This past weekend’s Big Apple BBQ Block Party brought pitmasters from around the country together in New York City. Between ribs and brisket sandwiches we found a minute to catch up with father daughter team, Mike and Amy Mills, from 17th Street BBQ in Southern Illinois and Memphis Championship Barbecue in Las Vegas. Mike Mills is one of the founders of the event and his tent is one of the most popular (the barbecue sauce fountain didn’t hurt).

Mike and Amy gave us a few barbecue tips and, considering they served up to 11,650 hungry fans at last year’s BBQ Block Party, we think they know what they’re talking about.

See what they had to say below:

Amy Mills:
“There are a couple of things people don’t understand when they think about barbecue. They think the ribs should fall off the bone, but really you should have a little tug and a clean bite. If the meat is falling off the bone, they’re either overcooked or they’ve been boiled.

“People also think that barbecue is all about just the wood and the smoke, but so many people over smoke their meat. We like to have a variety of flavors in your mouth, but you should still taste the meat. So just a little spice, sauce and smoke makes the perfect barbecue.”

Mike Mills:
“Probably the number one mistake people make at home is controlling the temperature. The other mistake is they turn the meat too many times. Turning the meat over and over dries it out. If all possible you should flip it one time. It doesn’t hurt to move it around, but every time you flip it the heat that comes up from the bottom dries it out. And the juice escapes. The more you flip it, poke it or even squeeze it with tongs you lose juice and it becomes dry.

“If you’re talking about backyard cooking and the like, I’m going to say chicken is probably the number one meat to cook. I put a mustard slather on it (French’s) before it goes over the heat.”


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