Griffin Bufkin, proprietor of coastal Georgia smoke joint Southern Soul Barbeque, grew up on St. Simons Island, where he is a third generation Islander and passionate curator of some of the Southeast’s best barbeque. He spent his college and post-graduate years in the fields of design, photography and video production, followed by a long career in the music business, running several local venues and working as a talent booker and manager.
Bufkin’s appreciation for Southern food traditions was born when he cooked at venerable Island kitchen Frannie’s Place, where he developed culinary skills using a modern, healthy approach. Signature dishes at Frannie’s Place inspired several of Southern Soul Barbeque’s most popular sides, including Brunswick stew and Hoppin’ John. In the early 2000s, Bufkin was hosting charity bluegrass suppers with friend and pitmaster Harrison Sapp while tending bar at local pub Palm Coast. When the pub’s sub-leased kitchen became available, the two jumped at the opportunity to establish Southern Soul Barbeque, which later relocated to their current space in a refurbished gas station in the heart of the island. Bufkin’s 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.