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I have "seen" the light

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Ok ya'll I hope you enjoy this bit of information as much as I enjoyed getting it.

I had an opportunity to speak with the "ledgendary" Mike Mills today via the phone. While some probably aren't impressed and some others may not know who he is, allow me to shed some light on this topic.

Several weeks ago, while surfing the various BBQ sites that I do, I came across a post regarding pork ribs and basically how to know if they're done or not. Further into the post there was a lot of talk and technique and something about the ribs "sweating" a few times during the cook session. And then, the name "ledgendary" Mike Mills was dropped. I googled, read, googled some more and finally came across the Memphis-BBQ.com site where on the site itself under the recipes section for "The Perfect Ribs" it states the following:

After reading several more articles that I found through google with regards to Mike Mills and his ribs, I found more reference to 1 to 2 hours smoke time and ribs sweating. I spoke of these things a few times in chat with several people and while the consensus was that you CAN'T do ribs in 2 hours unless you're grilling them or BOILING (you Martin, you know who you are!), it can't be done. It was during this time that I sent a polite email to Mr. Mills requesting clarification of his technique for his award winning ribs. And now I know.......

Mr. Mills took a personal effort in contacting me directly today, and while it might not be such a deal for a lot of people, it really made my day. We spoke for almost 45 minutes and I can tell you that at the end of the conversation, I felt even more enlightened than when it started. Without releasing any of Mr. Mills' trade secrets I can honestly tell you this much for certain, his ribs take 6 hours, period. Whether he's cooking for a competition or for the restaurant, he strives to produce the exact same level of quality every time. Nothing in the way of procedure or practiced method changes. The only thing that changes are the types of smokers used given the situation.

I found the conversation with Mr. Mills very stimulating as he was very much willing to talk about his techiques, the magic dust he uses and just overall smoking in general. He was very open and honest with how he does what he does and he reiterated a point that is more often than not heard but forgotten,

I'll be calling Mr. Mills back in the coming weeks as he actually gave me a few challenges to try and asked that I get back with him so he would know the outcome and if he was right or not, but he nailed down some pretty solid numbers for me to shoot for. All in all, it was an honor and a pleasure speaking so candidly with him and look forward to doing so again in the future.
post #2 of 22
That's cool. I mean that he took the time to call you and work through some things with you on the phone. He could have easily hit "delete" or just fired off some quick response via email.

Sounds like you've made a friend that will help you become a better cook.

We'll all be looking forward to some great rib posts from you so we can learn from you.

Thanks for sharing this info.
post #3 of 22
Nice that he personally called you and discussed things in such detail.
Any possibility of sharing a few of the things he told you to give a try without giving away any "secrets"?

Also, so if he said even his ribs take 6 hours was the whole 2 hours that people were claiming nothing more than bull hockey?
post #4 of 22
Mike Mills is a big known name. He's done a lot and I'm sure he has a lot of people set against him as he does for him. It was great of him to call you and that you were able to get quality information from him. That speaks HUGE for his character.

Glad you were able to get some information and that you shared your story with us.
post #5 of 22
After you finish the challenges I sure hope you get his ok to pass the complete info on to us. Sounds like everyone might benefit a bit from hearing about it. It would be totally awesome if you could recruit him into the SMF's family fold. Hint hint.

Or like Kim from Masterbuilt he may be constrained from joining such a group due to commercial considerations.
post #6 of 22
That's really cool.

I bought two copies of "Peace, Love, and BBQ"...one for me and one for one of my buddies that was going to do some competitions with me. Great stories, great hints, and great recipies.

After your tutoring at the hands of the master, please be so kind to share your new knowledge.
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
Here's SOME:
-6 hours, period.
-Membrane Removed
-Ribs smoked Bone Down, no turning/rotating or flipping
-LOW and slow

The two hours is a factual statement, based on that's how long the ribs are actually exposed to a "smoked" environment where they can take in the smoke flavor, but don't quote me on that.

post #8 of 22
Well i am impressed that not only did he take time to call you but that you took the time to search out the info you needed to make what you had read clear. I was one of those in chat that night and asked you to report back but that I just could not see how ribs could work in 2 hours. I am glad you got your answeres. 6 hrs makes sense. I sometimes get mine done in 5.5 but usually 6. Take care and good smokes.
post #9 of 22
Very nice!
post #10 of 22
6 hours, makes sense. Are we talking spares here?

What about spritzing, mopping/foiling? In my ECB I did 2-2-1 on BBs, spritzed every 45, foiled, then unfoiled. They turned out brilliant.

In my new ceramic (and their ability to retain moisture), I threw a rack on for a straight 3:45, without touching, mopping, spritzing etc. They were awesome too, ceramic does what it says it does, but I think I'll do the same thing again next time, just spritzing now and then..
post #11 of 22
You had a great day my friend, speaking a man of experience and knowledge.Thosw "secrets" you revealed are what most of us share when doing spares. Thanks for sharing my friend.
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
All I can add to what I've already posted is the following:

- NO Foil
- Take advantage of the "sweating" period as there's only about three of them during the whole cook

Other than that, without Mr. Mills' permission, I can't tell you anything else as they are considered trade secrets.
post #13 of 22
Cooking on an Old Hickory like he does, there wouldn;t be as much need for foil I don;t think, because the carousel allows the rack above to self baste the lower rack. I wonder if it would be different if he were cooking on a unit without a rotisserie carousel.

Did he say what temp he cooks at? we do St Louis Spares at 250° for 4 1/2 hours at our competitions, and we have found that any longer than that and they turn to mush pretty quick.
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
Again, there are certain aspects of my conversation that I had with Mr. Mills that without his permission, are considered trade secrets but I can tell you this much, LOW means LOW.
post #15 of 22
My dad smoked and cooked his hams at 160° max for 38-40 hours, 36 of them at a time in Koch smokehouses... they were like eating velvet! Smooth and tender! They would go through periods of sweating also, plus he would pull them and let them hang for 24 hours and drip in a chilled drip room still in stockinette, then transfer to the cooler for a hard chill at 34° until sold. As new batches were added the older would rotate to the front.
post #16 of 22
Funny how that works, isn't it. biggrin.gif

Looks like between 200° and 210° according to this article he wrote.


Not to take anything away from your conversation with him, Nutzman and I think it is great that he called you in person, but I imagine if one were to buy and read his book, many of those "secrets" would be revealed. I've been wanting to do that anyway. I hear it is a great book.

post #17 of 22
This makes sense that 2 hrs is 1/3 the total cook time...
I read several references when i first got into smoking that were reminders that 'constant continuous smoke' the whole time was too much.... something to the affect of cooking 2/3 and actual smoke 1/3 of the total cooking time.

I took that to mean producing real TBS only 1/3 the cooking time to keep the smoke flavoring as a seasoning... I think especially for those using the stronger woods like Hickory, etc.

These all came from 'older' sources.
post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
Aight, you're right, it is everywhere on the net. I just wanted to NOT be the one to say anything first just because of the conversation that I had with him, you're right DDave it did mean something to me that he contacted me personally.

So here's the real deal:

- 6 hours, period
- NO foil
- Bone side down
- NO turning, flipping or rotating
- 210 degrees ALL THE WAY
- spritz with Apple juice and lightly "dust" with magic dust only during sweat periods
- ribs will MOST LIKELY temp out at 185-190 at the end of 6 hours

Straight from the horse's mouth.
post #19 of 22
And I don't mean to minimize that at all, Nutzman. I think that it is pretty incredible that he took the time to do that.. It says a lot about him as a person and his love for and willingness to share the craft. PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif

When people are asked why they cook their ribs the way they do, you can smile and say "Well, I was talking to Mike Mills on the phone and he told me to do it this way."

There's not many people who can say that.PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif

post #20 of 22
Congratulations on the conversation that you had with Mr. Mills... PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
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