Category / OnCue Consulting


Whole Hog Extravaganza 2015

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_02The 2015 Dream Team. Front row: John Stage, Kat Kinsman, Mike Mills, John Delpha, Sam Jones, Amy Mills. Back Row: Patrick Martin, John Lewis, Barry Sorkin, and Wayne Mueller.

Back in January, we held our fourth-ever Whole Hog Extravaganza/Brisket Bonanza/BBQ MBA.

This event brings together some of the most celebrated whole hog and brisket cookers in the country, along with brilliant marketing and media minds, and showcases a variety of cooking methods and styles. During the class, each pitmaster goes through the butchering and prep process. While the hogs, brisket, beef ribs, and sausage were cooking, we gathered for the BBQ MBA portion of the program. The theme was “Telling the Barbecue Story,” and we heard from producers at CoolFire Studios, barbecue critics Robert Moss and Daniel Vaughn, Tasting Table editor-at-large Kat Kinsman, and more.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_01All of these outstanding images are by the uber-talented Ken Goodman, who also gave a class filled with tips for excellent iPhone photography.
WholeHogExtravaganza2015_03So proud of this 1-7 pit crew who helps with every aspect of this production.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_04The entire group, From Alaska to New York, and including guests from Colombia and China.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_05Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens welcoming our guests.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_06Set-ups for the cocktail party …

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_07… and for breakfast.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_08No shortage of whiskey.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_09John Stage and Barry Sorkin did a brisket demo.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_10RH Weaver of Husk presented a talk on cocktails and made a delicious drink designed just for this event.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_11 WholeHogExtravaganza2015_12 WholeHogExtravaganza2015_13 WholeHogExtravaganza2015_14 WholeHogExtravaganza2015_15 WholeHogExtravaganza2015_16

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_17Hospitality bag of delicious items from Striplings, Goo Goo Cluster, Townsend Spice, and more.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_18Tools of the trade.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_19These burn barrels provided fuel and warmth all night long.


WholeHogExtravaganza2015_21And, as usual, we spent treasured time around the burn barrels, late into the night.


WholeHogExtravaganza2015_23John Delpha’s porchetta is always a crowd pleaser.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_24Three very different hogs. Pat Martin’s cooked over hickory …

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_25Sam Jones’s over oak ..

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_26And Mike and Phillip’s over apple.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_27Links of John Lewis’s delicious sausage, bathed in smoke.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_28He made two varieties: regular and cheddar jalapeño.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_29Mike is checking under the hood of one of his hogs.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_30Late-night snack. John Delpha smoked these pig heads, which I carefully sawed in half. The heads were so large, they wouldn’t fit on the bandsaw. We picked tasty threads of cheek meat and combined them with amazing Asian slaw and condiments to make delicious tacos.

WholeHogExtravaganza2015_31 WholeHogExtravaganza2015_32 WholeHogExtravaganza2015_33

The next Whole Hog Extravaganza/Brisket Bonanza/BBQ MBA will be held January 18-19, 2016. Guest pitmasters and speakers will be announced shortly. Some spaces have already been reserved, so you’ll want to sign up quickly! You can register here.

Photos © Ken Goodman Photography

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! 


Catering Master Class


Our two-day Catering Master Class session takes place each November. This class is designed for people who have completed the Business of Barbecue class or who have restaurant or catering experience. Mike and I, along with our 17th Street crew, and special guest instructors, lead a variety of discussions and demos designed to elevate best practices and help your catering business soar.

CateringMasterClass_AndyHusbandsSpecial guest instructor Andy Husbands, co-author of Wicked Good Barbecue and chef/owner of Tremont 647, will give several demos and impart wisdom and lessons learned from his many years in the business. In addition to being an incredibly skilled chef, Andy is a barbecue and grilling expert as well. He’s part of the IQue Barbecue team, winners of the 2010 Jack Daniel’s World Invitational Barbecue Cooking Contest.

CateringMasterClass_BaconMasonYou 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.

We delve deep into the world of catering. Topics include:

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

CateringMasterClass_BaconMason2Here are a few photos from last year’s event. Our signature sundaes ~ collards, layered with creamy grits from Jimmy Hagood’s Food for the Southern Soul, and garnished with pig candy.

CateringMasterClass_CheeseSandsTomato basil soup shooters with grilled pimento cheese wedges.

CateringMasterClass_ElevatorCrewThe OnCue classes are excellent team building events. At last year’s class, we were especially delighted to have the opening team for Shakers’ Smokehouse in Oakville, Ontario, Canada join us.

CateringMasterClass_EveryoneThis group represents Alaska, Florida, Canada, Massachusetts, Missouri, Indiana, Montana, Virginia, and northern Illinois. There are multiple sets of business owners in this group, three of whom are repeat attendees who brought staff with them to soak up barbecue culture and knowledge.


CateringMasterClass_PorkBellyPork belly two ways ~ glazed and pastrami-brined and smothered with sauerkraut.


CateringMasterClass_AppSkilletSoul rolls displayed in Lodge Cast Iron.

CateringMasterClass_Table2 CateringMasterClass_Tray

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

To register for the 2015 Catering Master Class, to be held November 16–17, 2015, please click here.

We’ll be having a Legendary Barbecue class the day prior to the Catering Master Class. About half the class will attend both. Please click here for information and to register.

Photos © Curt Trammel & Two Doves Photography

 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!