Food That Satisfies the Soul
PRICHARD, Ala. (WBRC) - Carolyn Jackson never intended to be a BBQ master. In fact, she had a long successful career at a local paper mill in Mobile county, but in 1979 two things happened. There was a labor strike at the company and Hurricane Frederic struck in Mobile. That set a chain of events in motion which would someday make Carolyn’s barbecue famous and Absolutely Alabama.
Carolyn remembers the days of Hurricane Frederic.
“Everything over here was torn up like everywhere else. So, I built a pit out of cinder blocks and wire and after I went back to work, and Daddy said, ‘Baby, people still coming wanting that barbecue. What did you do?’ So, he decided to put our first pit in. This was like a little convenience store, and he sold cars, and he worked on cars in the back, too. He decided not to get anymore gas. He wouldn’t do that anymore. So, he decided to go in the barbecue business,” said Jackson.
Carolyn Jackson’s father was R.C. McMillan, known as Mr. Mac, a man known, loved and respected by the entire community.
“And I don’t care what day it is. You’re going to hear a story about my father. Daddy was very well known, and everybody loved him.”
How would you describe McMillan’s Bar-B-Que? Mr. Mac described it as “food that satisfies the soul.”
“People really like our collard greens, and our chopped beef, beef on buns, you know? And especially the ribs and the smoked chicken. There was a little boy, I would say nine or ten years old. He came in, and he said, ‘Miss Carolyn, your greens taste like my Grand momma’s greens that she used to cook. They were so good.’ And he was so young, and I appreciate that, and it sticks with me all the time that a young person that age, you know? But I can’t tell you Fred what I put in them. We love our customers. We really do, and I think they love us to keep coming, Fred. I think they love us.”
Carolyn’s dad passed away in 2014. She still comes here every day for those customers, but mostly for Mr. Mac.
“My father deserved a billboard and that’s what I put him. I want people to see him every day. And I built that gazebo, and I go out there, and I tell the workers when I get tired. I said, I’m going to talk to Daddy now. You never think about your parents passing. You never think about what’s going to happen, and it was just a shock when he passed, and I was helping him all along, but I never thought I would be where I am now, and I’m just trying to keep his legacy alive every day.”
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