April 23, 2021

Caney Head Church Barbecue this Saturday

The Annual Caney Head Methodist Church Barbecue takes place this Saturday from 10:30 AM – 3:00 PM at the church located on Caney Head Road in northern Heard County

(Heard County, GA) — Church members and other helpers will be hard at work this weekend as Caney Head Methodist Church prepares for their barbecue fundraiser this Saturday, September 28 at the church.

The event has been a tradition at the church since the 1950’s and draws hundreds of people annually looking to purchase the famous barbecue, brunswick stew, and other homemade fixings.

The popularity of the culinary event of the year means a large amount of planning, preparation and work must begin early in the week for organizers at the small rural church located on Caney Head Road in northern Heard County.

The culinary event of the year attracts visitors from miles around with many coming to sit down and enjoy the meal with friends and neighbors, while others buy the plates and barbecue by the pound to carry back home.

The barbecue is on sale from 10:30 AM until 2:00 PM Saturday but the cooking starts the day before when thousands of pounds of meat are delivered to the church grounds.

The men of the church get the hickory logs going early Friday morning before the meat arrives usually around noon. The homemade barbecue sauce is mixed on Thursday night and the cole slaw is made on Friday. 

The uber popular brunswick stew is made the traditional way and stirred throughout the night in large black pots. Hams and shoulders are cooked and turned over open pits throughout the night prior to the event.

The meat has to stay over the fire for about 18 hours and needs to be turned every few minutes, so many members spend the night at the church.

The church has a very small congregation, but families who have been members of the church and have moved away often come back to work the event. The group also gets a lot of volunteer help from surrounding communities.

Proceeds from the annual barbecue help support many of the church’s operations and missions.

Caney Head United Methodist Church’s members, in years past, have included Judge Lamar Knight, Roy Denney and Mayhayley Lancaster, the famous soothsayer who has been featured in Hollywood movies and whose body is buried in the church cemetery.

Lancaster was an attorney, political activist, midwife and teacher — she was the first woman to run for the state Legislature, although she wasn’t elected.

Older church members recall Mayhayley coming to church in a buggy or walking with two or three of her dogs and her sister, Sallie. She always wore an old Army cap and carried a small notebook to take notes during the sermon.

Lancaster died May 22, 1955, just five months before her 80th birthday. Her tombstone was originally six feet tall, but vandals constantly visited the cemetery and toppled it over, breaking pieces off. It was repaired a few times, but was finally replaced with a smaller two-and-a-half-foot stone. The grave was concreted and security cameras were installed around the cemetery and church.

People coming to the annual barbecue are encouraged to arrive as early as possible Saturday because the food sells fast.

Plates (either to eat in church dining hall or to-go) are $8, with Brunswick stew also sold by the quart for $8 and pork barbecue by the pound for $8.

For more information click here to visit the event page on Facebook. The address for Caney Head Methodist is 1304 Caney Head Rd, Roopville, GA 30170.

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