The Untold Truth Of The BBQ Hall Of Fame - Mashed (2024)

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The Untold Truth Of The BBQ Hall Of Fame


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ByCristine Struble/

While many people might feel that their barbecue is worthy of high praise, the BBQ Hall of Fame honors some of the true masters of the 'que. Although this special group of BBQ legends is filled with famous faces, more individuals join the illustrious group each year. According to American Royal, the organization behind the BBQ Hall of Fame, it" ... serves to promote and encourage the growth and public support of barbecue by providing official recognition; honoring those individuals, who by extraordinary achievement and service, have made an outstanding impact on the world of barbecue."

In 2011, the American Royal Association took over the legal rights to the Barbecue Hall of Fame from Mike Tucker and Ray Basso, the Hall's founders. The first induction ceremony was held in 2012 during the American Royal World Series of Barbecue. Even though the smoke, flavor, and seasonings that influence food trends continue to evolve, the reality is that these barbecue masters are always moving the conversation forward. Just like it takes time to build the perfect temperature, these legends have worked to earn their rewards. The combined knowledge around this esteemed table would stoke a fire for a long time.

What does membership in the BBQ Hall of Fame represent?

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From the perfect smoke ring on the brisket to a succulent barbecue chicken, earning praise as an ultimate pitmaster comes with years, sometimes decades, of practice. That sort of food knowledge can be learned at the foot of the smoker, passed down by a family member, or experienced through trial and error. Still, there are only a few who can earn the ultimate distinction as a member of the BBQ Hall of Fame.

According to the organization, its mission is to " ... identify and honor the evolving history and traditions of barbecue while we recognize, document and preserve the heritage of barbecue in our world." While membership is said to " ... substantial influence to the advancement of barbecue," that concept can be applied in many ways. From the food innovator to the big personality, each person has found a way to turn a cooking method into a recipe for food culture. Even if the smoke slowly dissipates throughout the night, the flavor it imparts leaves a lasting impression.

How many members are in the BBQ Hall of Fame?

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Since 2012, every year new members have been inducted into the BBQ Hall of Fame. As of 2022, there are over 45 members, including Legacy Inductees. The Class of 2022 includes John Markus, Ed Mitchell, Joe Traeger, and Lee Ann Whippen. The Legacy Inductees are Bobby Mueller, Karen Putman, and Adam Scott. As Jackie McClaskey, interim CEO of the American Royal Association, said, "Selected from a pool of more than 80 nominees, this year's inductees were evaluated and voted on by the Barbecue Hall of Fame nominating committee and living Barbecue Hall of Fame inductees based on their contribution, achievement and service within the barbecue community."

The newest members will join the organization during the 42nd American Royal World Series of Barbecue, which is held on Saturday, October 1, 2022 in Kansas City, Mo. This event is considered the "largest barbecue contest." In addition to the various competitions, the event is a celebration of barbecue, family, and fun. Whether people know the differences between the styles of 'que, can expertly converse about cooking temperatures or just want to eat their way through the grounds, there are plenty of reasons to enjoy a weekend of deliciousness.

How does Guy Fieri fit into the BBQ Hall of Fame?

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While Guy Fieri might be king of the Food Network and has driven many people to explore the Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives across the country, the vocal celebrity chef is tied to the BBQ Hall of Fame. According to the organization, Fieri was inducted in 2012 as one of the early classes. Even though people might crave those Trash Can nachos or long for another serving of Donkey Sauce, Fieri has earned his barbecue credentials.

According to the organization, Fieri was part of the Motley Que Crew. Formed in 2003, the group, which consists of four pitmasters, put their cooking skills to the test. While it took a few tries to earn the crown, the group was victorious in 2011 and won the American Royal World Series of Barbecue Open Contest. Whether or not Fieri's barbecue sauces feature some of those winning flavors is unclear, he does have the authority when commenting on those culinary shows. It seems that Flavortown has made a stop at BBQ USA.

Who founded the BBQ Hall of Fame

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While the list of BBQ Hall of Fame inductees includes barbecue legends like Myron Mixon, Steven Raichlen, C.B. "Stubb" Stubblefield, and Rodney Scott(per AmericanRoyal), the organization's founder might be a slightly less well-known name. According to Hawgeyes BBQ, the company was integral in starting the organization. With the help of Mike Tucker, president of Hawgeyes, the company sought to create a lasting legacy in the food world. Although the organization is now under the American Royal umbrella, the original idea of enhancing and protecting the food history remains.

Although Hawgeyes came as an expansion of a landscaping business, the love of great food and flavorful barbecue brought the Iowa company to a wider audience. Considered a "pioneer in online bbq shopping," the organization gave people a means to taste the vast and varied offerings. From the winning competitors to the undiscovered master, the bounty of barbecue was meant to be shared.

What is the BBQ Hall of Fame Impact Award?

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While the organization adds new class members each year, 2022 saw the addition of a new category. Per, The Impact Award is " ... a new category that is meant to honor groups of people who have made a lasting impact on the world of barbecue but aren't represented by a single individual."For the inaugural award, the idea is to recognize barbecue pioneers whose names have gone up in smoke.

According to the organization, " ... enslaved pitmasters are the anonymous creators of what many regard as the one true American cuisine, barbecue." While this subject might be difficult to discuss, this award seeks to recognize " ... all unsung Black barbecue cooks whose contributions to the art of barbecue deserve to be remembered and memorialized." Whether that history can be tasted in today's barbecue or if it is just part of the seasoning that makes the cooking tradition such a craft, it deserves to be part of the conversation around the table.


The Untold Truth Of The BBQ Hall Of Fame - Mashed (2024)
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