Ryan Mitchell grew up in barbecue. He was prepping hogs and tending the coals alongside his dad, Pitmaster Ed Mitchell, for as long as he could remember. While barbecue is in his blood, growing up alongside it was a constant chore. The unrelenting work around barbecue pits initially made Ryan want to forge his own path. Ryan earned a scholarship to play football at East Carolina University, and after graduation, went into investment banking. The 2008 financial crisis then changed everything for him—Ryan was given the choice of taking a severance or moving to Singapore. He chose the severance and turned the experience into a growth event. He took a look at his life and realized that his heart and heritage was really back in barbecue.