A NBBQA Story - Messy Mike's BBQ & Catering
Below is the story of how Messy Mike’s began. In his own words, Mike Massiglia takes us on a journey in which the NBBQA was heavily involved. After reading this you will see what the NBBQA is all about. Thank you Mike for sharing this story.
If you read the November 2020 Issue of the Barbecue News, you have heard of Messy Mike’s Barbecue & Catering, LLC and how we recently opened a 30’, 22,000 LB barbecue trailer from Southern Dimensions in the middle of a pandemic in Derry, NH.
The part of the story that you haven’t heard, was how the NBBQA helped get us to where we are today.
The story begins back in 2012 when I married my wife Kathryn (most of you know her by Katie or Mrs. Messy) and shortly thereafter, I made the decision to use our wedding money to purchase a Meadow Creek TS250 Trailer Smoker with a BBQ42 Rotisserie Grill. I am a Master Electrician by trade and at the time, had little experience barbecuing. Some may call this a mid-life crisis purchase; others may say it is a twist of fate.
Not willing to let this smoker collect dust in the driveway, Katie heavily researched the barbecue industry and came across the NBBQA. She knew we had to sign up if we wanted to put this smoker to good use, so she purchased a single ticket for me to attend the 2014 NBBQA National Conference in San Marcos, TX.
It was nerve-racking to take on this huge conference alone in an industry that I was brand new to, but the late Julien Youmans took me under his wing and introduced me to everyone I am friends with today, paving the way for me to meet lifelong friends and mentors in the barbecue industry across the country. Steve Coddington and Jon Sweeney also were not shy to introduce themselves at the bar and Malcom Reed introduced me to my first moonshine experience. Soon after these introductions, I realized what the NBBQA is all about - we mingle, we share industry secrets, we share trials and tribulations, but mostly it is about hanging out with some of the best people in the world, doing what we all love, barbecue.
Determined to share this brotherhood and enthusiasm for cooking authentic southern smoked BBQ beyond my family and friends, we founded Messy Mike’s Barbecue & Catering in April of 2014. From 2014 to 2020, we worked 15–20-hour days, catering 100s of private events, smoking and serving 1000s of pounds of meat fresh on-site, all while working other full-time jobs.
We both attended the next three NBBQA National Conferences in Nashville, TN (2015), Jacksonville, FL (2016), and Fort Worth, TX (2017). In 2016, we won 5th place in Awards of Excellence (AOE) Best Apparel and our Messy Mike’s Barbecue Hot Sauce came in 6th place for AOE Best Tomato Spicy. In 2017, our Messy Mike’s Barbecue Hot Sauce came in 10th place for AOE Vinegar Spicy Category. Although we could not attend the 2018 National Conference, Katie, served on the President’s Dinner Committee leading up to the event.
In 2020, after six long years in business and questioning whether to shut Messy Mike’s Barbecue & Catering down, we knew we had to make a move – either open a brick and mortar or open a food trailer to take it to the next level. However, when the pandemic hit, the decision was made to move forward with barbecue trailer from Southern Dimensions (an NBBQA recommendation), and we have never looked back. After a 3-month build, the trailer was completed and delivered in time for a September 2020 Opening. Due to the New England winter weather, we were only able to stay open through mid-December. During these first 14 weeks, only open 3 days a week, noon to sold out (usually within 4 hours), we served over 2000 lbs. of meat, 600 racks of ribs, and taking on average 40 orders an hour. As a result of this early success Katie was able to quit her job to come on board full time and make our dreams come true.
The NBBQA is not just about the conferences. It is about being able call up everyone you meet at the drop of a dime to share tips and tricks, make introductions, or just to say “hello” and catch up on life. Being a part of this organization, kept us going through the tough times because we were able to call upon our friends to share struggles or gain motivation to keep going.
The NBBQA is major reason why Messy Mike’s Barbecue & Catering, LLC is around today, and I am so thankful to be able to be a part of this community and to know every single one of you who have helped us get to where we are today. From our partnership with Junior Urias from Up in Smoke BBQ, the advice from Andy Husbands from The Smoke Shop BBQ, to Kell Phelps for featuring us in the Barbecue News, to our lifelong friends with Dan Bosworth and family from Big Dan’s Barbecue to name a few - there are too many of you to list and we cannot wait until we can all get together again!