Mike Mills

Years of Participation

In the world of barbecue, champion pitmaster Mike Mills is affectionately known as “The Legend.” Called “America’s most-revered barbecue restaurateur,” he’s a four-time World Champion and three-time Grand World Champion at Memphis in May, otherwise known as the Super Bowl of Swine, as well as Grand Champion at the Jack Daniel’s World Invitational Barbecue Cooking Contest. Mike is the most decorated pitmaster in America. He has been inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame, named a Pioneer of Barbecue at the Jack Daniel’s World Invitational, and awarded the National Barbecue Association Award of Excellence. He’s the only pitmaster in the world with top-security clearance to board Air Force One and whose oral history was recorded for posterity at the Smithsonian Institute.

He presides over the pits at his nationally acclaimed barbecue restaurants—17th Street Barbecue restaurants in Southern Illinois and Memphis Championship Barbecue restaurants in Las Vegas. Mike is also the barbecue guru/founding partner at Blue Smoke restaurant in New York City. He is one of the founders of the wildly popular Big Apple Barbecue Block Party.

Peace, Love, and Barbecue, Mike’s book, co-written with his daughter, Amy, is considered a classic in the genre, was nominated for a James Beard Foundation award, and received the National Barbecue Association Award of Excellence. Their next book, Praise the Lard, was published in May 2017.