ST. LOUIS — Not everyone thinks of southern Illinois barbecue. Chicago tends to overwhelm lists of the best food in the state. The Food Network just picked a Murphysboro restaurant for their “50 States of Barbecue” list.

The owner of 17th St BBQ has several Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest wins under his belt. Mike Mills also impressed Iron Chef Michael Symon with his ribs on Best Thing I Ever Ate. So, it is no wonder that food writer Sara Ventiera listed this restaurant as the best BBQ in Illinois.

There is a major issue with this assessment. Mike Mills, 79, died in 2020, according to the Chicago Tribune. His daughter, Amy Mills, a James Beard Award-nominated author of Peace, Love and Barbecue has taken over the family business.

Barbecue is a popular and beloved cuisine in Southern Illinois. The traditions of the Midwest and the South have influenced the style of barbecue in this area.

In Southern Illinois, barbecue typically involves slow-smoking meats such as pork, beef, and chicken over wood or charcoal, and it is often served with sides like coleslaw, baked beans, and potato salad. The sauces and rubs used in Southern Illinois barbecue can vary, but they often include ingredients like tomato, vinegar, molasses, and brown sugar, as well as a variety of spices such as paprika, cumin, and garlic.

Southern Illinois is home to many excellent barbecue restaurants that offer a wide range of dishes, from pulled pork and ribs to brisket and sausage. Some popular barbecue joints in Southern Illinois also include Beast Craft BBQ in Belleville, Rob’s Pit BBQ in Carterville, The Salty Boar in Du Quoin, and many more.

The Food Network is a television channel that airs cooking-themed shows and other programming related to food and dining. It features a variety of programs, including cooking competitions, instructional cooking shows, and reality series that focus on food and travel. The network also operates a website with recipes, cooking tips, and other food-related content.