Posts By / Amy Mills


Road trippin' to the National Barbecue Association Convention

The 1-7 crew just returned from an outstanding five-day trip to Mobile, Alabama for the National Barbecue Association’s annual convention. Expertly planned by Linda Orrison and her committee {of which our own Becky Streuter was a part}, the conference is five full days of restaurant tours, educational seminars led by industry leaders, judging classes, a butcher shop seminar, and a trade show.


We plan all of our road trips around food stops and this journey was no exception. The first stop was Edley’s in Nashville, where our group enjoyed an outstanding meal. One of the owners, Will Newman, has attended several of our OnCue Consulting seminars and we have heard well-deserved rave reviews about the restaurant which has been open for a little over a year. We were sorry to miss Will, but we will return soon! The second stop was to visit our long-time friends Chris Lilly and Ken Hess at Big Bob Gibson Barbecue. From the warm welcome message on the sign to the feast presented by Chris and Ken, we were treated like royalty.

Tuesday’s kick-off tour included an exclusive look behind the scenes at the entire Beau Rivage Casino and Resort operation including the Memphis Q restaurant which Mike helped open 13 years ago this week. He was delighted to see Kristian Wade, the only kitchen crew left from the time in which he consulted on the project. Kristian is now the sous chef and he is turning out terrific barbecue. The Saucery, where The Shed bottles its extensive collection of sauces and seasonings, was fascinating. The highlight of the day was the after party where we got “fed at The Shed,” listened to a terrific band, and visited with friends. There might have been a gallon of coconut moonshine involved. {Does anyone have a glass?}

The rest of the conference was equal parts education and fun. We soaked up knowledge and new ideas during the seminars, sampled barbecue at five terrific Mobile barbecue joints. Mike and I presented several educational seminars and a few of our gang are newly minted KCBS judges. We visited with friends new and old as we sampled Mobile nightlife and restaurants, notably Felix’s, Wintzell’s Oyster House, and our perpetual late-night hangout, Veet’s, which provided us with great live music, plenty of libations, and mighty fine burgers.

Barbecue Ribs and Magic Dust Dry Rub

Mike appeared in several segments on the local FOX Studio 10 WALA channel to promote the Saturday public day which included a barbecue cook-off with 20 local teams, a trade show, People’s Choice barbecue and barbecue sauce sampling and voting which was open to the general public. Despite a little rain, the people of Mobile came out in droves to enjoy the day.

Next year’s convention will be in San Marcos, Texas. Click here to learn more or join NBBQA.


OnCue Consulting and Business of Barbecue


We offer the only barbecue business classes in the world.

The seminars are held in The Warehouse at 17th Street, our event and catering facility in Murphysboro, Illinois, across the street from our mothership restaurant. We share the cooking, operations, branding, and marketing secrets that have made Mike Mills the “most-revered barbecue restaurateur in America.” {Restaurants & Institutions magazine}. Just two or three nuggets of the valuable information we share can significantly impact your business and bottom line.


Each of our events builds on another and people come back time and again because OnCue Consulting is the premiere resource for barbecue business information and education.

OnCue_Group What We Offer:

We produce barbecue business seminars three times a year and we hold a more general barbecue class twice a year. We also offer public and personal Smoke Tours in New York City and various barbecue meccas around the country.

Business of Barbecue is a two-day class that combines cooking barbecue for a restaurant or catering operation with classroom seminars discussing branding, marketing, PR, catering sales, vending, and restaurant financials. We prep and cook ribs, chicken, brisket, and pork with an emphasis on holding and re-therming techniques. We’ve found that almost anyone can make barbecue that tastes great right off the pit. How you handle the meat afterwards is the key to serving great barbecue at anytime during the day. We share information about resources and suppliers and you get to tour behind the scenes of two of our restaurants and our catering facility. This class is filled with information that will benefit anyone from a novice to an experienced operator. This blog post has lots of good inside info about Business of Barbecue.

The Catering Master Class focuses specifically on barbecue catering. Catering can add significant revenue to your bottom line – provided you run your business like a pro. Repeat business depends upon how good you make your client look and staying in business depends upon savvy business procedures and appropriate pricing. The 17th Street crew, along with a rotating cast of guest presenters, share information about logistics, pricing, procedures, resources, holding and transporting food, and decor. We also demonstrate several new recipes to add to your catering repertoire. This class builds on skills learned and information presented in Business of Barbecue, so you must attend Business of Barbecue first — or be fairly experienced with catering.

Legendary BBQ is a one-day seminar focusing on the use of Ole Hickory Pits. We prep and cook a variety of meats using different pit models. See the schedule below for the meats that will be cooked during each class. This is a general barbecue class that does not discuss business practices. We always schedule this class back-to-back with Business of Barbecue as about half the class usually attends both events. This class is ideal for anyone from the backyard enthusiast or competitor to the person who already owns an Ole Hickory. If you are thinking about buying an Ole Hickory, this is the perfect chance to see different models in action so you can choose the one best suited to your needs. Many Ole Hickory owners attend this class and say it has significantly improved their cooking and understanding of the pits.


Whole Hog Extravaganza/Brisket Bonanza/BBQ MBA is a celebration of all things whole hog and brisket. You’ll watch the top hog and brisket cookers in the country prep and cook their famous styles of barbecue and enjoy a feast at the end. While the barbecue is on the pit, the pitmasters, joined by some of the most brilliant marketing and media minds, share their business brilliance in the BBQ MBA portion of the seminar. Read about the 2013 event on and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Big Apple BBQ Smoke Tours are an opportunity for a rare, behind-the-scenes peek at some of New York City’s top barbecue restaurants. We tour the pits and kitchens, meet the management staff and hear the restaurants story as well as sample the menu. Tour size limited to 15 people. We can also arrange a private tour for your company or group in any barbecue mecca around the country.


If you need specific help with your project — from start-ups to established restaurants — we offer Private Consulting services from kitchen design and pit selection to developing flavor profiles and branding. We’ll work onsite with you and your team or host your pitmasters and chefs in our kitchen. In conjunction with other consulting services we offer a Barbecue Immersion program in our restaurants. I can provide a quote based on your project. Some people do still sign on for further help after the class. We help with many aspects of the business; just depends on your needs.


Upcoming schedule:

April 19, 2015 Legendary BBQ {ribs and poultry}
April 20–21, 2015 Business of Barbecue,
November 8, 2015 Legendary BBQ {brisket and shoulders}
November 9–10, 2015 Catering Master Class,
January 17–19, 2016 Whole Hog Extravaganza/Brisket Bonanza/BBQ MBA

All classes are held at The Warehouse at 17th Street in Murphysboro, Illinois.

Frequently asked questions

Where do you hold the classes?
OnCue events are held at The Warehouse at 17th Street in Murphysboro, Illinois, just across the street from our mothership restaurant.

Who attends?
Attendees include barbecue enthusiasts and entrepreneurs, competitors who want to parlay trophies into a business, and seasoned restaurateurs looking for fresh ideas. Some people just want to peek behind the “iron curtain” at 17th Street. We’ve had participants from 40 states and 10 countries.

Where is the closest airport?
Murphysboro is two hours from St. Louis and three hours from Memphis or Nashville. Sorry, not terribly easy to get to. We’re definitely a destination. Cape Girardeau, MO is also two hours from St. Louis and 45 minutes from Murphysboro.

Are there hotels nearby?
We provide a list of area hotels in Carbondale, Illinois, just five miles from Murphysboro.

Is there a group discount?
We have many couples and groups of two to eight people who come to the classes. We keep them very small and we’re unable to offer group/couple discounts.

For more information:

  • Visit our Facebook fan page and click on PHOTOS to see the galleries of photos from all of our events.
  • If you would like to register for one of our events, please contact me and I’ll send a registration form and travel/schedule details.