Angie Harris fulfills family legacy as pitmaster at Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ

Credit: Angie Moser for the AJC

Credit: Angie Moser for the AJC

Following in the footsteps of such great female pitmasters as Gerri Grady, Shalamar Lane, Desiree Robinson and Erica Blaire Roby, Angie Harris has taken her place at Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ in Atlanta, where she is leading the barbecue brigade.

Harris grew up in Parsons, Kansas, where her grandfather often would dig a trench, chop wood and smoke meat.

“My papa was into it big time,” Harris recalled. “He did it with a pit. It was a hole in the ground, with wire and bricks, and I fed the fire.”

Credit: Angie Mosier

Credit: Angie Mosier

Harris came to Atlanta in 1993, and got a job working in construction. “Before I ever hit a kitchen, I was a curb and gutter cement finisher,” she said.

Moving into the restaurant business in 2011, she grilled burgers at the Local No. 7 in Tucker. After that, she worked five years for Mike LaSage at Bone Lick BBQ.

“I worked prep, but something happened to the pitmaster and Mike threw me back there,” Harris said. “That’s where it all started for me.”

Later, she landed at Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, then helped open DAS BBQ on Memorial Drive. About a year and a half ago, Harris got the top job at the local outlet of the Rodney Scott’s chain.

“Each place I’ve been,” Harris said, “I learned a little something more, so it’s been about learning a lot of techniques that go into what I know today.”

From Scott’s perspective, having a woman in the pit is in keeping with his family’s history.

“I go back to when I saw my grandma stirring a wash pot,” he said. “I remember her building a fire around that and making cracklings. I also remember my mom stepping in the pit to make sure the hog was seasoned correctly. They would do just as much as any man would do.”

Asked for his take on seeing Harris in the pit for the first time, Scott said, “I was like, whoa, thank you. The people she’s worked with love her. The Fox brothers speak highly of Miss Angie. But I love her because her energy is always positive, and she gives you a positive feeling when you see her.”

Of course, working the pit means you can get burned, and Harris’s arms show the dangers of working with live fire.

“This is hard work,” she said. “These are all battle scars. But it’s my passion. I talk to the coals and the wood. Each and every piece of meat that gets served here, I touch and I love, because I know it’s going to make somebody’s tummy smile.”

Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ. 668 Metropolitan Parkway, Atlanta. 678-855-7377,

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