Owner and pitmaster Mike Dial's personal story is one that's becoming more common in the barbecue business. Historically, barbecue houses established during the depression or just after WWII were handed down through families, from generation to generation. But today, with the advent of national barbecue contests or the urging of friends and family, some amateur grill masters have converted their passion into a business.
That is the case for Dial. After retiring from the US Navy, he worked for a company that entertained during the Winston Cup Races. Dial was in charge of the barbecue for the events. "Folks started telling me how good my barbecue was and said I should start my own place," Dial says. So he did, partnering in 2005 with his brother Robert Dial and Mike Melton (no relation to the famous NC Melton barbecue family) to start 521 BBQ & Grill. The rest is history!