17th St. BBQ
Mike Mills and Amy Mills are the barbecue world’s dynamic father-daughter duo widely regarded as experts in the scene. Mike Mills is considered by his peers a true pioneer, legend, and leading force in the barbecue world. A second-generation pitmaster, he has devoted his entire life to the pursuit of pork excellence and has perfected his recipe for great barbecue. For almost 30 years 17th Street Barbecue, located deep inside Southern Illinois, and in Las Vegas at his Memphis Championship Barbecue outpost, has attracted legions of fans throughout the years for their world-champion barbecue and for their trademark warm and gracious hospitality. Inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame in 2010, his 17th Street Barbecue joints in Southern Illinois are a keystone pilgrimage for the barbecue faithful. As a competition barbecue cooker he led the most triumphant teams in history including a four time World Champion and three time Grand Champion at Memphis in May. In addition, he is a founding pit master of the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, an annual New York City tradition that draws over 120,000 people to sample the country’s best barbecue over one weekend in June. As barbecue guru, Mike Mills consulted with Danny Meyer to create Blue Smoke, one of New York City’s pioneering barbecue restaurants. Restaurants & Institutions magazine calls him “America’s most revered pit master.” Amy Mills is the go-to-girl of barbecue. She is the marketing mastermind behind 17th Street Barbecue restaurants. Together, she and Mike wrote the James Beard Award-nominated Peace, Love and Barbecue. Her Whole Hog Extravaganza & BBQ classes rope in the barbecue faithful from as far afield as New Zealand and China. In 1988, Mike and Amy Mills created Praise The Lard – the Murphysboro Barbecue Cook-Off, one of the cornerstone events in competition cooking. The event celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2012. Praise the Lard is an old fashioned tent revival celebrating the almighty pig with $17,000 in prize money and a weekend full of fun. This is the only one-day, dual sanctioned contest on the circuit. Simultaneously judged by MBN and KCBS, the two official bodies of barbecue – it draws top barbecue talent from near and far. Together Mike and Amy are considered complete authorities on barbecue and the business that surrounds it. Barbecue isn’t a way to cook; it’s their way of life. They are invested in barbecue whole hog, creating great food and community everywhere they go. In Mike Mills’ own words, “Life’s too short for a half-rack.” Follow 17th Street Barbecue on Facebook at www.facebook.com/17thstreetbbq and on Twitter @17thstreetbbq.