4th Annual Whole Hog Extravaganza

21 Nov


Registration is open for the
4th Annual Whole Hog Extravaganza/
Brisket Bonanza/BBQ MBA!

January 18-20, 2015 | Murphysboro, IL

Just 40 seats are available, and last year we sold out just before Christmas* so don’t wait – reserve a spot now!


Here are Just a Few of Our Speakers & Pitmasters:


Whole Hog Extravaganza
& Brisket Bonanza Demos

Whole hog. Beef ribs. Brisket. Sausage. You’ll learn about regional traditions and, best of all, you’ll be able to taste the different flavor profiles cooked with a variety of wood, spices, and sauce.


The BBQ Story

BBQ MBA Speaker Series

Barbecue is about so much more than the food. Values, family, personal experiences, and dreams create a narrative that’s unique to you. Learn from industry leaders as they discuss telling the barbecue story. Here are just a few of the sessions we have planned:

Ace the Audition

Coolfire Studios, producers of a number of award-winning shows, as well as the Mills family’s upcoming series, shares casting advice and a behind-the-scenes look at making compelling television.

All About the Book Deal

John Delpha, Ken Goodman, and Amy Mills share insight into the publishing game. They’ll discuss their book deals, the writing and photography process, and what happens once a book is published.

Telling the Story Through Images

Celebrity chef/food photographer Ken Goodman gives five simple steps for improving your smartphone photos.

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Sam Jones, Amy Mills, and Wayne Mueller talk about being raised up barbecue, their roles in their family businesses, and how they’re taking it to the next level.

Field Guide to the Barbecue Life

Industry luminaries discuss the barbecue lifestyle, and the principles and ideals by which they’re guided.

More to be announced shortly!

Registration is Open for the 4th Annual Whole Hog Extravaganza

To learn more or to register, just email Amy Mills.

*Thinking of gifting a registration to someone? Whole Hog Extravaganza Gift Certificates are available! Just email Amy.


Honoring Veterans Day

10 Nov



All veteran’s are invited to join us at our Murphysboro and Marion restaurants for a free barbecue, beans, and slaw lunch on Veterans Day, Tuesday, November 11, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.



Follow our adventures in real time on Instagram and Twitter.

See lots of entertaining and barbecue ideas on our Pinterest boards.
And we post fun things on Facebook, too! 

Upcoming OnCue Classes

21 Oct



Just a few spaces left!

Join Mike, Amy, the 17th Street crew, and special guest instructor Andy Husbands, co-author of Wicked Good Barbecue and chef/owner of Tremont 647, for this two-day session where you will learn how to price and execute catering jobs for maximum profit and customer satisfaction, and gather dozens of ideas to strengthen your bottom line, elevate your best practices, and help your catering business SOAR!

We’ll delve deep into the world of catering:

  • Creating Specialty Meats
  • Signature Sides & Desserts
  • Developing Delicious Menus Priced for PROFIT
  • Purchasing, Planning, Pricing & Logistics
  • Staffing
  • Equipment & Decor

Remember…it only takes two or three new ideas or bits of information to add thousands of dollars to your bottom line. This is an investment that will reap huge dividends.

$950 per person (class size limited)

Email Amy or call 781-799-7202 for a registration form and travel/schedule details.



Held at the Ole Hickory Pits Test Kitchen one day before our Catering Master Class, the Legendary Barbecue class is usually attended by about half of the Master Class attendees.

  • Cook on 3 Ole Hickory models  
  • Unleash the power of your pit
  • Learn Mike’s secrets for cooking ribs, chicken, brisket and shoulders
  • Hear Mike’s philosophy on smoke & spice

$375 per person 

To register call 800-223-9667 or email elizabeth@olehickorypits.com





2014 Praise the Lard™ Kids’ Que

13 Oct

Kids' Que - 17th Street BBQOur second-ever Townsend Spice Kids’ Que was a resounding success and pretty much the cutest thing you’ve ever seen.

KidsQue-GroupHere are the competitors all lined up. We had a total of 17 teams in two age categories.

KidsQue-PairsTeamwork, timing, and organization are just a few of the lessons and skills honed while competing.

KidsQue-StokingChris Pritchard, from our 1-7 pit crew, kept the grills filled with hot coals. We had a burn barrel over to the side to keep a  supply of fuel ready as needed.




KidsQue-Winner3Emma Underwood and Haylee Lambert, otherwise known as The Grilling Legends, captured first place in the 7-11 age category. Justin Bunch {not pictured}, A Pig’s Worst Nightmare, was the 12-15 age category winner.

Many thanks to Townsend Spice for sponsoring this contest and the grills, t-shirts, aprons, and trophies for the competitors.

Photos ©Troy Brown.

Follow our adventures in real time on Instagram and Twitter.

See lots of entertaining and barbecue ideas on our Pinterest boards.
And we post fun things on Facebook, too! 

2014 World Food Championships Southern Illinois Showdown

12 Oct

17th St. BBQ - World Food Championships Super RegionalsWe were thrilled to host the World Food Championships Southern Illinois Showdown as part of our Praise the Lard cook-off festivities. Here are WFC mastermind Mike McCloud and Kari Karch, Kenmore executive chef, along with Mike. The red-topped tent housed the Kenmore kitchen stadium: eight complete kitchen set-ups with everything from stoves to mixers.

SuperRegionals-PrepThe two categories were Bacon and Seafood, sponsored by Alaska Seafood. A combination of local cooks and barbecue teams comprised the field of competitors.

SuperRegionals-TurnInBacon entries headed for the turn-in table.

SuperRegionals-Judging1The judges had the tough job of sampling all of these entries.

SuperRegionals-Judging2Judging tray filled with delicious seafood dishes.

SuperRegionals-WinnersThe top three winners in each category received a Golden Ticket to compete in the World Food Championships in Las Vegas in November, and the winner in each category also received $1,000. Congratulations to Tina Porritt, competing for Piggy Style, who won the Seafood category, and Sugarfire Smokehouse, winners of the bacon category.

3) Porkmafia
2) Blazin’ Blues BBQ
1) Sugarfire Smokehouse

3) TR’s Up In Smoke
2) All In Que
1) Piggy Style

Many thanks to Becky Streuter, Gerald Strothmann, Phillip Heern, and Chris Pritchard, who handled the logistics for 17th Street, the City of Murphysboro, who helped us roll out the red carpet for this event, Mike Clutts, for electrifying the area, and to the people in our community who rallied support and who came out to cheer on the competitors.

Photos ©Troy Brown.

Follow our adventures in real time on Instagram and Twitter.

See lots of entertaining and barbecue ideas on our Pinterest boards.
And we post fun things on Facebook, too! 

Praise the Lard™ Results

21 Sep

Praise the Lard Sponsors

Many thanks to our sponsors and crew for producing an outstanding event! Here are the results for the 27th Annual Praise the Lard Murphysboro Barbecue Cook-off:

Memphis Barbecue Network 
Grand Champion: Victory Lane BBQ
Pass Down: Sweet Swine O’ Mine

5) Clark Kent Super Smokers
3) Twyford’s BBQ & Catering
2) Victory Lane BBQ
1)Sweet Swine O’ Mine

5) Wild Irish Q
4) Gwatney Championship BBQ
3) Always Sugar Absolutely Fire
2) Sweet Swine O’ Mine
1) Victory Lane BBQ

5) Mispits
4) Party Q
3) The Flying Pigs
2) Will-Be-Que
1) Victory Lane BBQ

Kansas City Barbecue Society
Grand Champion: Iowa Smokey D’s BBQ
Reserve Grand Champion:  One2BBQ

10) Posey County Cookers
9) Iowa Smokey D’s BBQ
8) 270 Smokers
7).St Louis Black Iron BBQ
6) Hickory Pit Stop
5) Monster Q
4) Pitmaster IQ BBQ
3) Backporch Q
2) Gilly’s BBQ
1) Boss Hawg BBQ

10) 270 Smokers
9) A Boy & His BBQ
8) Monster Q
7) Smokin T’s BBQ
6) Pitmaster IQ
5) Sweet Swine O Mine
4) Carbondale Pork District
3) Iowa Smokey D’s BBQ
2) It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere
1) One2BBQ

10) Killer Hogs
9) Blazin’ Blues BBQ
8) Q Bones
7) FBI BBQ6) Pitmasters IQ BBQ
5) Big O Dang O BBQ
4) Backporch BBQ
3) Wild Ones
2) Gilly’s BBQ
1) Iowa Smokey D’s BBQ

10) Smokin T’s BBQ
9) Monster Q
8) Too Big To Fail BBQ
7) Pitmaster IQ BBQ
6) It’s 5 O’Clock Somwhere
5) Iowa Smokey D’s BBQ
4) A Boy & his BBQ
3) Clark Kent Super Smokers
2) Quau
1) One2BBQ

Fish Contest – 1st Place: Party Q
Wings Contest – 1st Place: Mispits
Apple of Our Eye — Wild Irish Q

Townsend Spice Kids’ Que
7-11 age category: Emma Underwood and Haylee Lambert – The Grilling Legends
12-15 age category: Justin Bunch – A Pig’s Worst Nightmare

Ole Hickory Pits raffle
Shawn Stearns

Brews Brothers Taproom Best Bloody Mary
1) Posey County Cookers
2) A Pig’s Worst Nightmare
3) Clark Kent Super Smokers

Southern Illinois Showdown – World Food Championships Super Regional
3) Porkmafia
2) Blazin’ Blues BBQ
1) Sugarfire Smokehouse

3) TR’s Up In Smoke
2) All In Que
1) Piggy Style

Praise the Lard™ Cook-Off Trophies

16 Sep

Cook-OffTrophies_GlassA few years ago we decided to upgrade our trophies and come up with something special and meaningful that would represent Murphysboro and our contest. We’re fortunate to have award-winning glass artists at the Douglass School Art Place and we commissioned these one-of-a-kind glass apples, in varying sizes, to use for the category runners-up and the reserve grand champion.

The Frederick Douglass School was Murphysboro Illinois’s segregated black elementary school from 1897-1966. Purchased in 1993 by art historian Gretel Chapman and glassblower Jan Thomas for development as an art place, “The Doug” offers studios for rent to artists, exhibition and performance spaces, and a developing sculpture garden. The DO U GLASS Hot Shop is housed in the WWII quonset hut which was the school’s cafeteria . Cam and Jan are renowned glass artists and they sell their creations at fairs and festivals all over the region.

Cook-OffTrophies_WoodThe lucky MBN and KCBS Grand Champions will each take home one of these chainsaw-carved apple and pig trophies, crafted by Bear Tracks Chainsaw Carving.  Boars Night Out won one of these several years ago and I saw pictures of this pig, strapped in with a seat belt and wearing sunglasses, riding all over the country in Allen Smith’s truck.

Wendy Rhodes and her dad, Mike Rhodes, are a father/daughter carving team. Mike cuts and preps the raw material and Wendy is the artist, finishing each intricate piece.

We’re thrilled to have Illinois artists creating these special pieces of art for our contest prizes. We’ll be awarding these trophies starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 20.

Instagram and Twitter: @17thstreetbbq  •   Official event hashtag is #PraiseTheLard


Follow our adventures in real time on Instagram and Twitter.

See lots of entertaining and barbecue ideas on our Pinterest boards.
And we post fun things on Facebook, too!  


Praise the Lard™ Schedule of Events

15 Sep

PraiseTheLardCookOff2014_POSTERBig fun ahead as teams prepare to roll into Murphysboro for the 27th annual Praise the Lard Murphysboro Barbecue Cook-off. The whole Southern Illinois region comes out to celebrate at the Fish Fry and Grand Champion Buffet, both events followed with music and revelry. The Fish Fry and the Grand Champion Buffet are ticketed events and open to the public. Music after the events is free. Tickets are available in the 17th Street office or at the door. All events take place in and around the 17th Street Warehouse. The best address to use for GPS directions is 214 N. 17th Street, Murphysboro, Illinois.

Entry to the contest grounds, Market vendor area, and all live music is free.

A variety of vendors will make up our Market area this year. You can browse and buy wood and fresh herbs from Lipe Orchards, kettle corn and lemon shakeups, Bling it On custom shirts and jewelry, Jen’s Joe coffee, jewelry, La Unica Mexican bakery pastries, One Hot Cookies, and Silpada sterling jewelry.

We’re still looking for a few competitors for various categories:

Home cooks and regional chefs are invited to enter the World Food Championships. Click on the link for registration information. We also need people to pack the bleachers and watch the fun as the contestants battle in the Kenmore kitchen arena. The categories are bacon and seafood and the winner in each category will win $1,000. The top three in each category win a Golden Ticket to compete at the national event in Las Vegas in November.

Local friends and competitors alike can enter the Brews Brothers Taproom Bloody Mary Contest. Visit Brews Brothers or 17th Street for an application. You’ll provide a gallon of your favorite Bloody Mary recipe and everyone 21 years of age or older is invited to sample the entries and cast a vote to help determine the winner. Winner takes all entry fees as prize money, as well as a blown-glass apple trophy.

The Townsend Spice & Supply Kids’ Que was a resounding success last year and there are still a few spots left. We’ll provide the meat, a t-shirt, and a grill to take home. Click here for an application or you can pick one up at the 17th Street office.

We’ll have lots of cook-off items for sale, including this year’s t-shirt, featuring the artwork in the poster. Designed by Matt Price of Arthur Agency and printed by Silkworm, Ink, this year’s design is getting rave reviews. Get yours before they’re gone! We’ll also have posters, collectible enamel hat pins, and a variety of hats, t-shirts and other items.

Please note that due to health department regulations, the teams cannot sell their food. They’re here strictly to cook food for the contest itself. We’ll have an outdoor barbecue and beer tent, as well as other vendors selling various merchandise. We’re known for our warm welcome and gracious hospitality and the teams do love meeting people and chatting about barbecue. Please come out and extend a warm Southern Illinois welcome!

Instagram and Twitter: @17thstreetbbq  •   Official event hashtag is #PraiseTheLard

Follow our adventures in real time on Instagram and Twitter.
See lots of entertaining and barbecue ideas on our Pinterest boards.
And we post fun things on Facebook, too!  


Praise the Lard™ Team List & Kids’ Que

13 Sep

KidsCueDid you know that there is a kids’ category at the Praise the Lard™ Cook-Off? The Townsend Spice and Supply Kids’ Que competition, will take place on September 20, 2014 and has two age categories. The $30 entry fee includes meat, t-shirt and a small grill. Space is very limited and the deadline to sign up is September 10, so get those entry forms in fast!

Barbecue teams can still enter the World Food Championships Super Regional contest, as well as the Bloody Mary Contest.

Here’s a list of the teams who will be competing next Saturday:

Kansas City Barbecue Society Teams
270 Smokers
A Boy & his BBQ
All in Que
A Pig’s Worst Nightmare
Always Sugar Absolutely Fire
Back Draft BBQ
Back Porch
Big O Dang O
Blazin’ Blues BBQ
Boss Hawg BBQ
Brewmaster Bar-B-Que
Carbondale Pork District
Choke It and Smoke It
Clark Kent Super Smokers
Dewey Smoke’m & Howe
Gilly’s BBQ
Hickory Pit Stop
High on the Hog
Iowa’s Smokey D’s BBQ
It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere
Jug’s BBQ
Killer Hogs
Monster Q
Nuthatch Hill BBQ Co.
Party Q
Piggy Q
Pitmaster IQ BBQ
Posey County Cookers
Runaway Hogs
Sexy Q
Sideburn BBQ CrewSmell That Smoke
Smokey’s Q
Smoki Bros.
Smokin’ All Your Butts BBQ
Smokin Bullets
Smokin’ Sauced
Smokin’ T’s
St. Louis Black Iron BBQ
Standing Rock
Sweet Swine O’Mine
The Fabulous Faultliners
Too Big to Fail BBQ
TR’s Up in Smoke
Two Butts & A Ham
Twyford BBQ & Catering
Uncle Bones BBQ
West Point Porkers
Wild Boar Smokers
Wright on Que–IL

Memphis Barbecue Network Teams
Always Sugar Absolutely Fire
BBQ Travel Germany
Clark Kent Super Smokers
Goin’ Hog’n
Gwatney Championship BBQ
Party Q
Piggy Style
Sweet Swine O’ Mine
The Flying Pigs
The Ninja Pigs
Twyford BBQ & Catering
Victory Lane BBQ
Wild Irish “Q”
Will-b-Que BBQ Team

Teams Cooking Both KCBS & MBN
Always Sugar Absolutely Fire
Clark Kent Super Smokers
Party Q
Sweet Swine O’ Mine
Twyford BBQ & Catering

Photo courtesy of Rob Burke.

Official event hashtag is #PraiseTheLard

Follow our adventures in real time on Instagram and Twitter.
See lots of entertaining and barbecue ideas on our Pinterest boards.
And we post fun things on Facebook, too!  


Charleston Brown Water Society TX-SC BBQ Invitational

12 Sep

Charleston-TX-01-CookingBrisketByMoonlightI’m still documenting my summer fun and one of my favorite barbecue trips involved  the Charleston Brown Water Society SC-TX Barbecue Invitational at Holy City Brewing.

John Lewis of La Barbecue, the top-ranked barbecue in Austin, TX, accompanied by fellow Texans Robert Sierra and Emma and Travis Heim, traveled from Austin to cook brisket and beef ribs alongside famed South Carolina whole hog wizard Rodney Scott.

Above is John, with Travis looking on, cooking briskets by moonlight.

Charleston-TX-02-RodneyBurnBarrelThe ritual of prepping and cooking barbecue is my favorite part of an event. Here’s Rodney’s burn barrel, just before firing it up …

Charleston-TX-03-PilesOfOakwith this pile of hewn oak, hauled from his hometown of Hemingway South Carolina.

Charleston-TX-04-LightingWithBeefFatWe lit the fire with Texas butcher paper dipped in beef fat from John’s pit. A true collaborative effort.

Charleston-TX-05-FanningFlamesIt took a lot of fanning to get the fire going.

Charleston-TX-06-SmolderingPigsAfter prepping the hogs, they were put on the pit to smoke and smolder through the night …

Charleston-TX-07-MoreCoals… with more coals shoveled on as necessary

Charleston-TX-08-98YearOldWhiskeyOf course, the good stuff always happens after midnight. We took swigs out of this bottle of 98 year-old whiskey that Jed Portman brought out for the occasion. This is Dan Latimer, CBWS founding member and head puppeteer of the Husk/McCrady’s/soon to be Minero empire.

Charleston-TX-09-SimpleMenuThe day’s simple menu written on butcher paper.

Charleston-TX-10-IceLugeThe carved ice luge saw some action throughout the party.

Charleston-TX-11-BagOfCrabsChef BJ Dennis brought a bag crabs to cook for us. BJ is revered for his Gullah/Geechee cuisine.

Charleston-TX-12-CrabsWatching Robert’s reaction to those crabs, especially when the bag was dropped and some escaped, was pretty amusing. You’re not in Texas anymore, Robert!

Charleston-TX-13-CheckingThePigsThe Texas contingent up close and personal with Rodney and the hogs.

Charleston-TX-14-PilesOfBeefTravis  and John posing with piles of wrapped beef ribs.

Charleston-TX-15_RodneyCheckingHogsThe master: Rodney checking the hogs just prior to pulling them off the pit.

Charleston-TX-16-PullingRodneysPorkLoved spending time with Angel Postell, Hometeam PR girl extraordinaire. We had lots of time to chat as we teamed up to pull the pork.

Charleston-TX-17-OneDownOne carcass down.

Charleston-TX-18-NotMessingAroundThese Charleston Brown Water Society boys are not messing around. This was their private stash.

Charleston-TX-19_BestShirtHusk bar manager Robert Weaver ha the best t-shirt at the barbecue. Hands down.

Charleston-TX-20-PlateOfFoodPlate of delicious food. Sides by BJ Dennis.

Charleston-TX-21-HometeamBBQHanging with the Hometeam BBQ boys, Aaron and Taylor, was a highlight.

Charleston-TX-22-NewBestieNew bestie, Craig Nelson from Proof. If you’re ever in Charleston, you must sit at his bar and marvel at the precision and care he takes with his cocktails.

Charleston-TX-23-HolyCityBreweryJT Stellenmach from Holy City Brewing with the Texas contingent: Emma and Travis Heim, John Lewis, Becca DuPree, and Robert Sierra.

Charleston-TX-24-SamAmyRodneyJohnBarbecue family: Sam Jones, me, Rodney, and John.

Charleston-TX-25-ThisIsBBQNow THIS is barbecue. Great shot of a great time.

Charleston-TX-26-JedRodneyAmyDanJed Portman of Garden & Gun, Rodney, me, and Dan Latimer celebrating at the end of the event.

This event was magic. Holy City Brewing was such a gracious host, providing late morning yoga, great beer, a place to watch the World Cup, and the perfect spot for 300 guests to comfortably gather enjoy great food. Highwire Distillery, Charleston Distilling, and Six & Twenty Distilling sampled their wares and King of Pops distributed an array of refreshing, inventively flavored popsicles. While the pace of prepping barbecue for the lines was a bit rapid at times, the overall pace of the day was relaxed, and the guests were so appreciative of the food, libations, and fun. Heartfelt thanks to Robert Donovan, Eric Doksa, Dan Latimer, Robert Moss, Craig Nelson, Jed Portman, Roderick Weaver, Bear Barrow, and the entire CBWS and Holy City Brewing crews for their hospitality, hard work, and good cheer. Can’t wait to do it again!

Special thanks to Robert Donovan Photography for the use of some of his photos. 

Follow our adventures in real time on Instagram and Twitter.
See lots of entertaining and barbecue ideas on our Pinterest boards.
And we post fun things on Facebook, too!