Tag Archives: 17th Street

17th Street Bar & Grill: Barbecue Mecca

Rubbing Buddha's Belly: The Welcoming 17th Street Piggy

We have had the honor of meeting both Mike and Amy Mills Tunnicliffe at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party and once at Memphis in May. We have “tasted” (never more than just a few ribs) Mike Mills famous Baby Back Ribs, fresh out of the Ole Hickory Smoker in NYC at the Block Party.  We had never been to 17th Street Bar & Grill for the full experience, until last weekend when our pilgrimage brought us to BBQ Mecca.

We gathered the St. Louis BBQ crew, and met at the 17th Street Bar & Grill in O’Fallon Illinois, site of the old St. Louis classic Super Smokers and now home of the world famous Mike Mills BBQ joint. It was more than a joint, a great big restaurant with a large bar and walls lined with press clippings and photos of famous BBQ Pitmaster’s including many historical looking photos of a personal favorite of mine, Ed Mitchell.

We sat family style at a big square table in the back next to the winding staircase and started with some appetizers. First, pulled pork nachos, packed with Jalapeno peppers, cheese and topped with Mike’s tender smokey pulled pork.  Next, smoked chicken wings with a nice smokey flavor, a little heat but were so much more tender and juicy than any deep fried wing could be. Finally, the house sampler arrived, full of smoked hot links, fried pickles,  incredibly crunchy onion rings, more smoked wings and an array of dipping sauces. Fried pickles were a first for me and just awesome!

The St. Louis Family BBQ Crew

In between courses, the warm honey rolls arrived with a delicious cinnamon butter which we only sampled in order to save room for the BBQ onslaught that was coming. The meats arrived and most went with two meat combos of baby backs and brisket. Others had pork shoulder so we passed them around. First, the ribs were so delicious and rich that a half slab was plenty when combined with a second meat. All the meat comes dry, sprinkled with Mike Mills Famous Magic Dust which adds a flavor that works perfectly with the 17th Street sauce and apple smoke flavor.

Low and Slow, Apple Wood Smoked Beef Brisket in the huge Ole Hickory Pit Smoker

The sleeper of the meal, besides the awesome hush puppies and corn muffins (which became the next mornings breakfast) had to be the brisket. It was smokey and very flavorful. The brisket was so tender you could cut it with your fork and it had a smokey bark that just went perfectly with 17th Street Spicy BBQ sauce. We were not surprised at all that it was so delicious, but I went for the baby backs and fell in love with the brisket!

The meal was the kick-off to Donna’s 50th birthday weekend and so our waitress (who promised not to sing or dance) brought out dessert, and it was as good as everything else was.  We were served a delicious bread pudding and a strawberry shortcake that was passed around and enjoyed by all. Huge thanks to Amy Mills Tunnicliffe for the VIP treatment, to the Manager Sue, who took us all out back to see where the magic happens. Last but not least, our server Anna who made us feel like we were visiting family and made sure we tried some hot links!

Eatocracy: Lick the screen – BBQ sauce fountain

Eatocracy is a great new food blog that I hope you will find the time to check out! Here is a link to the article below and this particular article holds a special place in my heart. It is Amy Mills brandchild in which she fills a “chocolate fountain” with BBQ sauce and uses it to allow people to put Mike Mills 17th Street BBQ sauce on their ribs, no dipping, just a pure BBQ Sauce shower! Gretchen and I experienced this first hand at the Big Apple Block Party in 2009 and BBQ Sauce will never be the same!

You know it’s a party when the BBQ sauce fountain starts flowing. Or, more specifically, that it’s a 17th Street Bar & Grill party – in which case you’re in for a rib-munching, lip-smacking good time.

Champion pitmaster Mike Mills and his daughter Amy make a yearly trek from their home base in Murphysboro, Illinois to New York’s Big Apple BBQ Block Party to dish out thousands of their signature ribs to barbecue fans from up and down the East coast. Amy’s fountain has become a staple at the event; when the sauce starts flowing, so does the fun.

See the fountain in action after the jump.

Each weekday, Lick the Screen will showcase one food photo that sets our stomach rumbling. If you’d like your work to be featured, submit your pictures to the Eatocracy Flickr pool or leave a link in the comments. We’ll get in touch if what we see makes us weak at the knees.

Mike Mills in BBQ Hall of Fame

We just wanted to take a moment to show our appreciation to the NBBQA BBQ Hall of Fame and praise them on their induction of Mike Mills and John Willingham who are two BBQ guys who paved the way for so many of us in this sport. Many years ago, I was given a bottle of John Willingham’s Original Mild Rub, aka WHAM! and told it was “rub”. From that day forward, my life changed as we began our search for the best rubs and sauces we could find. I remember I rubbed some pork chops with Wham and just like that, I was a convert. Soon after I was given a Primo XL Smoker and a copy of Mike Mills, Peace, Love and Barbecue from my wife and the quest to stop “indirect grilling” and start smoking began.

Mike Mills & John Willingham BBQ Hall of Fame

Mike Mills & John Willingham accepting BBQ Hall of Fame awards

A couple of weeks ago, these two gentlemen were inducted into the BBQ Hall of Fame and Amy Mills Tunnicliffe of OnCue Consulting was given honor of inducting her father and John into the Hall at the NBBQA Awards in Memphis. Here is an excellent article that was published in The Southern by Adam Testa.

By adam testa, the southern | Posted: Friday, February 12, 2010 1:00 am

MURPHYSBORO — 17th Street Bar & Grill pioneer Mike Mills has a long-established legacy in Southern Illinois, but after last weekend, he’s officially earned a place in the history of American barbecue.

Mills and longtime friend and occasional championship cook-off rival John Willingham of Memphis, Tenn., were inducted into the National BBQ Hall of Fame during the National Barbecue Association Convention in Memphis, Tenn.

“To be in there with the people who are already in there, I’m honored. It’s unbelievable,” Mills said, adding the surprise celebration was only made sweeter when Willingham was announced as his fellow inductee. “He’s probably forgotten more about barbecue that most of us know.”

The two men were the sixth and seventh inductees into the hall.

Amy Mills-Tunnicliffe, 17th Street’s marketing director and Mills’ daughter, had the opportunity to surprise the friends with the announcement of their induction. She said the night will always be a cherished memory.

“They were just tickled to death to be up there on stage together,” she said. “It was very special.”

Inductees are nominated by their peers and undergo a screening process. A two-tier, top-secret committee evaluates the nominees, and voting must be unanimous.