Owner of Jericho BBQ says Juneteenth is a chance to share his soul food with all of Milwaukee

Posted at 6:26 PM, Jun 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-09 19:26:49-04

MILWAUKEE — Jericho Shaw makes some mean barbecue — but he got his business start as a little boy selling Kool-Aid.

"No sooner than we set the stand up with the table and the gallon of juice, here comes some people," he recalls.

Jericho kept up that entrepreneurial spirit all through his youth — shining shoes, selling newspapers, even running a car wash. Then one day, about 30 years ago, he started selling barbecue in front of that car wash.

"I made $200-some! So I thought, 'this is cool right here.'"

Part of what's kept Jericho is business is obviously his food.

"If I can get some good quality, all this meat I've got is quality meat," he says. "I can cook some ribs that are falling off the bone, just like that, because I know what I'm doing."

Jericho does his barbecue soul food style — with mac and cheese, baked beans, potato salad, greens and candied yams. Ribs became popular in the South because they were an undesirable cut of meat often given to slaves.

Just like his ancestors, Jericho still smokes his ribs slow and seasons them right.

"It really ain't the money. It's the money, but I like when someone tastes something and they say, 'mm!' I like that, when they say, 'mm.' They they'll leave and they'll come back," he says.

The coming back part is pretty important to Jericho — it's what's kept him in business all these years.

"They want to taste this flavor," Jericho says. "And it's some good flavor."

He's looking forward to Juneteenth when he can share his cooking with everyone.

"It's for all nationalities, it just ain't for us," Jericho says. "When we got freed, we were happy, But then we're happy for the other people that got freed, too."

He says the Juneteenth holiday brings people together.

"It just ain't Jericho's BBQ. It's Jericho and The Community Barbecue, that's what I would say."

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