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Harrison Sapp, co-owner of Southern Soul Barbecue, keeps an eye on the meat smoking process during a previous Firebox event. Coastal Illustrated/file

Eventually, all good things come back around. That’s the case with the Firebox BBQ on the Bluff, the barbecue invitational event that’s now in its fourth year. There was no event in 2020, but this year, from Sept. 30 – Oct. 2, pitmasters, chefs and farmers are converging on St. Simons Island.

The Firebox Initiative has its roots in tragedy. But like the proverbial phoenix that rises from the ashes, Southern Soul Barbeque when destroyed by fire more than a decade ago, didn’t give up. Co-owners Griffin Bufkin and Harrison Sapp established a bank account to help their employees keep financially afloat while the rebuilding process of Southern Soul was under way. The restaurant and its employees received widespread community support.

In a Coastal Illustrated article written several years ago, it’s mentioned the roots of Firebox Initiative are planted in that fertile soil of gratefulness. When setting up Firebox Intiative, it was modeled on The Giving Kitchen, and Atlanta-based operation that assists members of the hospitality industry who have fallen on hard times due to a variety of reasons. Firebox has assisted a number of local individuals due to illness, injury and the financial challenges brought on by restaurant closures due to Covid-19.

This year, the chef’s dinner, which will be held Sept. 30 at Southern Soul Barbeque, will feature Chef James London of Chubby Fish, in Charleston, South Carolina, along with Wild Heaven Brewing and Virgil Kaine Whiskey Co.

The Firebox BBQ on the Bluff, planned for Oct. 2, will be an evening of enjoying great food, beverages and friends under the oaks at Gascoigne Bluff.

Participants will include Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, Home Team BBQ, Peg Leg Porker BBQ, Pig Beach BBQ, 17th Street BBQ, Holy City Hogs, Southern Soul BBQ, Sam Jones BBQ, Buxton Hall BBQ, DAS BBQ, Tuffy Stone and Cool Smoke, Mama Jean’s BBQ, Sugarfire Smokehouse, Certified Burgers & Beverage, Chubby Fish, Shaggy/NOLA Crawfish King, Crabdaddy’s, Pelican Oyster Co., Sea Island Forge, Virgil Kaine Lowcountry Whiskey Co., Wild Heaven Beer, Piedmont Brewing Co. and Silver Bluff Brewing.

Of course, it’s not a party without music. The musical guest will be Night Fever, the duo of Jason Fuller and Ashley Stewart, who will have the crowd groovin’ to all their yacht rock faves.

Tickets sell out fast. Be sure to visit ssbbqfirebox.com for prices, times and other details.