FERGUSON, Mo. (KMOX) – A new sign that’s recently sprung up in north St. Louis has been acting like a beacon for fans of great barbecue.
They’re making a beeline to Red’s BBQ Shack at the corner of Natural Bridge and Goodfellow, excited that owner Redmond “Red” Harris is back in action following a stint behind bars on a vehicular homicide conviction.
“I killed someone drinking and driving,” Harris readily admits. “So that changed my life … I don’t drink anymore. I’ve been blessed to get out of prison and come back.”
Harris was still behind bars in 2014 when rioting mobs heavily damaged his former location on West Florissant near Canfield — twice — in the wake of Michael Brown’s shooting death.
Some business partners were operating Original Red’s BBQ at the time, and though they tried to reopen a few months after the riots, they discovered that business had dried up and they were forced to closed their doors for good.
Now Harris, newly sober and remarried, is once again turning out the old favorites from his days in Ferguson.
“Ray’s rib tips are famous, everybody loves them,” boasts Harris. “They got the most flavor and everything. But everything’s good — you got the slabs, the beef brisket, Polish hamburgers, pork steaks.”
Harris says if it’s made out of meat, he can barbecue it to perfection.
He’s had a lot of practice, having started his business “on the streets,” selling barbecue out of the back of his truck nearly 20 years ago.
“I used to cook at home and people said, ‘You need to sell it!'” he recalls of those early days. “So I started selling it.”
Harris expects his stay at Natural Bridge and Goodfellow to be only temporary.
His goal is to move back to his original location in the 6100 block of Bermuda Road – a building he still owns – within a year.
Red’s BBQ Shack is open only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.