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20 Under 40: Hancock becomes third-generation owner of Selma landmark

Emily Hancock grew up with her parents running Hancock’s Barbecue. Although that’s all she had known her whole life, she thought she would want to do anything but that when she went off to college. But it didn’t work out like she had planned.

“When I left high school, I thought I would never want to do anything food wise,” Hancock said. “I was thinking I was going to be a radiology major and then that ended up not being my forte, and I went and tried cooking. You hate to know your parents are always right.”

Hancock said she is excited to bring some new items to the restaurant’s menu.

Hancock graduated from Morgan Academy and later attended Gulf Coast Culinary Institute and then Trenholm State Technical College.

She worked in many different types of restaurants and with different food, getting a wide variety of experience along the way.

“I got my hand in a lot of different kinds of food, and I got to expand and I realized that there was more than just barbecue out there, and it was fun,” Hancock said.

But barbecue is what brought her back home to Selma. Hancock will be taking over as the sole owner of Hancock’s Barbecue.

“I’m very excited to be back,” Hancock said. “I just moved back in. I will be the third-generation owner of Hancock’s Barbecue and I’m very excited about that opportunity. I’m looking to increase some of our options and add some more modern day items.”

Hancock said she is excited to bring some new items to the table, and even recently held a tasting for people to try out some new items.

Smoked boneless chicken, Kory’s cabbage, a watermelon salad and caramelized banana pudding were part of the taste testing and Hancock said she was thrilled to just let people try them out and have some more options on the menu.

“My parents have done a great job and I’m just looking to expand on that with my background being in culinary arts,” Hancock said. “It will be fun working with them and showing them that there are a few more options out there. We’ve only ever had fried things and pork. There’s so many more options out there.”

Hancock said although she plans to add some things to the menu, she would never change the staples that make Hancock’s what it is.

“I definitely want to keep the southern roots here,” she said. “I’m not going to strive to reinvent the wheel. This place has been running for 35 years with my parents and six or seven years with my grandparents, so I’m not trying to reinvent the whole thing. I just want to expand a few little things.”