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PROBE: July 16, 2001

July 16, 2001

A BARBECUE CONNECTION — I almost fell out of my chair when I read about McClard's Barbecue restaurant in Hot Springs, Ark.

My mother, Blanche McClard Wilson, is Alex McClard's cousin. Alex started the restaurant in 1920. He was running the Westside Tourist Motel when one of his tenants paid the rent with the recipe for the barbecue sauce.

They ran the barbecue place out of the motel for a few years before building at the current location on Albert Pike Way.

In the beginning it was a drive-in. A waitress would clamp the food trays on the door and the customers would eat in the vehicle.

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My mother, 84, has lived in El Centro as long as I can remember and I am 63 years old. My dad worked at Plaster City for years.

Although you remember it differently, that is the original recipe. — Far Removed Cousin, El Centro

That could be the original recipe but it is not the same sauce. We know McClard's barbecue. We were born in Hot Springs and we had our first McClard barbecue sandwich before Bill Clinton learned to crawl.

If Alex McClard's heirs are using his recipe, they are stubbing their toes when they dump in the tomato puree.

A GOOD SANDWICH — You said PROBE readers might have their own ideas about where to get a good barbecue sandwich.

I know some great places, Stubbs in Lubbock, Budrows in Abilene, Carls in Bryan, Texas. For those readers who don't want to drive to Texas or Arkansas for a sandwich, they can get a good one at Tyler's Taste of Texas in Yuma or El Cajon or Big Willie's Barbecue in Indio. — Barbecue Fan, Imperial

We're going to confess we like the barbecue sandwich at Wal-Mart.

KANSAS CITY, MO. — I know you are not going to drive 2,000 mile for a sandwich but if you are ever in Kansas City, stop at Gates Barbecue on 12th Street. It's worth finding.

It's famous! Even Chilly Willy (Bill Clinton) left his autographed picture. — Chow Hound, El Centro

Clinton would walk further in search of a sandwich than an intern from California.

A RARE DISH — When I was in Hot Springs recently, my aunt made something for me I had never had before, a mess of polk salad.

Polk salad is a green that grows wild around Hot Springs. She boiled the greens, fried them in hot grease and scrambled eggs in it. It was delicious! — California Woman, El Centro

A dish like that will take you back to your roots. This talk about barbecue and polk salad makes us fear that we are losing our hillbilly culture. We have to teach our kids to eat greens and drink buttermilk before it's too late.

TIME FOR VITAMIN A — This is Dana from the Holtville Chamber of Commerce. I just sent copies of the winning recipes from the 2001 carrot recipe contest to your reader in Buena Park. — Chamber, Holtville

Well bless your heart.

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