It’s hard not to conjure up Don Quixote when considering Joe Haynes. Like the famous fictional character who went into the Spanish countryside on a quest to right wrongs, Haynes has traveled the hills and valleys of Virginia to right the wrong he believes has been done to the state’s barbecue.
“Virginia doesn’t get its due,” says Haynes. “Virginia, not that long ago, was one of the nation’s great barbecue destinations.”
A mild-mannered technology consultant by day, Haynes, 54, is on a mission to save Virginia barbecue from obscurity. In 2016, he got the Virginia General Assembly to designate May through October as Virginia Barbecue Season. He runs a blog called Obsessive Compulsive Barbecue that’s heavy on Virginia tidbits. He’s trying to market three Virginia-style sauces that he developed. And this week saw the arrival of his book, “Virginia Barbecue: A History” (Arcadia Publishing).