Fort Drum soldier brings authentic Texas-style barbecue to north country

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McKinley D. McBride, a soldier from Texas who’s had five deployments, is bringing his home-cooked Texas-style barbecue to the north country with his new made-to-order business.

Mr. McBride, who has been a soldier for 19 years and is set to retire in a few months, has been stationed on Fort Drum for the last two years. He said he’s proud of his military career, but it’s his work in the kitchen that brings him perhaps more fulfillment, and people in Watertown are starting to take notice. He’s surprised and humbled to be filling what at times seems like a culinary void in the region.

Mr. McBride opened Meals With Mack in March, serving home-cooked authentic Southern barbecue to residents on and off post. From smoked ribs, chicken, salmon, fried catfish, macaroni and cheese and shrimp and grits, Mr. McBride is delivering fresh meals that take hours to prepare and cook from his home on North Pleasant Street. That’s the Southern technique and style, as his influence comes from growing up in Fort Worth, Texas. His grandfather taught him how to smoke and grill meat, while his grandmother and mother taught him how to cook macaroni and cheese, fry catfish and make shrimp and grits.

“Cooking is really my passion,” he said. “It’s therapeutic. I love being in the kitchen. It’s something I’ve always done.”

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