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Today we continue the countdown to the Most Influential Person in BBQ with the 9th most influential person in BBQ. Coming in as the 9th Most Influential Person in BBQ is 17th Street Bar & Grill Owner, Pitmaster of the Apple City BBQ Team and author, Mike Mills.  

Mike Mills

Mike Mills and his Apple City BBQ team of the 1990’s were as dominate as the Ruth or Mantle led New York Yankees or the UCLA Bruin basketball teams of the 1960’s and 70’s. Mills and Apple City partner Pat Burke were among the first true stars of competition barbecue during a period of time that started to see the sports growth. It may be cliché to say, but Mills is among the original pioneers of the sport that paved the path for the many teams who now enjoy success and make a living from barbecue. 

Although less visible on the competition circuit today, by choice as he tends his many barbecue related ventures, it is hard to attend a barbecue competition and not hear Mills name come up more than a few times. 2013 could be viewed in the barbecue world much like 1994 was in the music world when the Eagles launched their Hell Freezes Over tour. This year Mills and Burke got the band back together and cooked their first Memphis in May in 18 years as well as cooking The Jack again for the first time in years.


It’s not like Mills had taken an 18 year vacation, he was busy building one of the country’s most successful barbecue restaurant ventures, 17th Street Bar & Grill, with three locations in Illinois and its spinoff Memphis Championship Barbecue in Las Vegas, NV. Additionally he is the mastermind behind the duel MBN/KCBS sanctioned Murphysboro Barbecue Cook-Off which has become one of the few “Bucket List” barbecue contests that every team would like to cook at least once in their career.

Perhaps Mills proudest accomplishment in barbecue is sharing his love of all things barbecue with his daughter Amy. This father-daughter duo are the most influential father-daughter tandem in the world of barbecue. Their 2005 book Peace Love and Barbecue is one of the most acclaimed books ever written about barbecue and contains an excellent collection of recipes and barbecue stores (you be the judge if their fact or fiction). Their family barbecue empire also includes Oncue Consulting, which offers a wide array of courses on the business of barbecue including classes on starting your own barbecue restaurant and how to master catering.


Mike Mills is a legend of barbecue, having won multiple titles at Memphis in May and too many other awards to count, but he is also one of the most influential people in BBQ. He has influenced the world of barbecue for many years and it doesn’t look like he plans to slow down anytime soon.

On December 24th we’ll unveil the 8th most influential person in BBQ. We’ll unveil a new member of our Most Influential Person in BBQ List each day through the end of the year and we’ll crown The Most Influential Person in BBQ on Tuesday, December 31st.

To date we’ve previously unveiled the 10th through the 25th Most Influential People in BBQ.

10th – Stan Hays, Operation BBQ Relief

11th – Steven Raichlen, Cookbook Author & TV Host

12th – Jamie Geer, Jambo Pits

13th – Dave Raymond, Sweet Baby Ray’s

14th – Aaron Franklin, Franklin BBQ

15th – Chris Lilly, Big Bob Gibson BBQ

16th – Sterling Ball, Big Poppa Smokers

17th – Rod Gray, Pellet Envy & Eat Barbecue

18th – Brad Orrison, The Shed

19th – Johnny Trigg, Smokin’ Triggers

20th – Danielle Dimovski, BBQ Crawl & Diva Q

21st – Bill Arnold, Blues Hog Barbecue Company

22nd – Competition BBQ Judge

23rd – Melissa Cookston, Memphis Barbecue Co. & Yazoo’s Delta Q

24th – Adam Perry Lang, Daisy May’s BBQ, Barbecoa & Cookbook Author

25th – Ronnie Cates, Smoke on the Water Productions

Will you make the list? Will someone you find deserving fall short of the top 25? Will you disagree with someone listed in the top 25? Check the Pork Barrel BBQ Blog daily now through December 31 and contribute to the discussion by adding comments to each days post!

Who is the most Influential Person in BBQ? Find out on December 31, 2013 when we reveal the Most Influential Person in BBQ.