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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.

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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.

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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.