020 Mikey – Man Meat BBQ

020 Mikey -

In Episode One of the ‘Living the Dream’ series, I was very privileged to have the opportunity to interview Mikey from Man Meat BBQ, based out of Chicago in the USA. Man Meat BBQ is one of the most popular BBQ podcasts out there and Mikey has leveraged the success of this, along with a cult-like following on Instagram into a very tidy business.  If you’re into your social media, you don’t want to miss this!

Much thanks and appreciation go to this episodes sponsors:

Pure Meats Robina

Harvey’s Kitchen

JAGRD Wood Fired Smoker Ovens

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  • Mikey runs a BBQ podcast called ‘Man Meat BBQ’ based in Chicago
  • He believes that Australia is crushing the BBQ scene at the moment
  • Hi favourite type of cooker is a Big Green Egg
  • He’s looking at getting into catering, but under a different name for marketing purposes
  • For this, he needs something bigger than the BGE
  • He’s looking for a rig that can cook for up to 350 people as he scales up his catering business
  • His pit of choice at the moment is the Myron Mixon H2O
  • Insulated pits are vital for saving money on fuel and consistent temperatures
  • Consistent temperatures are important because
    • Inconsistent temperatures ends up with tightened meat
    • The meat doesn’t cook evenly
    • The feel and flavour will be compromised
  • His favourite thing to BBQ for himself is beef ribs
    • It’s similar flavour to brisket without having to cook a whole brisket for just him and his wife
    • Still get a super beef flavour
    • It’s a medium-long cook
  • He also loves pork belly burnt ends
  • Slicing, cryoing and reheating can result in having to eat the same thing many times and can lead to you hating that meat
  • Alternatively, you can become very creative with using that meat in other recipes
  • Instagram drives people to improve their BBQ game which elevates the entire scene
  • Beef rib burnt ends 
    • Slice the meat off the bones instead of along the bones
    • Cube the meat into burnt ends
    • Apply more rub and sauce
    • Put back in the smoker to complete cooking
  • For comps – cook four racks
    • Use two for burnt ends and two for slices
    • Present in a box like brisket
  • Aussie comps are very creative with more categories at comps than in the States
  • Finding a butcher who is aware of the BBQ scene is key to getting them to cut things the way you want them to
  • Man Meat BBQ
    • He started it to fill a void as he couldn’t find an existing podcast that met his needs
    • And he’s a terrible writer, so the podcast was the better option
    • It’s an adult podcast – not suitable to listen around kids
    • There’s 150 episodes of back catalogue available at the moment
    • You can listen on iTunes and on his website: www.manmeatbbq.com  
  • Man-B-Q started as one guy putting on social BBQ events
    • Now it’s spread all around the place and they visit a different house each month
    • People have friendly rivalry, pushing the boundaries of ‘BBQ’
    • There are quite a lot of Mexican influences and wild game experiments going on in Man-B-Q at the moment
    • It’s developed into a whole community in it’s own right
    • Started as a men’s group but now it’s open to everybody
    • Man-B-Q now has two cookbooks out, with recipes from the Man-B-Q community members
  • Man Meat BBQ in the future
    • He’s bringing on writers to add a blog to the website
    • He’s expanding his catering operations
  • Making money with podcasting
    • Sponsorships, but can require compromise
    • Merchandise – t-shirts, hoodies, caps etc
    • BBQ Classes – the podcast gives him credibility to teach lessons
  • He has a friend who is a designer who handles the designing of his merch based on sketches in a notebook
  • Advice for people getting into selling merch
    • Find a reliable printer – they need to understand your vision
    • Build a good relationship with them
    • Don’t cheap out on things you don’t necessarily need to
  • Advice for people looking at getting into podcasting
    • Once you have an audience, you have to give them what they want, when they want it
    • Regularity is king
    • He uses Instagram a lot to find interviewees
      • Searches hashtags
      • Listener suggestions
      • Watches what people are doing and reaches out to them
  • Tips on using Instagram
    • He does all his advertising though Instagram
    • Still does Twitter and Facebook, but Instagram is where it’s out
    • Instagram really lends itself to BBQ because people always eat with their eyes first
    • Interact with people – like and comment on other people’s photos
    • Search different hashtags to what you’re using
    • Don’t do the ‘Follow/UnFollow Shuffle’
    • Elevate your own game: learn about photography and start taking good photographs
      • The first thing is to understand light
      • Plating and framing is secondary to lighting
  • His biggest success has been being able to spread the word of BBQ
  • Listener Questions
    • Who has influenced Mikey the most:
      • Moe Cason, Myron Mixon, Diva Q
      • Paul – Big Blue Egg on Instagram. He’s one of Mikey’s good friends
    • Biggest Interview
      • Myron Mixon
    • How much can you learn from others?
      • Learning from and with others will shorten the learning curve
      • However, it is important to also get out there and do it yourself too  
    • How many competitions does Mikey do in a year?
      • Mikey doesn’t cook in comps as his BGE’s are too hard to move
      • He does cook for BGE events though, 2 – 3 times per year
    • What’s Mikey’s take on lamb?
      • It’s difficult to get around his part of the world
      • He likes very traditional with his lamb – Salt, Pepper and Coffee
      • He also likes Lane’s Ancho Espresso rub
    • Most difficult question he’s ever been asked
      • He got asked at a class once to break down every single smoking wood
    • Why is Mikey so against pellet grills?
      • He feels that pellet cookers are outdoor crockpots
      • He feels it’s not true BBQ coz you’re not managing a fire
      • He feels that the food that comes off them isn’t as good as from a live fire
    • How does he feel about the rise of BBQ in Australia?
      • The BBQ coming out of Australia is mind-blowing
      • A lot of his BBQ inspiration comes from Australia now
      • He’s impressed with the beautiful cookers that we’re building
  • Mikey’s Top 3 pieces of advice:
    • Don’t overthink anything – start creating
    • Be yourself – don’t let anybody tell you how to do your BBQ
    • Don’t be afraid of hard work – it takes time, hard work and money to get a business going in BBQ
  • Catch Mikey @manmeatbbq on Facebook, Instragram and Twitter. You can hit his website on www.manmeatbbq.com His podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher and everywhere else podcasts can be sourced




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