I’ve been friends with Mike Corcoran from Mike’s BBQ in Ireland (yes, Ireland) for a little while now. I met him while I was researching Amy Mill’s company OnCue. He’s a great guy with a ton of BBQ knowledge, but probably the most interesting thing is that he owns a BBQ Joint in Ireland. As I’m sure you’re just as curious as I am, I asked him for additional information about the joint. Here it is:
We recently imported a 1977 Chevrolet Stepvan and Custom smoker from Tennessee, where my grandad was from. The Stepvan is set up as a ‘stock truck’, with refrigerators, shelves, freezer etc. and also carries the generator used for outdoor concerts, festivals etc. It is the first and only American barbecue rig in Ireland, and we are the first in Ireland to introduce American BBQ to the public.
In my shop, I use a Cookshack smoker, as I had to go electric because of the unavailability of gas at the site. I will be expanding soon, and hope to bring in a big Ole Hickory, as I’ve visited the factory in Cape Girardeau, MO. and am quite impressed with the product, and the people. Besides that, Ole Hickory was personally recommended to me (over Southern Pride) by Mike Mills, Paul Kirk, and Lee Ann Whippen, so if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me!
I’m currently in a little ‘take-away’ shop in Clonakilty, Cork Ireland, where we do catering as well. It is at the southern tip of Ireland on the ocean. The Irish are largely unfamiliar with American barbecue, but have taken to the pulled pork and baby back ribs like a fish to water. They tend to think of barbecue as a summer event, with burgers and sausages, rather than a style of cooking, but we are doing our best to change that. They never knew pork could be so tender and juicy!
Our long term plan is to bring our product to the retail sector, selling our sauces and rub in the supermarkets. We also are have begun to furnish the catering market with our finished pork and ribs. This will include restaurants, and sandwich bars and deli counters, which exist in nearly every gas station in Ireland. Many are dying for a new product to offer, which will make them stand out from the competition on the next corner. A great thing is we have received a grant from The Irish Enterprise Board for shelf life testing, logo design, and packaging.
We smoke with local applewood. Our pork is also local, coming from a small town on the coast five miles away called Timoleague. The Irish have proven to like their pulled pork in a ‘wrap’ as opposed to bread or a bun, not sure why, but it works for me. Wraps (tortillas) are cheaper, last longer, easier to eat on the move, and have a better yield (you needn’t throw away two ends or heels with every loaf!). I top all of the wraps with homemade slaw, and the contrasting crunch to the tender meat wins them over quite quickly.
I have studied under Mike Mills and Paul Kirk, and Dave Raymond (Sweet Baby Ray) is a friend and personal mentor. I also attended a twelve week course at a very highly regarded cooking school here in Ireland called Ballymaloe. (Pronounced Ballymaloo) It is run by a chef named Darina Allen, who would be the Irish equivalent of Julia Child. People come from all over Europe and America to attend. It is a “boarding school”, set on a 40 acre certified organic farm. They stress using high quality local and seasonal produce,meats and free range eggs, which we highly subscribe to, and they grow all their own produce, and raise their own chickens and pigs.
I have since been back to the school after graduating to conduct demonstrations on American bbq, and the response from the students has been overwhelming. We expect that within six months of our widespread roll out of products, that the imitators will begin. However, few (hopefully) if any will have the U.S. bbq experience and resume’ that I posess.
I moved to Ireland after meeting my Irish wife while over here on vacation, researching my family tree. My great grandfather came from Millstreet, County Cork, and I’d like to think he is proud as punch that the family has come full circle, and has now returned to their Irish roots, and brought the finest American cuisine with them!
Check out Mike’s view on cue here
It’s a small town, but here’s how you find Mike’s BBQ:
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