All hail, the true King of Bay Area BBQ! Destined from birth with smoky royalty in his blood, forged by oak-burning fire, the master of pits, pretender of none, others choke on his smoke…the GOAT, Oakland’s own, Lamont Payton!
He is the first of his generation. Everett and Jones’ first BBQ baby was born with tongs in his hand and a purpose to smoke the hell out of some BBQ. He’s the Fresh Prince of the Bay Area. He was raised by his grandmother, the Queen Mother herself, Dorothy Everett– the Mother of Oakland-Style Barbeque. He was well-loved (spoiled) by his aunts and uncles who helped guide him along the way. Lamont (we call him Monty) was groomed to produce quality BBQ in the traditions of his Black ancestors.
When Everett and Jones Barbeque first opened in 1973, at 5 years old Lamont was in the background soaking up history-his story-Black history. By age 7 he was helping to make the family’s famous BBQ sauce. By the age of 10 he was helping to make their famous homemade beef links. And by his teenage years he was cooking and mastering the huge fiery brick pits. Here he is 1975 surveying his future kingdom.
But every Prodigal son has a process.
Before accepting his rightful position as the true King of BBQ, he was a child of hip hop. Lamont ran Oakland’s streets with many of hip hop’s greats like Too Short, Tupac, and Digital Underground as the undercover DJ "Under" spinnin’ records, Oakland-style, with a smokin’ beat. He found his soul in music as a DJ and tapped into its power. Behind the turntables he was the master chef of jams-chopping it up-undercover-committed to satisfying the crowd. Black BBQ has always moved to a different beat.
Black history and culture are very important to Lamont. In 2009, Lamont dusted off his DJ skills and curated a playlist for the historic 55 hours bus trip to President Barack Obama’s 1st inauguration which he helped organize. He also brought culturally revelant movies on board for the long bus ride to witness history.
Pretenders can’t touch Lamont’s skills. You can’t learn what he knows from watching Food Network and these fake BBQ competitions that have been whitewashed for public consumption, and an attempt to offer a false history of American BBQ. In fact, he is not a pitmaster (a one trick pony); he is the Pit’s master. He has mastered the brick pit, the Southern Pride smoker, the JR smoker, the cook shack smoker, the Weber smoker, the steel barrel smoker, the Kingsford smoker and any other off brand name smoker or grills. All BBQ apparatuses we have used in our 47 years history know them well. Lamont is on a whole other level!
Whenever folks need a celebrity pit’s master for a mega event they call-Lamont. He is not only the master of wheels of steels, but also the grills of steel. This human octopus can throw down and control 3 or 4 grills at once- drop it, flip it, rub it down...Oh noooo!
Lamont has played a pivotal role in Everett and Jones Barbeques’ 47 years history. With impeccable credentials and pedigree he is destined to go down in history as one of the best pit’s masters that ever came out of the Bay Area. He has helped define Oakland’s smoky and colorful place in the American BBQ story. He was born into it, trained to do it, positioned to lead it and has mastered it. M.C Hammer said it best, “Can’t touch this”! He is the man, the myth, and the legend, brilliant, full of knowledge, equipped and ready to reign. All hail! The true King of Bay Area BBQ - Yayy Area!
by Yvette Jones-Hawkins
and Shirley Everett-Dicko
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Looking for an agent/publisher for a proposed new barbeque book from a Black woman's perspective 50 years in the game.
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