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Maw n' Paw and some Meat
In 1944, our family migrated to Fresno, California from Paducah, Kentucky. We brought along an entrepreneurial spirit and a lot of barbecue know-how in our Army-surplus trailer. Our family succeeded in several different business ventures over the years, none of which had anything to do with our shared family love for slow smoked barbecue, homemade sauces and sides. One grandson (we’ll call him “Paw Jr.”) became an entrepreneur while still in high school, and started three businesses by the time he was thirty. (Who needs high school?)
Then opportunity knocked (because it couldn’t get a wi-fi signal for email). Cafe space opened up near his office. The previous renters had trashed the place before moving out, so Paw Jr. (PJ) cut a deal with the property owner to get the key a few months in advance to start renovations. It was time to test all the GGMaw’s, GMaw’s, and Maw’s (and some of Paw’s) homemade recipes and BBQ techniques on non-related taste buds. Was all the praise and glory for our meats, sauces and rubs over 4 generations of family barbeques all because everyone didn’t want to upset Maw or was it real? With the motto in mind, "We’re Americans, not American’t's!" PJ opened Maw n’ Paw BBQ in 2010 with one goal: offer savory, slow-smoked quality meat dishes, served in a relaxed environment with sides homemade daily according to Maw’s original recipes.
Paw Sr. had just retired, so PJ brought him into the project to keep him out of the pool halls and traffic court. Remembering from his childhood, PJ realized that no one at the family BBQ get-together's could ever agree on what kind of sauce they liked (if any at all). How was he to unite the many different taste buds under one roof!? “Viola” (that’s a French expression for behold!) It suddenly popped into PJ’s head, why not offer a sauce unique to each group of likes. One sweet “SWEETIE©”, one smokey “SMOKEY©” and one hot “HOTTIE©” based upon secret family recipes. Since all meats would have Paw’s secret dry rub, diners could enjoy the meat as it is fresh off the Q or add a little sauce of their choice.
Due to loud, vocal, and often eloquent inquiries shortly after opening (“Ain’t you got nothin’ hotter?”) Paw Jr. retreated to the Maw n' Paw Laboratory (a super-secret facility made of rebar and lava rock, deep in the woods on the border between Kentucky and California), obtained (don’t ask) radioactive material from the Oak Ridge nuclear installation in Tennessee, smuggled in black market ghost peppers (grown on the grounds of a maximum security prison for the criminally insane in Guadalajara), commissioned titanium cookware, leased time in a blast furnace to use as a kitchen, and hacked into the NSA’s kitchen supercomputer to determine the half-life of the new sauce formula. Then he began his experiments and the result was NUCLEARQ©. With this new found sauce came a challenge to see who could consume 4 ounces of the sauce evenly distributed between a sandwich and two sides of BBQ beans. If you are lucky enough to finish you got a trophy, picture and comment up on the "Conquered" wall of fame, t-shirt, a trophy and a free lunch so next time you ate Maw n' Paw BBQ you could taste it!
PJ understood Excellent barbecue starts with quality meats as hand crafted sauces only deserve quality fresh ingredients. What luck, growing up in Fresno there is a ton of agriculture so it was just a matter of finding the suppliers. "The food basket of the World" is often what the San Joaquin Valley is called (accounting for 12.8% of the US agricultural production) and a perfect place for the birth of a homemade home-style cooked BBQ joint and sauce company. The restaurant and sauces were a HIT and a big hit at that! Being located next to the Fresno Airport (Fresno Yosemite International) people from all over the country- Texas, Florida, the Carolinas, Arkansas, Kentucky, Kansas, Seattle, Massachusetts, you name it- have tasted Maw n’ Paw barbecue and proclaimed it some of the best they've ever tasted.
We invite you to come taste our homemade barbeque, sauces, and sides Monday through Friday 10:30-6:30pm.
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