Monthly Archives / July 2013


Please Join Us to Support Operation BBQ Relief


A pallet of Magic Dust, spices, and seasonings donated by 17th Street and Townsend Spice & Supply.

Nothing says “love” like a home-cooked meal and barbecue is as comforting to the soul as it gets.

As a business located in an area plagued by severe weather and who has experienced the work Operation BBQ Relief does first hand, we have made it our mission to support their fine work. We hope all barbecue restaurateurs and enthusiasts will join us in this mission.

Now is the perfect time to send a donation to the cause … BEFORE the next disaster strikes. Hurricane season will be here shortly. Peruse this wish list and help them re-stock their warehouse.

During 2012 Operation BBQ Relief cooked almost 182,000 meals in 11 states and spent 52 days cooking. Since the first deployment to Joplin, MO, Operation BBQ Relief volunteers have cooked and served 470,900 meals to victims and first responders. This represents the barbecue community and grass roots efforts at their finest.

Please consider making this organization one you support. Consider support by joining the Grand Champions Club. Keep up with them on their Facebook page to see where and when help is needed. Ask your vendors if they’d be willing to donate along with you. When we send Magic Dust, our supplier, Townsend Spice, donates, too. Mike asked Ole Hickory Pits if they’d supply a pit for them to use? Done. There’s strength in your relationships – leverage it!

Read more about the generosity of the barbecue community here: How to Make a Grown Man Cry. 


Memphis in May: The Most Valuable Prize

Memphis in May

Aliene and Pat Burke are our Apple City Barbecue family.
Mike and Don McLemore, Big Bob Gibson, sharing secrets.

The real prizes we take home from a barbecue competition are the lifelong friendships we form. Lots of bonding takes place before cooking and  during late nights gathered around the fire.


Top left: Linus Kim, OnCue alum, brought me a delicious bottle of Hooker’s House bourbon.
Top right: Allen Smith, Boar’s Night Out, with his Praise the Lard Grand Champion trophy.
Bottom: Luke Ray, Ken Hess, and Phillip Heern hang out from Madison Avenue to Tom Lee Park.

Linus Kim, born in Birmingham and currently living in South Korea, came to our OnCue class in April and spent the spring traveling the country and sampling more barbecue. He showed up at Memphis in May with the Party Q team from Batesville, Arkansas. Allen Smith just makes me smile. His team, Boar’s Night Out, won MBN Grand Champion at our contest in Murphysboro and he travels everywhere with the pig trophy. He even buckles it into the passenger seat of his truck and drives it around. Our 17th Street pitmaster, Phillip Heern, and Ken Hess from Big Bob Gibson bonded on the streets of New York City during the Block Party and they enjoying spending time together every chance they get.


Woody Tunnicliffe, Phillip Heern, Justin Spencer, Shane McBride, Mike Mills, Lauren Hirschberg, Johnny Keenan, and Adam Evans at the famous Gus’s Fried Chicken in Memphis.

Late night at Gus’s with the Ribdiculous BBQ boys is one of my favorite memories. I was in their booth sampling pickles, competition sauce, and hamburgers when Mike called to say he’d secured a table at Gus’s.  What you don’t see  are the 40 pieces of chicken that arrived right after we took this photo!

Mike and his nephew, Chris Mills of the Flying Pigs BBQ team, share a moment during the awards ceremony.

Mike and his nephew, Chris Mills of the Flying Pigs BBQ team,
share a moment during the awards ceremony.

As the first chapter of our book, Peace, Love, and Barbecue, proclaims: Barbecue = Friends + Family + Love. It doesn’t get any better than this. 

Read more about our Memphis in May adventures: filming The ChewLessons learned from Rocky III,The Judging,
and Danish National Team shirt exchange