Murphysboro Moves One Step Closer to Being Named Illinois’ Barbecue Capital City

Rep. Terri Bryant and Murphysboro
Mayor Will Stephens are pushing the
Illinois General Assembly to name
Murphysboro as the BBQ Capital of Illinois

Springfield….115th District State Representative, and Murphysboro native Terri Bryant received unanimous support for a resolution advanced through the Illinois House Tourism and Conventions Committee on Tuesday. The resolution would name Murphysboro the BBQ Capital of Illinois.

Bryant acknowledged that the subject matter of HR 207 is quite unique, but said she thinks the current financial crisis facing the state provides the perfect opportunity to promote Illinois’ many positive qualities.

Pat Burke of Pat’s BBQ and Catering is one
of two Murphysboro residents in the
National Barbecue Hall of Fame

“Illinois faces many serious financial challenges right now. So, I think it’s time we started thinking outside the box and promoting the good things we have to offer,” Bryant said.  “We need to attract tourism dollars to our region. This measure is simply one way we can say we’re proud of our area and we have a lot to offer.”

Murphysboro is home to the annual “Praise the Lard” BBQ Cook-off which is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society and the Memphis Barbecue Network. The Travel Channel named Murphysboro as one of 8 “BBQ Paradises”. Murphysboro is also home to National BBQ Hall of Fame pit masters Mike Mills of 17th Street BBQ and Pat Burke of Pat’s BBQ and Catering. Mills and Burke are Illinois’ only National BBQ Hall of Fame members.

Hall of Famer Mike Mills of 17th Street BBQ
showcasing his many BBQ Trophies

Bryant said the idea for the measure was brought to her by Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens. Stephens says he is proud that the measure received unanimous Committee support, and encouraged Illinoisans to continue to contact members of the General Assembly in Springfield to urge that the measure pass the House and Senate.
“First, I want to thank Representative Bryant for promoting our city and our region this way. I am very proud of our city’s barbecue heritage and I want to encourage folks that haven’t been here to come and see for themselves what our great city has to offer,” Stephens said.

“I look forward to lobbying the other members of the House and Senate and let them know they are all welcome any time to come to southern Illinois and try some world famous Murphysboro barbecue.”

An online petition in support of the resolution can be found at To follow this issue and other legislative action in Springfield, please visit