First Oklahoman Inducted Into Barbecue Hall Of Fame

Wednesday, August 5th 2020, 5:36 pm
By: Jonathan Cooper

TULSA, Okla. -

Joe Davidson lives and breathes barbecue.

"I've got smoke in my hair. If I could bottle this like perfume, I think it'd be awesome," said Davidson.

From meeting celebrities, to hosting grill camps, barbecue has taken him around the world. Now, it's also getting him inducted into the American Royal Barbecue Hall of Fame.

"It's the greatest honor I could ever be given," said Davidson.

Davidson is one of three new inductees in the class of 2020 and the first Oklahoman to ever receive the honor.

Since 2011, Davidson has owned and operated four Oklahoma Joes restaurants in Tulsa and another in Nebraska, but his journey to the Hall of Fame all started when he was in college.

"I actually built my first cookers in 84 and 85. I built them for gifts for my dad and my brother," said Davidson.

A welder by trade, Davidson started building and selling smokers and grills, turning it into a major business a few years later.

"I thought if I'm going to be selling the world's best smokers, I better to get to where I could be one of the world's best cookers," said Davidson.

After years of practice, Davidson started competing in BBQ competitions, and he also started winning.

"I've won the Jack Daniels, I've won the American Royal invitational, I've won the World Pork Barbecollosal, the World Brisket cookoff,” said Davidson.

At those competitions, he met his future business partner and the two opened their first restaurant in Stillwater in 1995.

A year later, they expanded into Kansas City.

Davidson eventually sold his shares and went back to work with smokers. However, tired of traveling, he got back into the restaurant business, opening Oklahoma Joe’s himself in the Tulsa area.

Davidson said of all the things he's done career-wise, being a Hall of Famer might be the greatest.

"It just makes me really proud of what we've accomplished," said Davidson.