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Today we continue the countdown to the Most Influential Person in BBQ with the 2nd most influential person in BBQ. Coming in as the 2nd Most Influential Person in BBQ is Food Network personality, restaurateur and cookbook author, Bobby Flay


The growth in the notion of food as more than just sustenance into something more akin to hobby, art, love and entertainment can be traced back to the likes of Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, and Justin Wilson to name a few. These early pioneers taught us that something so seemingly exotic and foreign as French or Cajun cooking is within our grasp and could be prepared in our home kitchens as simply as it can be prepared in a professional kitchen at a Michelin Star restaurant in Manhattan if you just follow a few easy steps. They made cooking fun and made it more accessible to home cooks which in turn moved food away from the simple notion of sustenance and helped to create the current foodie world we live in.

Bobby Flay is to BBQ as Child or Pepin were to French food or Wilson to Cajun food. No one in the world of barbecue is more recognizable or well known across the board, from championship pitmaster to backyard BBQ’er to mom’s and dad’s buying grocery’s for the week, as Bobby Flay. Flay is a critically-acclaimed chef and restaurateur and award-winning cookbook author, but more important to his influence is his presence as a television personality and celebrity chef. Flay’s accolades range from having his Mesa Grill restaurant named Best Restaurant by New York Magazine to being named the James Beard Foundation’s Rising Star Chef of the Year.


Flay’s influence in BBQ began to grow in 1995 when he joined the fledgling Food Network and teamed up with Philadelphia chef Jack McDavid for the show Grillin & Chillin which cast Flay as the city slicker who only used gas and McDavid as the country boy who only used charcoal and wood. Over the course of the next 19 years Flay would mold himself into a well diversified BBQer and enter the homes of millions of food lovers and BBQer’s across American and the globe with barbecue themed shows including Hot Off the Grill with Bobby Flay, BBQ with Bobby Flay, Boy Meets Grill with Bobby Flay, Grill It! with Bobby Flay, Throwdown with Bobby Flay, and Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction. Flay’s reach to cooks and pitmasters of varying degrees of skill is far greater than anyone else in the world of BBQ and his love and passion for live fire cooking inspires thousands of people each year to take the leap into live fire cooking. 

FlayFlay’s influence on the world of BBQ can also be felt at the bookstore where his cookbooks continue to be among the best selling barbecue themed cookbooks every written. Among his list of cookbooks are the barbecue themed Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addition from this year and Bobby Flay’s Grill It, Bobby Flay’S Boy Meets Grill, Bobby Flay’s Boy Gets Grill, and Bobby Flay’s Grilling For Life. As long as Flay remains at the Food Network, foods biggest platform, and continues to promote his love of BBQ through television and books Flay will remain one of the major influences in food in general and BBQ more specifically.


On December 31st we’ll unveil the 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 3rd through the 25th Most Influential People in BBQ.

3rd – John Markus, TV Producer 

4th – Dave Anderson, Famous Dave’s & Cookbook Author

5th – Myron Mixon, Jack’s Old South & BBQ Pitmasters

6th – Carolyn Wells, KCBS

7th – Tuffy Stone, Q Barbeque, Cool Smoke & BBQ Pitmasters

8th – Competition BBQ Pitmaster

9th – Mike Mills, 17th Street Bar & Grill & Apple City BBQ

10th – Stan Hays, Operation BBQ Relief

11th – Steven Raichlen, Cookbook Author & TV Host

12th – Jamie Geer, Jambo Pits

13th – Dave Raymond, Sweet Baby Ray’s

14th – Aaron Franklin, Franklin BBQ

15th – Chris Lilly, Big Bob Gibson 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.