Meet Allen Crump, "BBQ Man" — Owner of Pig Pen #1 and Pig Pen #2



photo courtesy Alisa Houseal Botto

Last week, I posted an old Treadwell High School yearbook ad for a barbecue joint on Summer called the Pig Pen, because I just liked the matter-of-fact style of the ad.

Well, imagine my surprise and delight when it turns out that the daughter and granddaughter of the owner — a fellow named Allen Crump — told me lots more about the place. Alisa also provided this wonderful photo shown here, which shows Crump and a some fellow who looks like a potato-chip salesman. What I especially like is the saying hand-painted on the wall behind them: "BBQ Is Delicious Even If You Are Sober."

Maybe even more so.

Alisa tells me: "My grandfather, Allen Crump, owned and operated the Pig Pen. In the family it was always considered 'the first counter-service BBQ in Memphis.' My claim to fame! Mother has lots of stories about it. The restaurant was in the back of the lot where Tops is now [3359 Summer]. Their home was right in front, on Summer Avenue. I have a few great pics of the place. When my grandfather died in 1958, his obituary in the Memphis newspaper read 'Allen Crump — BBQ Man." By this time, he was operating a Western wear store on National, called the Trading Post."

Then Crump's daughter, Rachel Durham, provided more information: "I loved my father's Pig Pens. Totally miss the cooked shoulders taken off the pits. To the best of my knowledge, the Pig Pen originated from my father, Allen Crump, giving barbecues for family and friends. My brothers — Ben, Johnny, and Sam — all worked at the Pig Pen. Recently Sam was talking about how they would all be sitting around just talking when one of them would say, 'Time to go put the shoulders on the pits.'

"There was one on Lamar also, Pig Pen #2 [ at 2656 Lamar]. My daddy liked to put funny sayings on the walls and always welcomed me and a group of friends for BBQ and hamburgers. I do not remember the exact amount of time, but Goodloe Early (whose father owned the Pig 'n' Whistle), told me years later that all the other BBQ guys would cook their shoulders 24 hours (I think), but my Dad would cook ours two hours longer."

Thanks for the great memories, Alisa and Rachel. I remember the Pig Pen, and I most certainly remember the Trading Post. It's where I always bought my chaps.

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Ask Vance is the blog of Vance Lauderdale, the award-winning columnist of Memphis magazine and MBQ: Inside Memphis Business.  Vance is the author of three books: Ask Vance: The Best Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History and Trivia Expert (2003), as well as Ask Vance: More Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History Expert (2011) and Vance Lauderdale's Lost Memphis (2013). He is also the recipient of quite a few nice awards, the creator of several eye-catching wall calendars, and the only person we know with a vintage shock-treatment machine in his den. 

You can find him from time to time in the pages of the Memphis Flyer and MBQ, on WKNO television, and on Facebook. When he is not exploring the highways and byways of Memphis, he spends his time sleeping, napping, and dozing.

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