Mitchell’s Ribs, Bar-B-Q & Chicken

6228 Ward Blvd.
Wilson, NC 27893

Ed Mitchell made his reputation cooking whole hog barbecue in his hometown of Wilson, NC. As a boy, he attended pig pickin’s on his grandparent’s farm, but he came to the business of barbecue fairly late. Ed attended college, served in Vietnam, and worked for Ford Motor Company. When his father became ill, Ed moved back to Wilson to help his mother run the family store, Mitchell’s Groceries.

In 1990, Mrs. Mitchell wanted some old-fashioned barbecue, so Ed cooked a pig behind the grocery. Two years later, Ed converted the store into a barbecue stand. He cooked whole hogs and country-style sides, and he offered what he called a “pig bar,” where customers could eat their fill of chitlins, feet, and snouts. As Ed’s business grew, so did his commitment to tradition and quality. In 2003, in an effort to reclaim a taste of the past, he began cooking free-range organic pigs. In 2005, he ran into business trouble and closed his restaurant. But Ed Mitchell didn’t stop cooking. He catered special events and began exploring other opportunities. In 2007, Ed formed a partnership with a real estate developer and opened The Pit, a white-tablecloth barbecue restaurant in Raleigh. Ed left The Pit in May 2011 to pursue another restaurant venture on his own, which is scheduled to open sometime in 2012.

Date of interview:

September 5, 2007


Amy Evans


Amy Evans, Ellen Shapiro and Jason Perlow

Mitchell's Ribs, Bar-B-Q and Chicken - Ed Mitchell - North Carolina - Southern BBQ Trail
Growing up, all our lives on any celebration—it didn’t make any difference what the celebration was, if it was significant enough to be recognized, it had to be accompanied by barbecue. And that was the way things were. Good times were synonymous with family gathering and cooking of barbecue and just having a good time.

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