Hello, and welcome to another episode of the podcast. Today on the podcast, I have an interview with Ryan Mitchell. Ryan is the son of Ed Mitchell Known as ‘The Pitmaster’ in barbecue circles, Ed Mitchell has been cooking whole-hog barbecue the traditional way since he was a teenager in Wilson, North Carolina. A grandson of a small farmer, Ed was surrounded by natural, good-tasting food as a child. He has rich memories of those tastes and times. For years, his education, military duty, and work with the Ford Motor Company took him away from Wilson, until he returned in 1990 to help his mother when his father became ill. Thanks to a chance launch and Ed’s habit-forming barbecue, Mitchell’s Grocery soon morphed into Mitchell’s Ribs, Chicken & B-B-Q. As the business grew, so did Ed’s reputation. Ryan Mitchell, Ed’s only son, is the business-savvy brain behind his father’s brand. As you might expect, from a very young age, Ryan began working in the Mitchell family restaurant. Long before the Pitmaster fame Ryan could be found by the side of his grandparents, Willie and Doretha Mitchell, day in and day out helping out in the small corner store off 301 HWY in Wilson. Although BBQ was the only way of life he knew, Ryan pictured a different path for this career: After high school, Ryan charted his own course and attended East Carolina University to pursue his dreams of playing college football and earning a degree in Economics. He spent eight years working in commercial, and investment banking for some of the nation’s largest firms before he re-evaluated his professional life. After going through a major market crash and brutal lay-offs, Ryan felt it was time to leave his sixty-hour-a-week desk job, return to his roots and pursue his passion. Ryan credits his father, grandfather, and two uncles Aubrey and Stevie Mitchell for giving him the skills to lead the next generation of BBQ.
Listen to Episode 252 below:
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