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 taste 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. Acknowledgement of his talents led to associations with influential writers and historians including Calvin Trillin, John T. Edge, Peter Kaminsky, and Michael Pollan. Peter Kaminsky, author of Pig Perfect, in which a chapter is dedicated to Ed’s story, introduced Ed to the superior taste of free-ranging pigs raised on traditional foods. Ed was convinced that this was the taste of his youth he’d been searching for. He soon partnered with North Carolina A&T State University’s farm-raised pig program to encourage chefs to support naturally raised pigs. During this time Ed became a founding pitmaster of the 15th annual Big Apple Block Party. In 2009, Ed was invited to cook at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City. A year later, notable food advocate and author Michael Pollan shadowed Ed in preparation his The New York Times’ best selling book, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (Penguin Books, 2013.) Ed was not only featured in the book, but also in the Netflix original food documentary film, “Cooked.” In March 2012, Ed hosted a barbecue master class at the 20th Annual International Food and Wine Festival in Melbourne, Australia. Ed’s network of passionate culinary experts who are at the forefront of the food movement, as well as a rising fan base, helped support his transition from his family’s restaurant to an upscale barbecue concept, The Pit, based in Raleigh, North Carolina. In 2014, Ed left The Pit to team up with his son Ryan at Ed Mitchell’s Que in Durham.