Objective: To generate information about dietary practices, food preferences and food preparation methods from African-Americans in Macon County, Alabama, as a precursor to an intervention designed to modify an existing dietary health questionnaire (DHQ). Method: African-American males (30) and females (31) ages 20 to 75 years participated in eight focus groups in Macon County Alabama between June and July, 2007. Results: The core topics identified were dietary practices; food preferences; food preparation methods; fast food practices; and seasonal/specialty foods. The younger focus group participants reported consuming mostly fast foods such as hamburgers for lunch. Fruits, vegetables, salads, fish, chicken and sandwiches were the most common lunch foods for the older males and females. Across the groups, rice, cornbread and potatoes were reportedly the most commonly consumed starchy foods at dinner. Frying and baking were the most common cooking methods. Fewer participants reported removing the skin when cooking chicken versus those who did not remove. Traditional foods including fried green tomatoes and cracklings were selected for addition to the modified DHQ, while those not commonly consumed, were deleted. Conclusions: Participants described high-fat traditional food preferences, common frying and addition of salted meats to vegetables, which informed the modification of a DHQ. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.