17th St Barbecue: Murphysboro, IL
with Matt Osier
Social Spice Guy
What a welcome! First I'm greeted wholeheartedly by two Hall of Famers of barbecue...and then I see the sign with Savory and my name on it! Really made me feel good.
Mike Mills owns and operates 17th Street Barbecue in Murphysboro and his HOF best buddy, Pat, started up Pat's BBQ in town too. They have had a lot of great accomplishments in barbecue and have helped to keep Murphysboro on the map by successfully getting the city to be officially recognized as the "Barbecue Capital of Illinois"...pretty cool.
Mike loves talking barbecue, which we did a lot of as he toured me around his operation. You can learn a lot from him, all while having a bunch of laughs along the way. And that's what 'cuing is all about...a constant willingness to learn and have a great time doing something you're passionate about.
On Sundays, they smoke up a whole hog, which visually nothing can top in barbecue, so it was the prefect day for me to stop by. I learned a lot about the various approaches you can take when barbecuing one. And I learned a lot more in my 2 hour or so visit. Great info for me to share down the road.
I was optimistic that this would be a flavorful barbecue experience and it met and beat those exceptions handily. With Mike's family's sauce recipe and his own "Magic Dust" spice mix, it was obvious that he knew how to balance ingredients. Interestingly, that's how he views smoke...as an ingredient, one that should be balanced and not take over the flavor of cooked 'cue. That's a nice pro-tip right there!
I enjoyed everything I was served up, but the highlights for me were the tangy balanced sauce, the glistening whole hog...melts in your mouth, barbecued ribs and chicken and the sides of Cajun rice and spice dusted sour cream potato salad. Yeah it was good!
Stop by the Barbecue Capital of Illinois and give both HOFer's bbq joints a shot...it's worth the trip. BTW- 17th St Barbecue has a second location in Marion, IL