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#047: Mike Mills and Amy Mills Share Their Legendary Lives in Barbecue – 17th Street BBQ

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Mike Mills & Amy Mills – 17th Street BBQ – @17thstreetbbq – Murphysboro, Illinois

*This podcast recorded at the River Ranch Stockyards during the National Barbecue & Grilling Association’s #IAMBBQ2018 National Trade Show and Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.



  • In 2012 the National Barbecue & Grilling Association (NBBQA) hosted their annual trade show and conference in San Diego, California. During that NBBQA Conference, Gene Goycochea of Cali Comfort BBQ lobbied successfully to get Cali Comfort BBQ on the BBQ Bus Tour of San Diego. During that BBQ Bus Tour, Mike Mills and Amy Mills visited Cali Comfort BBQ in Spring Valley and their curiosity and humbleness had a profound impact on Shawn, his wife and his entire team.
  • After Amy Mills and Mike Mills published their second book, “Praise The Lard,” Shawn reached out on Instagram direct message to see if they could interview Amy on a Behind The Smoke Podcast. He did not know at the time that they would get that opportunity at NBBQA’s Trade Show and Annual Conference at the River Ranch, Stockyards in Fort Worth, Texas for #IAMBBQ2018.
  • In the world of barbecue, Champion Pit Master Mike Mills is affectionately known as “The Legend.” He presides over the pits at his two nationally acclaimed 17th Street Barbecue restaurants in Southern Illinois.
  • Barbecue heiress Amy Mills, daughter of barbecue legend Mike Mills, is considered the industry’s go-to girl for all things barbecue. She is the James Beard Award-nominated author of Peace, Love and Barbecue, a television personality, and a branding, marketing and PR pro. Her company, OnCue Consulting, offers premiere barbecue industry education and she consults with restaurants and barbecuers world-wide.
  • Mike is the only barbecuer with top-security clearance to board Air Force One and he’s the only barbecuer who’s been featured in Vogue magazine four times!
  • Named Best Ribs in America by Bon Appétit magazine (September 2007) and featured on the Food Network special Bon Appétit Picks the Best.
  • Restaurants & Institutions (September 2007) magazine called Mike America’s most-revered barbecue restaurateur.
  • For 13 years, Mike was the only three-time Grand World Champion at Memphis in May, otherwise known as the Super Bowl of Swine. His record was tied in 2007.
  • Mike is the barbecue guru at and a partner in Blue Smoke restaurant in New York City. He was a founding partner in Memphis Championship Barbecue in Las Vegas. His book, Peace, Love, and Barbecue was nominated for a 2006 James Beard Foundation award and received the 2006 National Barbecue Association Award of Excellence.
  • In October 2008 he was honored with the Pioneer of Barbecue award at the Jack Daniel’s World Invitational Barbecue Cooking Contest. Mike was inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame in 2010.
Mike Mills

Mike Mills – With Some of His Trophies

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Mike Mills

@BBQWarStories Weekly Social Shout Out:

@gulfcoastbbq – Winner of a sexy new #BehindTheSmoke Mug

Praise The Lard - Amy Mills and Mike Mills

Praise The Lard – Amy Mills and Mike Mills

Shareable Quotes From This Podcast:

  • Barbecue = Food + Family + Love
  • “Following up is not only half the battle in PR & Marketing, it’s the whole battle.” Amy Mills {32:50}
  • “If you do not have a customer, then you are on break, if you have a customer in line, then you are not on break.” – Mike Mills {34:35}
  • “Marso’s don’t take breaks.” Derek’s father, Don Marso {35:55}
  • “You don’t work until you are tired, you work until you are finished with the job.” Derek Marso {36:55}
  • “Shawn, why are there no other cars on the road this Sunday? Because we work when everyone else doesn’t.” Shawn’s grandfather, Luben Walchef {37:41}
  • Danny Meyer and Michael Romano came on a surreptitious visit to (17th Street BBQ) and asked to talk with Mike Mills.” – Amy Mills on how the Blue Smoke partnership began. {41:47}
  • “They went all over the country and tried BBQ everywhere. I feel like (Danny Meyer and Michael Romano) were the first ones to that kind of field work. People didn’t do that. Now it’s a big thing to make a BBQ pilgrimage.” – Amy Mills {42:20}
  • “Danny Meyer is just an incredible individual. His mind and the way he thinks and the way he talks to people…and treats people, it is just incredible.” – Mike Mills {43:45}
  • “I consider this book (Praise The Lard) a love letter, to our town, our family and the BBQ world.” – Amy Mills {58:36}
  • “At NBBQA you get what you give and we are all united by the love of barbecue.”Amy Mills {1:00:25}

Get in Touch:

Derek Marso –

Shawn Walchef –

Cory Wagner –

Valley Farm Market –

Cali Comfort BBQ –

Behind The Smoke –

Email –

Honorable Mentions:

Ole Hickory Pits:

Grill Grates:

Weber Grills:

Spring Valley Tailgate & BBQ Festival Photos:

IAMBBQ 2018:

Thank you to Jet West Band for our epic Intro Jingle!

Jet West:

Best Barbecue Show on Twitter

BBQ Central Show on Twitter

Man Meat BBQ on Twitter

NBBQA on Twitter

About the author, Cory Wagner

Producer of Behind The Smoke Podcast

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