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 eatocracy.com 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.


9 Responses to “OnCue Consulting and Business of Barbecue”

  1. Keith Speed

    Amy, interested in attending the upcoming class, “Business of Barbecue. Sent email couple of days ago, do you have any opening.

    • amills

      We have three classes per year — January, April, November. Each with a different focus, as people like to keep coming back. Keep an eye out here and on our FB page for most updated information. Also sign up for the email newsletter! Here’s what’s upcoming:
      Legendary BBQ {one-day class/not business} November 15
      Catering Master Class November 16-17
      Whole Hog Extravaganza/Brisket Bonanza/BBQ MBA January 18-19
      Business of Barbecue: April 2016 — exact date TBD

  2. Joe Prendergast

    My daughter and I have two existing casual dining sub shops which are successful.

    We have no background at all in BBQ other than eating it. We have a great interest in getting a BBQ operation going. We see it as an opportunity in our area. We certainly need help to get that done. I see you have schools and other materials for creating the product. However, we are not at that point yet. We need to have a more practical understanding of basic business operation such as margins, best menu items, equipment casts, size etc.

    Is there any help that you can give along those lines? If so what is the cost and method of exploring a concept?

    • amills

      I’m just seeing this and I realize we’ve already been in touch! This blog gets thousands of spam comments and it takes a while to figure out which ones are valid. I apologize for the delay!

  3. Michael Weaver

    I’ve been trying to find BBQ Grilling Training as a PitMaster as well as a BBQ Line Cook; if offer such training or know of any other(s) please e-mail your finding(s). Thank You.


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