Apple City BBQ Team Head Pitmaster Amy Mills Shares Competition Advice with Grill Master University

Sign up for the free Quickstart Competition Barbecue Tips Interview Series https://www.grillmasteruniversity.com/quickstart We interviewed 10 more competition barbecue teams at the Memphis in May World Championship of Barbecue Competition. Each team offers their top advice and tips for mastering your…

Apple City BBQ Team Head Pitmaster Amy Mills Shares Competition Advice with Grill Master University

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Sign up for the free Quickstart Competition Barbecue Tips Interview Series https://www.grillmasteruniversity.com/quickstart
We interviewed 10 more competition barbecue teams at the Memphis in May World Championship of Barbecue Competition. Each team offers their top advice and tips for mastering your smoker. Whether you’re a backyard cook or interested in entering the competition circuit you’ll love these behind the scenes interviews.
In our next installment, Grill Master University takes the time to chat with Amy Mills of 17th Street BBQ and the Apple City BBQ Team. Many know Amy as a barbecue heiress, as she’s the daughter of legendary champion pitmaster Mike Mills. You may know Mike as “The Legend” because of his many wins at championship barbecue. Mike Mills was the co-captain of the Apple City Barbecue team in the early 1990s and took the team to the next level, winning World Champion four times, Grand World Champion at Memphis in May three times, and the Grand Champion of Jack Daniel’s World Invitational Barbecue Cooking Contest in 1992.
Amy emphasizes her love for barbecue and how barbecue brings people together. Whether people are coming to a barbecue restaurant or they’re hoping to become the next Memphis Championship Barbecue winner, they come to be part of a barbecue family. Amy calls her team the Church of BBQ, and the people who come to eat their food and compete alongside them are part of the congregation. Once you come to a barbecue competition, you are enveloped into her family and into the greater barbecue family. There’s no feeling like that in the world! Barbecue is a subculture of America – a true slice of Americana – and everything that’s good about America is right here in BBQ.
In addition to being the go-to girl for all things barbecue in the industry, Amy is also celebrated in the cooking world. She was nominated for a James Beard Award for her book, Peace, Love and Barbecue. She travels around the world and her company, OnCue Consulting, provides education and consulting services to barbecue enthusiasts and restaurants. In her BBQ classes, you benefit from her team’s 30 years of barbecue experience. There’s a reason you’ll find 17th Street BBQ on lists like Thrillist’s 33 Best BBQ in America and MSN’s 50 Best BBQ Joints – Amy knows her ‘cue!
For barbecue enthusiasts and people looking to take their skills to the next level, Amy has a few well-placed pieces of advice. First, it’s all about learning to manage the fire. Fire is what barbecue is all about, and fire management is the key to creating everything from delicious pulled pork and ribs in the backyard to whole hog in a competition setting. Keep your fire going at a steady rate, and more importantly, climbing at a steady rate. If the temperature of your meat doesn’t climb slowly and steadily, you can end up with tough meat. You don’t want the temperatures to be going up and down. That’s not the way to get juicy, tender meat with a perfect smoke ring.
After you learn to manage the fire, her next piece of advice is to take advantage of the information available on the internet. There are a plethora of online resources, including videos, books, and articles. She recommends reading everything you can get your hands on. There’s something you can learn from everyone, so go into your education with an open mind. Don’t start by thinking you know it all or there’s only one way to do something. There are many different things you can do to create delicious barbecue, and you might be surprised by how much BBQ education you can gain with an open mind.
Amy’s final piece of advice is to take a barbecue class. Amy teaches everything from classes for BBQ professionals to competition classes. You can find local classes all over, including shorter classes that only last from two to four hours. Look for barbecue and grilling classes in your area or online at sites like Grill Master University and adopt the perspective of a lifelong learner. Amy encourages everyone to have that philosophy and go to as many classes as you can. You might be surprised at what you’ll learn.
Maybe you grew up in a BBQ family like Amy and you’re working in the industry and running a restaurant. Others might love cooking for family and friends and are super excited about learning something new about cooking with fire, different kinds of meat, or how to use a barbecue and grilling technique in a new way. No matter where you are – personal, for competition, or professional level – taking a class is a really great thing to do for fun and to gain barbecue knowledge to become a true pitmaster.
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