The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 3, 1985 · Page 30
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 30

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Salina, Kansas
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Wednesday, April 3, 1985
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Page 30
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M By BRENT BATES Staff Writer The restaurant is known simply enough as Mac's. There is no menu. No need for one. People go to the North Ninth Street establishment for just one thing — barbecue that puts the taste buds on alert and sends those special juices in the mouth a-flo- win'. His name is Charles C. McDaniels, but most everyone calls him Mac, and he's been serving up barbecue in Salina for more than 20 years. "This is something I just love to do," Mac said as he prepared a barbecued beef sandwich for a customer, slapping a handful of the juicy beef between two slices of white bread. "Barbecue is just a hobby I picked up. The restaurant just supports my habit." Mac's barbecue habit was nurtured during his childhood. The oldest of eight brothers and sisters, Mac grew up on a farm near Kansas City, "a real barbecue city." Several times a year, Mac's father would load up his crops and take them to the city to sell at the Tom Dorsey Mick Jagger left a dollar bill at Mac's. Barbecue, that's all ac's farmer's market. Mac and his brothers and sisters would go along, and the ..father would give each of them enough money to go to the picture show. Mac said most of his family was thrilled about getting a chance to see a show. But it was a barbecue pit, not the big screen, that caught his fancy. He said he often would sneak off and sit for hours, watching the cook at a barbecue called Tiny Browns continually turn the meat over a fire in a barbecue pit. He moved to Salina'in 1941 and throughout the '40s and '50s he managed night clubs by night, and worked as janitor by day. In 1963, Mac was janitor at Heusner School. A group of teachers from the school were having a get- together, and they knew Mac dabbled in barbecue whenever he got the chance. They asked the janitor to cater their party. Mac's barbecued ribs were a hit. That same year, spurred by his initial success, he opened the first Mac's Barbecue at 105 N. Broadway. Five years later, he moved his barbecue to its present location, an old grocery at 1100 N. Ninth. Each year since that party at Heusner, Mac said his ribs have gotten better — the sauce a little more tasty, the meat a little more tender. "I've learned a lot of things since "63," the cook said. "My barbecue just gets better. This stuff is so good because I learn by my mistakes." Nearly every morning, Mac dutifully piles 60 pounds of ribs into his smokehouse, a 10-square-foot oven made of concrete blocks that sits beside his restaurant. The smokehouse is loaded with charcoal, for even heat. He throws in sticks of oak for the smoke flavoring. "Oak is the best you can get in this part of the country," Mac said. "It gives it that good barbecue taste. Oak makes good smoke." The ribs are steeped in the smoke throughout the day, and by 5 p.m., the meat is golden crisp on the surface, but soft and tender in the middle. Mac pulls the ribs from the oven in the evening. While they are hot, he bathes Fishing tackle box is perfect for makeup Dear Heloise: I carry along a large number of make-up items when I travel to hold everything conveniently. I bought a fishing tackle box with swing-out, divided trays. There are places in the box for even the tiniest brush to a large curling iron. These boxes may be used as is, decorated with decals or covered with pretty adhesive plastic to make them look more feminine. I don't know how I ever got along without one. I just pull up the trays and everything is in plain sight. No more digging through bags, etc., and the box is easy to carry. — Polly Dear Heloise: When putting a hem in a dress, does your thread get knots in it? If so, you are sewing with the wrong end of the thread. Simply pull the thread off the spool, threading the needle with this end. Cut the thread next to the spool and knot this end. You will get no tangles in your thread — or at least fewer ones. — Celeste Hart Yes, it's true. Something so simple can make sewing so much easier. Thanks for sharing this golden nugget. — Heloise Dear Heloise: Have you ever neeeded the instruction book for an appliance only to forget where you last saw it? I keep all the appliance instruction books together in a large envelope or an accordion file folder along with the guarantee, sales slip and any other pertinent information. It doesn't hurt to write on th^ cover of the book the date bought, price paid, salesman's name, etc. Then if you have any problems all the needed information is right at your fingertips- M.J.B. Good piece of advice. — Heloise Dear Heloise: I am 83 years old and do not have access to an area where I can safely walk for exercise. Heloise's hints KING FEATURES Charles "Mac" McDanlel pulls a batch of pork ribs from the smokehouse. them in tomato juice and throws them in a plastic bag. The juice steams the meat until it so tender it surrenders to the touch. "That's one of my secrets," Mac revealed proudly. "People who eat here know the meat just falls off the bone. It's something I learned by experimenting." Mac takes special care to prepare the meat, but he says it's his secret sauce that makes the taste buds snap to attention. "Take the smoke and the sauce together, that really makes barbecue," he said. "People come here because of the way I barbecue. Mine is number one, and I'll back it up." His recipe for the tangy sauce took him 10 years to perfect, and he said he is not about to reveal his ingredients. It is so good, he claims, that people often sneak back into the kitchen to take a peak at the ingredients. He purposely leaves the wrong items sitting around in the kitchen to throw off these recipe thieves, he said. He plans to get a patent on his sauce, and a man from Kansas City has expressed interest in bottling and selling it, he said. A meal at Mac's is slightly messy. It would definitely put a smile on the face of anyone who held stock in a napkin company. The ribs, which sell for $5 a pound, are served in plastic containers, along with individual servings of cole slaw, potato salad or baked beans. Mac said he puts in long hours working up a batch of barbecue. But the people he meets and serves Journal Plus Wednesday, April 3, 1985 Page 3 cause I like people. When you got a product that pleases the public, it makes it all worthwhile." On the ceiling of the restaurant are tributes customers have paid Salina's barbecue king: Hundreds of dollar bills, each signed with the name and hometown of the customer, the date, and the words Mac's Barbecue. About a year and a half ago, a group of Dallas advertising executives "took a likin' of me and pinned up the first seven dollar bills on the ceiling," Mac said. Since that time, the idea has blossomed into a tradition. Mac said one of the bills was signed by rock star Mick Jagger. Jagger and the Rolling Stones, riding in a long, fancy bus, happened by the barbecue looking for a bite to eat, he said. "He came in looking for a quiet, peaceful place where he wouldn't be known," Mac said. "To me, he looked like hell. He looked like he needed to get in the bean pot and fatten up." Mac said if he had a chance to live his life over again, he wouldn't change a thing. He'd still be arm deep in barbecue in his little Ninth Street barbecue shack, and making friends. "I've had the chance to sell out," Mac said. "But what would I do if I sold out. This is what I love. This is a part of me." Tom Dorsey make it worthwhile, he says. Across one entire wall, Mac has pinned pictures of friends he has made through his barbecue. "I've learned there's a lot of things in life that money can't buy, like friendship," Mac said, his mood turning more serious. "I think the reason I like the business is be- QUITTING BUSINESS «t SALE ^ 55% off Reg. $22 to $78 NOW $ 12to $ 45 NATURALIZER, THOS.-CORT, DELISO, BANDOLINO, CAPEZIO, DEXTER & OTHERS larry No Refunds No Exchanges 118 S. Santa Fe SAVE SAVING 1COUPONS The Sunflower Croup, 15481 west 110th street, lenexa KSG62!9i9i3i 492 2021 To remedy this, I turn some peppy music on my small tape recorder and use my exercise bicycle. This eliminates the boredom of silent exercise and inspires me to stay at it for a little bit longer. — Mrs E. Dalllas You inspire me! Keep on exercising! — Heloise Dear Heloise: In regard to pressing neck ties: I learned from a professional dry cleaner that one can cut a piece of cardboard shaped a bit smaller than the tie and insert it into the tie before pressing. This way there is never a line left from the iron on the edges (no crease mark that can wear faster than the rest of the tie). I do this and it works well. — Ella Lockwood Be sure to use a pressing cloth! — Heloise Dear Heloise: I take care of a two-year-old, also a six-year-old granddaughter that I have the pleasure of keeping whenever I can. Both children manage to acquire bumps and bruises as kids that age are prone to do. I keep two liquid- filled teething rings in my freezer. Then when these bruises occur that require cold compresses, I let them choose the shape teething ring they want. They like the idea of the teething ring rather than ice cubes. Also, it is less messy and by the time the rings have warmed to room temperature, the problem usually has been solved. If not, I simply use another teething ring. — Mrs. J.S.K. 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