History of Hursey's BBQ
In 1945, Sylvester Hursey and his wife Daisy, took his own father's favorite method of preparing hickory smoked pork and added a "secret sauce" to establish the Hursey Bar-B-Q tradition. From a homemade pit in their backyard, with neighbors and friends as their first customers, their method was rehearsed and perfected.
As their business outgrew their home, the Hursey's purchased a cafe on the corner of Piedmont St. in Gibsonville, NC. They had two large pits built on the backside to accommodate the growing demand for their barbecue. In 1949, the first license ever granted by the state of North Carolina to a barbecue wholesaler was framed and hung proudly on the walls of that little cafe.
Charles, the older of the two sons began "learning the business" by helping his parents during summers and after school. His first position was that of car-hop. In 1960, he joined his parents in their business full time - operating the retail cafe and managing the wholesale end at the same time. In mid-1966, Charles took over the Burlington location on Rauhut St., which his father had built and operated since 1957. Charles operates Hursey's Bar-B-Q wholesale located on Hwy 87 N. which is an up-to-date facility that is federally inspected. In addition to running their own refrigerated trucks, he sells to several major meat distributors.
Charles loves to describe the process of Hursey's Bar-B-Q business in simple terms. He remembers when his parents were cooking only one to two hogs a week over hickory coals. The operation now involves smoking over 1200 shoulders per week (not counting hams!)
Meet Charles Hursey
Charles loves to describe the process of Hursey's Bar-B-Q business in simple terms. "I rememberwhen my Mom and Dad were turning maybe one or two whole hogs a week," he said. His modern-dayoperation smokes more than 1200 shoulders per week - not counting hams!
It has been stated that Charles personally holds the undisputed honor of being the North Carolinian who has chopped more Bar-B-Q than anyone else. In fact, if he were to place all the shoulders he has single- handedly chopped end-to-end, they would stretch 386 miles! That translates into more than 70 million Bar-B-Q sandwiches…and that number is increasing every day!
A genuinely substantiated fact is that Hursey's Pig Pickin' Bar-B-Q took top honors in the North and
South Carolina Cook Off held in Washington, D.C. The winner was declared by a panel of distinguished
judges to have the best tasting Bar-B-Q in the Carolinas! Patrons from all 50 states and many countries
have tasted his acclaimed Bar-B-O. Charles has also gained national recognition for his Broasted Chicken by winning the National Golden Chicken Award, honored in USA Today's Best Bar-B-Q, and featured in Our State Magazine, just to list a few of many honors. What's more, he's also been recognized for selling more apple turnovers than any one
restaurant in the nation!
Following the Hursey family tradition, Charles & Ellen's (Charles' right-hand partner for more than 60 years) sons, Chuck and Chris, now assist their father in operating all 5 restaurant locations and one state-of-the-art catering facility. Charles's daughter, Carey, along with her mom, Ellen, are important contributors to Hursey's success.
Charles is now privileged to be working side by side with his grandchildren, also making 4 generations in the family BBQ business. As the business has followed the trends over the years, catering has become a substantial segment of the Bar-B-Q market. Church gatherings, weddings, receptions, political rallies, family and class reunions, and civic fundraisers are frequent events.
Groups as small as 10 or as large as 3,000 are accommodated with ease. Hursey's has had the honor of serving 4 U.S presidents, several N.C. Governors, Senators, and famous athletes.
When asked about his success over the past 55+ years, he answers with a smile
"We like the big crowds and the demanding events, but the customer who we really love to see is YOU! AND I THINK HE REALLY MEANS THAT!