The Faulkners have each been with King Aerospace since 2007 and have won several meat smoking awards in the region.

Road Trip Brings Fellowship (and BBQ) to King Aerospace Facilities

July 13, 2023

A recent cross-country trip offered a lot more than just the opportunity for two brothers to introduce East Coasters to the wonders of real Oklahoma barbecue.

Chris and Jon Faulkner have each been with King Aerospace since 2007, and both currently work in the paint shop in Ardmore, OK. Most relevant to this story, however, is that they’ve also won several awards at meat smoking competitions throughout the region.

Mr. King and the Faulkner brothers in Lakehurst, NJ.

“We’ve used the barbecue pit all our lives,” says Jon Faulkner. “It’s kind of a hobby for us, and we’ve also cooked for company fundraisers.”

So, when it came time for company Chairman and Founder Jerry King to visit King Aerospace facilities in New Jersey, Maryland and Georgia, he called upon the Faulkner brothers to bring their smoker along for the roughly 3,500-mile trip.

“We cut the briskets here and packed them in ice,” Jon continues. “We prepared it all here in Ardmore, then finished cooking it when we got where we were going.”

Jake’s Joint Chef Larry Core also contributed side dishes including baked beans and potato salad, while Mrs. [Barbara] King made her homemade vanilla ice cream. Other tastes of home included venison backstrap pinwheels and elk sausage, all made from game from Mr. King’s ranch.

“We had to empty the coolers every day,” adds Chris Faulkner, “and refill them with ice to keep everything cold.”

At the first stop in Lakehurst, NJ, the brothers fed around two dozen King Aerospace employees and customers, including a few hungry Air Force servicemembers lured over to the festivities by the smell. “They fell in love with it!” says Chris. “By the time they left, we’d put them in a food coma.”

The brothers had similar experiences at stops in Hagerstown, MD (“we couldn’t set up on the base, so we had dinner in Pennsylvania’s Stateline Park,” Jon notes) and Fort Stewart near Hinesville, GA.

In total, the Faulkners fed more than one hundred people during the eight-day marathon road trip. The drive was such a success that plans are now underway for similar barbecue get-togethers at KAI facilities in the Southwest.

To the Faulkners, these visits meant more than simply displaying their meat smoking acumen; each also presented new opportunities to promote King Aerospace values of fellowship and servant leadership not only to other company employees, but also valued clients.

“It was an awesome trip, because it’s very important to me to at least meet and greet somebody new every day,” Jon says. “You don’t have to be best friends [but you can] break bread with them, so they’re no longer a stranger.”

“This was the trip of a lifetime,” Chris adds. “People took pictures of the smoker as we drove along and gave us the thumbs-up. We’ve got a lot of beautiful country, and we made a lot of people smile along the way.”