My wife keeps telling me that I need to read some new books, so I decided to take her up on it. However I needed to find a book on a subject that I enjoyed. Naturally, BBQ was the first thing that came to mind. With that being said, the first book that came to mind was “Peace Love and Barbecue” by Mike Mills and Amy Mills Tunnicliffe. This book has been on my radar for quite some time, and I was thrilled that my local library had a copy!
Mike Mills, simply known as “The Legend” in BBQ circles, is the owner of 17th Street Bar and Grill (four locations in Southern Illinois) and Memphis Championship Barbecue (three locations in Las Vegas), and he is a partner in Blue Smoke in New York City (as well as the barbecue guru). His Apple City Barbecue team received numerous awards and honors between 1989 and 1994, and his team was also the first team ever to receive a perfect score at Memphis in May. He is also the only known barbecuer to receive Top Secret Clearance and board Air Force One.
Amy Mills Tunnicliffe, Mike’s daughter, is a professional speaker and writer. A resident of Boston, she is the brains behind 17th Street’s Twitter Account (@17thstreetbbq). She is a principal partner in OnCue Consulting, providing consulting services in all facets of the restaurant hospitality industry.
The problem with most food-related books is that they are simply a collection and a regurgitation of recipes. Prior to reading this book, I’ve only found one barbecue book that was more than just a recipe guide (Rick Browne’s “Grilling America”). I can proudly say that I can now add “Peace Love and Barbecue” to that list!
The book is very easy reading, and it made me feel like I was sitting next to my grandfather as he’s telling stories. “Peace Love and Barbecue” masterfully tells Mike’s story, from his humble roots to his Apple City Barbecue adventures to his adventures crisscrossing the country on BBQ adventures. He interviews numerous legends in the BBQ industry along the way, gathering their secrets, exaggerations, and lies in an all-too-entertaining fashion.
Interspersed throughout the book are numerous recipes. Some of them come from Mike and Amy themselves, while others are recipes picked up from various BBQ masters throughout the book’s adventures. There is even an entire section devoted to the how-to needed to successfully cook championship quality BBQ. The book also holds a special place for me since I lived just miles from Murphysboro, IL (the flagship location for 17th Street Bar and Grill) for two years.
If you have any interest whatsoever in all things barbecue, “Peace Love and Barbecue” is a must-have on your bookshelf. It masterfully intertwines recipes, storytelling, and interviews in such a way that you’ll find the book extremely hard to put down.
The book is available at most major book retailers (Barnes and Noble, Amazon). It is also available as an e-book for the Amazon Kindle. However, the most attractive option is to purchase the book through the 17th Street Bar and Grill website, where the book will be autographed for you. So if my wife happens to be reading this, “Peace Love and Barbecue” would make a wonderful birthday/Christmas/Arbor Day gift! If anyone who knows my wife is reading this, let her know this too!