It took opening a local BBQ Hole-in-the-Wall Spot to Get Us to This Point.
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?)
Maw n' Paw n' some Meat
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.
PJ's hand made 250 gallon Super Smoker©
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. 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. (Check out our Feedback Page)
One day while stocking the sauce rack PJ looked at Paw and said, "Something is missing!?" PJ realized that the genuine Maw n’ Paw experience was incomplete unless the home griller had a way to cook meats the way Maw n’ Paw does, so the sauces will match the meat’s taste. It was Paw's secret dry rub that used at the restaurant on all of our meats that was missing. Knowing it wasn't going to be easy prying the recipe from Paw's paws, PJ made him an offer he couldn't refuse. Paw Sr. agreed to release his Secret Rub in return for 1/100th of a penny per jar sold (good thing Paw wasn't wearing his glasses).
Every day in the café, customers squirted the sauces on fresh-smoked meats (brisket, tri-tip, pulled pork, pork ribs, chicken, and hot links). Soon they were asking if they could buy them, so, smelling profit in the grill smoke, the family bottled small quantities of sauces to offer for sale in the café. This soon became a weekly practice- the sauce rack is fully stocked every Monday and is nearly empty every Friday. As time progressed it turned into restocking it every couple of days. The amount of sauces being produced continues to grow from batch to batch to keep up with the demand as patrons of the restaurant would quite often buy a bottle or two for home and others purchased 3-4 bottles to make a gift basket for special someone. Those flying in and out of town would ask if the sauces could be purchased online so they wouldn't have to settle for 3 ounces in a shampoo bottle. Rather than bribing TSA with some brisket to allow more sauce to be carried onto the planes and watching customers make presents out of the sauces, PJ decided it was time take the next step and put the sauces online. It took opening a local BBQ Hole-in-the-Wall Spot to Get Us to This Point, but here we are and we hope you, your family and your friends enjoy good times and happy get-together's over a BBQ with your favorite Maw n’ Paw BBQ sauces and rubs!
So that’s our story and we are stickin’ to it! IF ever in the Fresno area we invite you to visit us'all at Maw n' Paw BBQ.
Hand crafted sauces deserve to be served in unique bottles that are one of a kind too. Check out our new 22oz. pig-shaped “That couldn't be anything but barbecue sauce” bottles!
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 and most importantly, a free lunch, so next time you ate Maw n' Paw BBQ you could relax and actually taste it!