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January 29, 2009


Pat Rutherford-pettine

Just came thru Paducah Monday. Our best friend has returned there after many years away. He has been bringing us pulled pork from Backwoods every so often. he prefers Backwoods Q and Starne's sauce. We had ribs at Backwoods which were good but we like Pappy's ribs better.


I was born and raised in Paducah and there is nothing like Starnes. I now live in Murfreesboro, TN. But, I always have a supply of Starnes Bar-b-que sauce on hand. It is better than anything else!

Jay Nanney

Although I live in St. Louis now, I'm originally from deep southern illinois, and I am very familiar with the BBQ in that area, and it's unmatched anywhere in the U.S. Starnes is definitely one of my favorites. Backwoods or Backporch in Wickliffe, Kentucky is also very good, and the people there rave about their mutton. Also, in Pulaski, Illinois- which is about 20 miles north of Cairo on rte 51, there is a small grocery store on the main street in town that has some of the best pulled pork I have ever had. That's a little closer than Starnes, but it's way off the interstate. Worth the trip, in my mind. Also, one of my lifelong favorites is Mack's BBQ in Cairo. They have pulled pork, but that's not special. Get the Mack's sandwich- which looks like the picture you have here- which is just pork shoulder on toast. Make sure to add copious amounts of Mack's BBQ sauce. I sometimes have to make a trip to Cairo just to stock up on their sauce. Thanks!

David Jones

Reply to Jay Nanney (above), I live in California and for years have had Mack's mail me 6 or 8 quarts every year. I was in Paducah in May and drove over to Cairo to resupply, but it looks like Mack's has closed down. Any news on this disaster?

Thomas Howell

As a kid I ate the 10 cent hamburgers 8 to the bag. The bun bag was reused and listened to Dunk sing old spiritual songs as he cooked. The reason he closed was that the town required a vent hood over his bar grill and Dunk just said no way and closed. Beleive it I was there. I loved those hamburgers the only competition was Sweets in Elvins or Mills in Flat River. I perfered Dunks.


Oh, yes, Dunk's hamburgers. My parents didn't allow me there - felt "nice" girls didn't go to pool alls - but once in a while I had some when someone's dad brought home a sack. Never had Sweets, being a Desloge kid, but found Dunk's superior to Mills.

-Ann, DHS '62

Jay nanney

David Jones- sorry formthe delay, but yes, Mack's in Cairo did close. However, i am told that it has now reopened under new management. Also, The original Mack's licensed the recipe for their sauce, and it is sold all over southern Ill as "Cairo BBQ sauce". i'm out, and hopefully will get down there soon to restock. If you want, i would be happy to send you some. I cant imagine a world without Mack's! Jananney@yahoo.com.


I love BBQ! No one except Colemans of Chicago can even come close to Starnes! Have tried it all over the place from Memphis to Chicago and have yet to find a better sauce to go with it. Can't really enjoy Paducah without a stop at Starnes!

John Ridenhower

MAC'S BBQ IN CAIRO burned down about 10 years or so ago and to the best of knowledge has not been rebuilt.

On the bright side Shemwells is still opnen and thier sauce can be bought on line at cairobbq.com

Shemwell's is hotter than Mac's. I preferred Mac's but then I was nrought up on Mac"s.

My mother (before she passed) had the original recepe for MAC's sauce. She was girhood friends with the owner,

One of the secrets to MAC's is to use tomato juice and not ketchup. The tomato juice gives it the color with out a lot of spices. As I remember the recipe consists of vinager, tomato juice, red pepper flakes, and black pepper, brown sugar and for basteing on the grill, thicken with corn starch, not flour.

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