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The 25 Most Influential People in BBQ – Number 15: Chris Lilly

Today we continue the countdown of the Most Influential People in BBQ with the 15th most influential person in BBQ. Coming in as the 15th Most Influential Person in BBQ is pitmaster and owner of Big Bob Gibson BBQ and spokesman for Kingsford Charcoal, Chris Lilly.

lilly

Chris Lilly’s Big Bob Gibson BBQ has one of the most famous and enduring pedigree’s in the world of BBQ. Founded in 1925, this BBQ joint has one claim to fame that I’m not sure any other BBQ joint out there can make, they invented their own style of BBQ sauce – the world famous White BBQ Sauce. Lilly might have inherited a BBQ juggernaut, but he certainly hasn’t coasted on its coattails. He’s added his own chapter to the Big Bob Gibson legacy, and it’s a chapter as thick with honors and influence as any other chapter in the institutions 4 generation history.

Lilly’s influence spans many facets of BBQ including competition BBQ, restaurants, cookbooks, TV personality, product spokesman and retail products. On the competition circuit there has been no pitmaster with more success at Memphis in May in the Pork category. Lilly is a three time Memphis in May Grand Champion and seven time winner of the Pork category. Other competition accolades include Grand Champion of the American Royal Invitational, Reserve Grand Champion of the Jack, winner of the inaugural King of the Smoker and first place ribs at the Houston Livestock and Rodeo World Championships. Lilly also has an award winning line of BBQ Sauces and spice rubs that are found in retailers throughout the country. In 2009 Lilly wrote his first cookbook, The Big Bob Gibson BBQ Book – one of the best BBQ cookbooks to come out in recent memory.

Big Bob

Perhaps Lilly’s biggest influence on BBQ comes as spokesman for one of the two biggest names in BBQ, Kingsford Charcoal. Through his relationship with Kingsford Lilly uses his platform to educate BBQers on not just the merits of using Kingsford, but also on the traditions of BBQ, helping to create more and more BBQ lovers throughout the United States and world. Lilly is also a frequent competitor and judge on BBQ themed TV shows like BBQ Pitmasters and Best in Smoke. When it comes to influence Lilly dips his toes into many facets of BBQ and is working hard everyday to spread his love of BBQ throughout the country.

On December 18th we’ll unveil the 14th most influential person in BBQ. We’ll unveil a new member of our Most Influential Person in BBQ List each day through the end of the year and we’ll crown The Most Influential Person in BBQ on Tuesday, December 31st.

To date we’ve previously unveiled the 16th through the 25th Most Influential People in BBQ.

16th – Sterling Ball, Big Poppa Smokers

17th – Rod Gray, Pellet Envy & Eat Barbecue

18th – Brad Orrison, The Shed

19th – Johnny Trigg, Smokin’ Triggers

20th – Danielle Dimovski, BBQ Crawl & Diva Q

21st – Bill Arnold, Blues Hog Barbecue Company

22nd – Competition BBQ Judge

23rd – Melissa Cookston, Memphis Barbecue Co. & Yazoo’s Delta Q

24th – Adam Perry Lang, Daisy May’s BBQ, Barbecoa & Cookbook Author

25th – Ronnie Cates, Smoke on the Water Productions

Will you make the list? Will someone you find deserving fall short of the top 25? Will you disagree with someone listed in the top 25? Check the Pork Barrel BBQ Blog daily now through December 31 and contribute to the discussion by adding comments to each days post!

Who is the most Influential Person in BBQ? Find out on December 31, 2013 when we reveal the Most Influential Person in BBQ.

 

The 25 Most Influential People in BBQ – Number 16: Sterling Ball

Today we continue the countdown of the Most Influential People in BBQ with the 16th most influential person in BBQ. Coming in as the 16th Most Influential Person in BBQ is pitmaster and founder of Big Poppa Smokers, Sterling Ball.

Sterling Ball

For most of us, it would be a major accomplishment to be on one list of Most Influential People, but Sterling Ball, who comes in at number 16 on our list of the Most Influential People in BBQ might just find himself on a similar list in the music industry as head of Ernie Ball guitar strings. The fact is you probably wouldn’t have found Sterling on this list a couple of years ago, but there is no faster mover in today’s BBQ world than Sterling Ball. As a relative newcomer to the world of BBQ, Ball can already claim one of the sports most prestigious titles – American Royal Invitational Champion, that goes well with his dozens of other calls. Ball doesn’t make our list for his competition success however. He sits at number 16 because of his innovative nature and desire to change the landscape of competition BBQ.

King of the Smoker

In 2012 Ball launched the inaugural King of the Smoker contests that pitted 24 of the nations top competition teams on perhaps the most level playing field of any contest. Each team is required to cook the same meat, use no garnish (that probably doesn’t upset them!), and are allowed no electricity to assist in their cook. With a generous prize purse, unparalleled hospitality and accommodations at one of America’s premier resorts, King of the Smoker, in only it’s second year is already being called the best competition in BBQ by the lucky teams who’ve been invited to compete. Perhaps the coolest part of the King of the Smoker concept is Ball’s desire to get the public involved and excited about BBQ by asking the competition teams to provide an education seminar on topics ranging from pits, to chicken cooking to injections & marinades. 

In addition to hosting the King of the Smoker contest Ball and his Online BBQ Supply Store, Big Poppa Smokers, formed the BPS Elite Team program in 2013 to raise money for children’s charities. In his spare time he has developed a line of championship rubs that many of the nations top teams are turning to in hopes of securing the ever harder to obtain GC’s, RGC’s and 1st place category calls. We’re big fans of the Jalleluja Seasoned Jalapeno Salt. We’ll be interesting to see what Ball has up his sleeve next.

On December 17th we’ll unveil the 15th most influential person in BBQ. We’ll unveil a new member of our Most Influential Person in BBQ List each day through the end of the year and we’ll crown The Most Influential Person in BBQ on Tuesday, December 31st.

To date we’ve previously unveiled the 17th through the 25th Most Influential People in BBQ.

17th – Rod Gray, Pellet Envy & Eat Barbecue

18th – Brad Orrison, The Shed

19th – Johnny Trigg, Smokin’ Triggers

20th – Danielle Dimovski, BBQ Crawl & Diva Q

21st – Bill Arnold, Blues Hog Barbecue Company

22nd – Competition BBQ Judge

23rd – Melissa Cookston, Memphis Barbecue Co. & Yazoo’s Delta Q

24th – Adam Perry Lang, Daisy May’s BBQ, Barbecoa & Cookbook Author

25th – Ronnie Cates, Smoke on the Water Productions

Will you make the list? Will someone you find deserving fall short of the top 25? Will you disagree with someone listed in the top 25? Check the Pork Barrel BBQ Blog daily now through December 31 and contribute to the discussion by adding comments to each days post!

Who is the most Influential Person in BBQ? Find out on December 31, 2013 when we reveal the Most Influential Person in BBQ.

 

The 25 Most Influential People in BBQ – Number 17: Rod Gray

Today we continue the countdown of the Most Influential People in BBQ with the 17th most influential person in BBQ. Coming in as the 17th Most Influential Person in BBQ is pitmaster of Pellet Envy and founder of Eat Barbecue, Rod Gray.

RG

There may not be a harder working person in barbecue than Rod Gray. Rod is one of the few people in barbecue that make their living competing on the professional competition BBQ circuit through contest winnings and team sponsorship’s. There is no telling how many miles a year Rod puts on his truck as he zigs and zags his way across the United States from Coast to Coast. The one thing that we can tell is that you can only rely on competition BBQ as your profession if you are more than good, you’ve got to be among the best.

Gray is without question one of the best in the world of competition BBQ. Pellet Envy is the winningest team in competition BBQ since 2006. His accomplishments include being named the 2009 Kansas City Barbeque Society Team of the Year, Grand Champion of the 2013 season of BBQ Pitmasters and winner of the 2012 BBQ Pitmasters Kansas City Episode, and 55 Grand Championships since 2002.

PE

No single individual in competition BBQ has played a more influential role in the world of barbecue education than Rod Gray. His acclaimed Pellet Envy School of Competition BBQ sales out as fast as a Beatles Reunion Tour would. There are hundreds if not thousands of Rod’s students across the country who have taken the fundamentals learned in a Pellet Envy class and turned them into their own GC’s and first place category calls. The item that set Rod’s class apart from other classes from the start is that he was the first to walk his students step by step through his entire competition cooking process.

In 2012 Gray introduced a line of BBQ Sauce and Spice Rub called Eat Barbecue that have proven to be very successful in competition use during the 2013 season.

On December 16th we’ll unveil the 16th most influential person in BBQ. We’ll unveil a new member of our Most Influential Person in BBQ List each day through the end of the year and we’ll crown The Most Influential Person in BBQ on Tuesday, December 31st.

To date we’ve previously unveiled the 18th through the 25th Most Influential People in BBQ.

18th – Brad Orrison, The Shed

19th – Johnny Trigg, Smokin’ Triggers

20th – Danielle Dimovski, BBQ Crawl & Diva Q

21st – Bill Arnold, Blues Hog Barbecue Company

22nd – Competition BBQ Judge

23rd – Melissa Cookston, Memphis Barbecue Co. & Yazoo’s Delta Q

24th – Adam Perry Lang, Daisy May’s BBQ, Barbecoa & Cookbook Author

25th – Ronnie Cates, Smoke on the Water Productions

Will you make the list? Will someone you find deserving fall short of the top 25? Will you disagree with someone listed in the top 25? Check the Pork Barrel BBQ Blog daily now through December 31 and contribute to the discussion by adding comments to each days post!

Who is the most Influential Person in BBQ? Find out on January 1, 2014 when we reveal the Most Influential Person in BBQ.

 

The 25 Most Influential People in BBQ – Number 18: Brad Orrison

Today we continue the countdown of the Most Influential People in BBQ with the 18th Most Influential Person in BBQ. Coming in as the 18th Most Influential Person in BBQ is founder, pitmaster and Head Shedhed of The Shed, Brad Orrison.

BO

If Rodney Dangerfield and Nikola Tesla were reincarnated into a single funny man/mad scientist of barbecue they would find that they weren’t the first. That honor would go to The Shed’s Brad Orrison, a guy who never seems to be having a bad day and is always looking for ways to use his genius to transform your trash into his barbecue treasure. Orrison could just as easily be listed as the definition of “The American Dream” in any reputable dictionary. 

Shed

Orrison’s journey to barbecue influence began were, most likely, no one else’s began – in the dumpsters and garbage piles surrounding Ole Miss University. Upon graduation Orrison hauled his pile of junk, or treasure, back home to Ocean Springs, MS and decided to build a barbeque joint from the contents of that pile after an epiphany. The Shed’s more than decade run and Orrison’s loyal followers known as “ShedHeds” are just two example of his influence in the world of barbecue. In 2012 when The Shed burned it rose from the ashes as if it were a Phoenix thanks to the efforts of those loyal ShedHeds and their contribution of junk to rebuild the restaurant in record time. 

Hog

The Shed competition team lead by Orrison is a fixture at Memphis in May and other major barbecue contests in the South. This year The Shed won the Memphis in May Whole Hog World Championship with their innovative “Running Hog” presentation.

In 2013 Brad and his crew of Shed Heads debuted The Shed on the Food Network. That wasn’t Orrison’s first Food Network appearance, in 2011 he joined his sister Brooke as contestants on the Food Network’s show Best in Smoke. Orrison is also a respected barbecue judge and has been invited to judge some of the most important barbecue contests including the Kingsford Invitational.

Orrison’s influence on barbecue is fueled by his big personality and wide grin. Be it through his innovative entrepreneurial spirit, successful restaurants, World Championship barbecue team, line of sauces and rubs or presence on national television, Orrison is among a limited few vying to lead the next generation of great pitmasters and barbecue entrepreneurs. His influence will be felt for many years to come as he continues to take his barbecue to new levels. 

On December 15th we’ll unveil the 17th Most Influential Person in BBQ. We’ll unveil a new member of our Most Influential Person in BBQ List each day through the end of the year and we’ll crown The Most Influential Person in BBQ on Tuesday, December 31st.

To date we’ve announced the 19th through 25th Most Influential People in BBQ.

19th – Johnny Trigg, Smokin’ Triggers

20th – Danielle Dimovski, BBQ Crawl & Diva Q

21st – Bill Arnold, Blues Hog Barbecue Company

22nd – Competition BBQ Judge

23rd – Melissa Cookston, Memphis Barbecue Co. & Yazoo’s Delta Q

24th – Adam Perry Lang, Daisy May’s BBQ, Barbecoa & Cookbook Author

25th – Ronnie Cates, Smoke on the Water Productions

Will you make the list? Will someone you find deserving fall short of the top 25? Will you disagree with someone listed in the top 25? Check the Pork Barrel BBQ Blog daily now through December 31 and contribute to the discussion by adding comments to each days post!

Who is the most Influential Person in BBQ? Find out on December 31, 2013 when we reveal the Most Influential Person in BBQ.

 

The 25 Most Influential People in BBQ – Number 19: Johnny Trigg

Today we continue the countdown of the Most Influential People in BBQ with the 19th Most Influential Person in BBQ. Coming in as the 19th Most Influential Person in BBQ is pitmaster of Smokin’ Triggers, Johnny Trigg.

JT

Trigg, better known as the Godfather of BBQ, is unquestionably a living legend on the competition barbecue circuit, driving thousands of miles and cooking dozens of contests each year since 1990. Trigg’s competition team, Smokin’ Triggers, comprised of Trigg and wife Trish, hold the distinct honor of being the only team to win the Jack Daniel’s World Championship BBQ Invitational in Lynchburg, TN twice, in 2000 and 2003. Trigg is also widely known as one of the best rib cooks in the history of competition barbecue.

Over the past few years Trigg has become a mainstay on barbecue related television shows including his appearance as one of the original cast members of BBQ Pitmasters in 2009. Trigg returned to an updated BBQ Pitmasters format in 2012 and was crowned BBQ Pitmasters Grand Champion. 

ST

In 2010 Trigg along with well-known pitmasters Myron Mixon, Jamie Geer, & Tuffy Stone traveled to Kuwait to feed U.S. troops serving in the Middle East. This trip has recently been turned into a documentary film, The Kings of BBQ: Barbecue Kuwait, by BBQ Pitmasters producer John Markus.

Trigg’s influence in the world of barbecue was recognized and had an exclamation point added to it in 2012 when he was inducted into the National Barbecue Hall of Fame at the 2012 American Royal. If that isn’t enough to convince you of Trigg’s influence on the world of barbecue spend a few minutes observing his cook site at a barbecue contest and you’ll see Trigg’s countless admirers seeking a picture or a few minutes to chat with one of BBQ’s living legends. 

On December 14th we’ll unveil the 18th Most Influential Person in BBQ. We’ll unveil a new member of our Most Influential Person in BBQ List each day through the end of the year and we’ll crown The Most Influential Person in BBQ on Tuesday, December 31st.

To date we’ve announced the 20th through 25th Most Influential People in BBQ.

20th – Danielle Dimovski, BBQ Crawl & Diva Q

21st – Bill Arnold, Blues Hog Barbecue Company

22nd – Competition BBQ Judge

23rd – Melissa Cookston, Memphis Barbecue Co. & Yazoo’s Delta Q

24th – Adam Perry Lang, Daisy May’s BBQ, Barbecoa & Cookbook Author

25th – Ronnie Cates, Smoke on the Water Productions

Will you make the list? Will someone you find deserving fall short of the top 25? Will you disagree with someone listed in the top 25? Check the Pork Barrel BBQ Blog daily now through December 31 and contribute to the discussion by adding comments to each days post!

Who is the most Influential Person in BBQ? Find out on December 31, 2013 when we reveal the Most Influential Person in BBQ.

 

The 25 Most Influential People in BBQ – Number 20: Danielle Dimovski (Diva Q)

Today we continue the countdown of the Most Influential People in BBQ with the 20th Most Influential Person in BBQ. Coming in as the 20th Most Influential Person in BBQ is the host of BBQ Crawl and pitmaster for Diva Q, Danielle Dimovski.

World Bacon Champion - Diva Q - 2

If passion for barbecue alone determined influence we can only think of one person that would challenge Dimovski for most influential, and that person would be Famous Dave Anderson. If you’ve ever been at a competition where Dimovski, better known as Diva Q, has received a call (and it doesn’t matter if it was 10th place chicken or Grand Champion) you’ve heard that passion come out in one of her signature exuberant yells of victory (and at the rare contest where she doesn’t hear her name called you’re likely to hear those exuberant yells when one of her many barbecue buddies receives a call).

Dimovski’s influence on BBQ originates from multiple sources including her success on the competition circuit, reputation as the top pitmaster in Canada, frequent domination of side dish and dessert categories, hosting of the very popular television show BBQ Crawl, and eagerness to share her love of barbecue with aspiring pitmasters through her popular Diva Q Competition Cooking Classes.

BBQ Crawl

Dimovski’s hit series, BBQ Crawl (seen in both Canada and the U.S.), is a sort of travel almanac of the barbecue addicted hosts travels to barbecue joints and contests across America. According to her website, Dimovski loves eating barbecue and, “It doesn’t matter if it’s a one man shack serving chicken over a hot charcoal filled barrel on the side of the road or a high end BBQ joint serving Q off the latest in BBQ technology. She wants it all and she wants to know the stories behind those BBQ folks.” Her travels and visits to both well-known and recently established barbecue joints is influencing the dinning destinations of barbecue lovers throughout North America. In 2013 Diva Q continued to grow her brand and influence on television as one of the rotating judges on BBQ Pitmasters.

In addition to being the 2011 Jack Daniels World Pork Champion, Dimovski took home one of the most unique and coveted titles in the bacon crazed world in 2013 when she was named the World Bacon Champion at the Roc City Rib Fest.

Dimovski’s love of BBQ and aspiration to share that love with anyone who will listen is a certain recipe for her to continue to be one of the most important influencers in the world of barbecue for years to come.

On December 13th we’ll unveil the 19th Most Influential Person in BBQ. We’ll unveil a new member of our Most Influential Person in BBQ List each day through the end of the year and we’ll crown The Most Influential Person in BBQ on Tuesday, December 31st.

To date we’ve announced the 21st through 25th Most Influential People in BBQ.

21st – Bill Arnold, Blues Hog Barbecue Company

22nd – Competition BBQ Judge

23rd – Melissa Cookston, Memphis Barbecue Co. & Yazoo’s Delta Q

24th – Adam Perry Lang, Daisy May’s BBQ, Barbecoa & Cookbook Author

25th – Ronnie Cates, Smoke on the Water Productions

Will you make the list? Will someone you find deserving fall short of the top 25? Will you disagree with someone listed in the top 25? Check the Pork Barrel BBQ Blog daily now through December 31 and contribute to the discussion by adding comments to each days post!

Who is the most Influential Person in BBQ? Find out on December 31, 2013 when we reveal the Most Influential Person in BBQ.

 

The 25 Most Influential People in BBQ – Number 21: Bill Arnold

Today we continue the countdown of the Most Influential People in BBQ with the 21st most influential person in BBQ. Coming in as the 21st Most Influential Person in BBQ is owner of Blues Hog Barbecue Company, Bill Arnold. 

Bill Arnold

The name Bill Arnold might not be a household name in America, but ask any competition barbecue cook about Arnold and they will either know him by name or through the reputation of his Blues Hog Barbecue brand. You’d be hard pressed to find a person who has competed in a professional barbecue contest that hasn’t included at least one of Arnold’s Blues Hog Barbecue Sauces in their competition arsenal. Blues Hog Barbecue Sauces have become one of the most dominate products in the world of competition barbecue winning hundreds of pitmasters thousands of awards from coast to coast by providing them with one of the winningest flavor profiles on the circuit today.

Blues Hog

Arnold’s influence on barbecue can also be felt on the grocery shelves across America and in many locations throughout the world as his Blues Hog Barbecue Sauces have become one of the most successful BBQ Sauces in America.

In addition to being an influential force in the world of competition barbecue, Arnold and his Blues Hog BBQ Team are a force in their community raising thousands of dollars and donating hundreds of hours to worthwhile charities like the United Way, the American Cancer Society and the Make a Wish Foundation.

It is unlikely that Arnold’s influence will diminish anytime soon with the number of established and up and coming competition barbecue teams using his line of award winning sauces.

On December 12th we’ll unveil the 20th Most Influential Person in BBQ. We’ll unveil a new member of our Most Influential Person in BBQ List each day through the end of the year and we’ll crown The Most Influential Person in BBQ on Tuesday, December 31st.

To date we’ve announced the 22nd through 25th Most Influential People in BBQ.

22nd – Competition BBQ Judges

23rd – Melissa Cookston, Memphis Barbecue Co. & Yazoo’s Delta Q

24th – Adam Perry Lang, Daisy May’s BBQ, Barbecoa & Cookbook Author

25th – Ronnie Cates, Smoke on the Water Productions

Will you make the list? Will someone you find deserving fall short of the top 25? Will you disagree with someone listed in the top 25? Check the Pork Barrel BBQ Blog daily now through December 31 and contribute to the discussion by adding comments to each days post!

Who is the most Influential Person in BBQ? Find out on December 31, 2013 when we reveal the Most Influential Person in BBQ.

 

The 25 Most Influential People in BBQ – Number 22: Competition BBQ Judges

Today we continue the countdown of the Most Influential People in BBQ with the 22nd Most Influential Person in BBQ. Coming in as the 22nd Most Influential Person in BBQ is the Competition BBQ Judge.

BBQ

Like it or not, an army of barbecue judges stretching from coast to coast, virtually every weekend throughout the year, wield more influence over the world of competition barbecue and impact thousands of pitmasters more than anyone else. If it weren’t for the dedicated volunteers who call themselves Certified BBQ Judges that give their time each weekend for their love of barbecue and a cooler full of leftovers there couldn’t be the sport we love. 

Their influence doesn’t equate to that of a celebrity or product inventor, but for two hours on any given Saturday or Sunday their influence is all that matters as pitmasters put their efforts of the past 24 hours in the hands of 6 individuals – the BBQ Judges. Their influence, also unlike that of a celebrity or product inventor, has the unique quality of being everlasting. As the influence of yesterday’s celebrity or new product inventor wanes their influence of contests past remains on the trophy shelves of the few lucky enough to impress them at a given contest and lingers like an early morning fog at the contests yet to come.

The BBQ Judge, as long as there are BBQ competitions, will wield the most influence in BBQ on Saturday’s and Sunday’s at venues across America. The scores they hand out will influence the cooking styles, cooking gear and flavor profiles of countless pitmasters looking to thrill their tastebuds.

On December 11th we’ll unveil the 21st Most Influential Person in BBQ. We’ll unveil a new member of our Most Influential Person in BBQ List each day through the end of the year and we’ll crown The Most Influential Person in BBQ on Tuesday, December 31st.

To date we’ve announced the 23rd through 25th Most Influential People in BBQ.

23rd – Melissa Cookston, Memphis Barbecue Co. & Yazoo’s Delta Q

24th – Adam Perry Lang, Daisy May’s BBQ, Barbecoa & Cookbook Author

25th – Ronnie Cates, Smoke on the Water Productions

Will you make the list? Will someone you find deserving fall short of the top 25? Will you disagree with someone listed in the top 25? Check the Pork Barrel BBQ Blog daily now through December 31 and contribute to the discussion by adding comments to each days post!

Who is the most Influential Person in BBQ? Find out on December 31, 2013 when we reveal the Most Influential Person in BBQ.

 

The 25 Most Influential People in BBQ – Number 23: Melissa Cookston

Today we continue the countdown of the Most Influential People in BBQ with the 23rd most influential person in BBQ. Coming in as the 23rd Most Influential Person in BBQ is Memphis Barbecue Company Owner and Pitmaster of Yazoo’s Delta Q, Melissa Cookston. 

Melissa Cookston & Trophies

When it comes to cooking whole hog, there is no better whole hog cook on planet Earth than Melissa Cookston. Cookston and her Yazoo’s Delta Q team won the Memphis in May Whole Hog Championship in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and is the only female that can lay claim to being a Memphis in May World BBQ Champion, winning the title in 2010 and 2012. In 2012, Cookston & Yzoo’s Delta Q won the inaugural Kingsford Invitational

Memphis BBQ Co Pig

In 2011 Cookston joined forces with John Wheeler of Natural Born Grillers and opened Memphis Barbecue Company in Horn Lake, MS. Memphis Barbecue Company is the only restaurant in America operated by two Memphis in May World Champion Pitmasters. From firsthand experience we can confirm that the food coming out of Memphis Barbecue Company is top notch, especially the ribs!

In recent years Cookston & competition partner and husband, Pete Cookston, have cut back on the number of contests they are cooking because increased demands are pulling them in so many directions with the opening of restaurants, writing a cookbook and an increased presence on TV. In 2013 Cookston served as one of the rotating judges on BBQ Pitmasters. Rumor has it that in 2014 she’ll shed the duties of rotating judge and join Myron Mixon and Tuffy Stone as the third permanent judge on the show.

Cookston continues to climb the charts as one of the most influential people in the world of BBQ from multiple angles.  As one of BBQ’s most influential women her influence on the growing number of females participating in the world of competition barbecue and firing up grills in America’s backyards can’t be underestimated. But her influence goes well beyond being one of the most influential women in BBQ. She has been as successful as anyone participating in Memphis style contests in the history of the sport, is proving to be a force in the world of BBQ restaurants and continues to grow here presence and influence in the expanding world of barbecue on television.

Check out Cookston’s recent interview with Bon Appetite Magazine for some great insight on her thoughts on barbecue.

On December 10th we’ll unveil the 22rd Most Influential Person in BBQ. We’ll unveil a new member of our Most Influential Person in BBQ List each day through the end of the year and we’ll crown The Most Influential Person in BBQ on Tuesday, December 31st.

To date we’ve announced the 24th and 25th Most Influential People in BBQ.

24th – Adam Perry Lang, Daisy May’s BBQ, Barbecoa & Cookbook Author

25th – Ronnie Cates, Smoke on the Water Productions

Will you make the list? Will someone you find deserving fall short of the top 25? Will you disagree with someone listed in the top 25? Check the Pork Barrel BBQ Blog daily now through December 31 and contribute to the discussion by adding comments to each days post!

Who is the most Influential Person in BBQ? Find out on December 31, 2013 when we reveal the Most Influential Person in BBQ.

 

The 25 Most Influential People in BBQ – Number 25: Ronnie Cates

Today we begin the countdown of the Most Influential People in BBQ with the 25th Most Influential Person in BBQ. Coming in as the 25th Most Influential Person in BBQ is Smoke on the Water Productions President & CEO, Ronnie Cates.

DSC_0736 (1024x685)

There can be little argument that the rapid growth of competition barbecue is in large part due to the increased number of competitions popping up throughout the country and the increasing value of the prize purses being offered. No one in the world of barbecue has contributed more to the increase in prize money than Ronnie Cates. His Smoke on the Water Productions is known throughout the sport for promoting premier contests with some of the richest prize purses year after year.

In 2013 Cates’s Smoke on the Water Productions hosted 6 high dollar contests from coast to coast that saw the biggest names in competition barbecue drive hundreds if not thousands of miles for a shot at a life changing payday. These contests included the East Coast’s largest payout at the inaugural Do AC Smokin’ Hot Atlantic City BBQ Championship and the West Coast’s largest payout at the USA Barbecue Championship in Laughlin, NV.

Smoke on the Water

On his Smoke on the Water Productions website Cates says, “It used to be a handful of contests giving away ribbons and a little bit of prize money. We came in and created events for the true professional to compete against the world’s top teams and increased prize money ten fold. Winning one of our events, especially the prestigious USA Barbecue Championship, now guarantees endorsement opportunities and the notoriety that goes with being the world’s best.”

In addition to attracting the best competition barbecue has to offer, Cates’s events are attracting major sponsors and venues to host them which means more money is coming into the sport of professional barbecue and more of that money is trickling down to teams. It’s possible for Cate’s to attract sponsors and prestigious venues because of the festival atmosphere he creates to attract the general public to grilling demonstrations, celebrity cook-off’s, product sampling, live music, food vendors, and much more.

Ronnie Cates is a major influencer in the world of BBQ today and with a goal to host the world’s first million dollar barbecue contest is likely to continue his influence on the world of competition barbecue for years to come.

On December 8th we’ll unveil the 24th Most Influential Person in BBQ. Each day now through December 31st we’ll reveal a new person on our list of the 25 Most Influential People in BBQ until we get to Number 1.

Will you make the list? Will someone you find deserving fall short of the top 25? Will you disagree with someone listed in the top 25? Check the Pork Barrel BBQ Blog daily now through December 31  and contribute to the discussion by adding comments to each days post!

Who is the most Influential Person in BBQ? Find out on December 31, 2013 when we reveal the Most Influential Person in BBQ.