Mike Mills, affectionately known as “The Legend,” presides over pits at seven nationally-acclaimed barbecue restaurants in Illinois and Las Vegas and serves as partner at Blue Smoke restaurant in New York City. He formed Apple City Barbecue, with his friend and fellow Hall of Fame member, Pat Burke, and is a founding pitmaster of the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, an annual New York City sampling event that draws more than 130,000 people each year.
Mike is a four-time World Champion and three-time Grand World Champion at the Memphis in May World Championship Cooking Contest. He also won Grand Champion at the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue and the Jack Daniel’s Sauce Contest in 1992. Mike says his award-winning “Original Barbecue Sauce” recipe was passed down from his grandmother and that he learned the art of barbecue from his father.
Mike has received numerous accolades including Best Ribs in America in 2007 by Bon Appetit magazine and Best BBQ in America in 2009 by Travel and Leisure. In 2008, he was honored with the Pioneer of Barbecue award at the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue. Mike’s book Peace, Love, and Barbecue was nominated for a 2006 James Beard award and received the 2006 National Barbecue Association Award of Excellence. Mike has also been featured in the New York Times and on “Good Morning America,” “Fox and Friends” and ABC’s “The Chew” in addition to his many appearances on Food Network and Travel Channel.