Chef and Founder
Growing up in Greenville, SC, Charlie McKenna learned very early on about the art of true Southern BBQ. Grandma Lillie made sure of it.
A graduate of Florida State University and New York’s famed Culinary Institute of America, Charlie got his start cooking under legendary Chef Norman Van Aken in Florida. He then relocated to Chicago to become sous chef at two of Chicago’s four-star fine-dining landmarks, Tru, and Avenues in the Peninsula Hotel.
2X WORLD BBQ CHAMPION
Chef Charlie McKenna has won two Memphis in May victories and a variety of other awards on the competitive BBQ circuit, he’s proud to have added to his mantle at home. The work is long, rigorous and takes a small village. But damn if isn’t delicious.
As Charlie traveled the BBQ competition circuit from Memphis to Alabama and the Carolinas, he created a Lillie’s Q sauce unique to each region along the way. In addition to the sauces, Lillie’s Q Rubs and Kettle Chips are also crafted with authentic regional flavors inspired by Charlie’s Travels.
Later, when Charlie opened his first restaurant, the goal was simple: Create a Southern-inspired BBQ experience that’s true to regional traditions and reimagined into unique, authentic and delicious flavors. And he hasn’t slowed down since. Ready to take a virtual road trip?
Explore Regional BBQ Styles