do things by half measures. Out beside the restaurant is a collection of oak-fired Lang and Oyler pits on which they cook pork, ribs, brisket, and more. They serve those treasures in a setting that strikes the pitch-perfect chord for a barbecue joint—one that blends the old with the new, the upscale with the down-to-earth."

Harrison is featured on river city live

"Its full throttle (around here) … the place is always packed, and you have a great menu … what can people expect?"

"Slow smoked food.  Everything we do is slow, and homemade - everything.  I don’t use any gas.  I don’t use any other heat source.  It’s just all oakwood from St. Simons, and it takes anywhere from 3 to 14 hours to cook … it really is an art form."

Featured in Garden & Gun's "Guide to best new southern barbeque joints

Southern Soul featured in Garden & Gun magazine’s “Guide to the Best New Southern Barbecue Joints



In March, Southern Soul opened the CHANNEL MARKER “Tiki” BAR, and we've been serving up frozen drinks and salty jokes ever since.  Come grab a bar stool and grab a classic frozen Bushwacker, or ask Sophie about the daily and seasonal specials on the menu.  Its always five o’clock somewhere, and we’re always here.-

In June, Southern Soul opened the SMOKESHOP next door to the restaurant to begin selling branded merchandise. Today, the SMOKESHOP offers a thoughtfully curated blend of SSBBQ sauces & rubs, SSBBQ and Firebox branded apparel, beach and BBQ themed gifts and goods, as well as locally sourced craft & food items. Come visit us in-person or on-line to keep that soulful Southern vibe going all year long!

Southern Soul Makes Southern LIving's "The south's top 50 barbecue joints 2022"

Southern Soul recognized on Southern Living’s The South’s Top 50 Barbecue Joints 2022” list.

Featured twice in Garden & Gun's "best southern soup recipes"

Featured (twice) by Garden & Gun for having some of the “Best Southern Soup Recipes.”


"best bbq joint in the state of ga" by Yelp

Yelp named SSBBQ as “Best BBQ Joint in the State of GA

Featured on Triple d Again

Guy Fieri re-visited Southern Soul, and SSBBQ was once again featured on the iconic Triple D Nation. (Season 46, Episode 3: Pastrami, Patties and Parm).

GA's top spot for "your state's best hole-in-the-wall restaurant"

Southern Soul received GA’s top spot on the “Your state’s best hole-in-the-wall restaurant” list, compiled by LoveFood.com.

Southern Living's "the Souths Top 50 Barbecue JoinTs 2023"

Southern Soul recognized on Southern Living’s “The South’s Top 50 Barbecue Joints 2023” list.


First Coast News: First Coast Living Feature

Southern Soul is featured as one of the best BBQ joints "on planet Earth." The earth is a big place, and we'll take the compliment. See our video feature here: "Try Southern Soul Barbeque, St Simons Island, GA"