Over time and with practice, though, the group of six has coalesced into an efficient, tight-knit team. During the day I spent hanging around the kitchen, I watched with admiration as they sliced brisket, ladled sauce, toted steaming platters of sides, and weaved around one another with seeming extrasensory perception. Robert Polk, the pit master I met earlier this morning, comes in carrying a gorgeous brisket fresh from the smoker and hands it off to Smitty, who starts slicing it to make sandwiches and plates. The rest goes into a supersize crock pot, where it stays warm throughout service. Ann O'Bryant, a woman in her 40s who does most of the cooking, tells me that she prepares sides "just the way Mrs. Ward did", and Henry Ford, 16, the newest member of the team, moves quickly as he washes dishes and cleans up. Reverend Edison, under the watchful eye of his wife, Wyvonnia, who helps him manage the place, runs the cash register. He also comes in early to make a few desserts, having added his own, excellent buttermilk pie to the repertoire.