Congratulations to the 2016 Barbecue Hall of Fame Inductees
The 2016 Barbecue Hall of Fame Inductees have some special ties to us!Sizzle & Smoke
By R. Kell Phelps
Back in 2012, the Barbecue Hall of Fame started with a bang and has not looked back since. The whole "regions of barbecue" discussion stalled this from happening in the late 1990's when another group had looked into what a true BBQ hall of fame would look like. Naturally, after a good bit of push back from other BBQ regional areas, they folded their cards. I personally always knew it would happen eventually, and I had no preference where it was located. I simply just thought it should be in a "BBQ town" somewhere in the United States of America.
Do you know "that group" that everyone seems to look up to, but at the same time no one really knows anyone in "that group?" Well, one thing is for sure…"that group" doesn't have that problem in the barbecue world that I know. I am privileged to personally know almost every single Hall of Famer who has been inducted so far, and severval are heroes to me and my family. When they released the list of inductees for 2016, my face lit up like a Christmas tree because I am not aware of any more deserving men in the BBQ world today. I am also very pleased that I get to work around and with these gentlemen almost on a monthly basis.
I met Mr. David at my very first trip to Memphis in May in 2001 as the new publisher of the National Barbecue News. I am betting he may not remember it because it was just a casual meeting, but to me he was the Ole Hickory Pits president and owner. He simply smiled, shook my hand, and told me, "I've heard some pretty good things about you. I am looking forward to working with you in the near future." Needless to say, I was already a nervous wreck from being around several other Hall of Famers like Mike Mills, Myron Mixon, Ray Lampe, and new inductee Chris Lilly. I just wasn't sure how they would accept the second generation newspaper boy from South Georgia, but thinking back, I had no one who looked at me that way. Mr. David…as I will always call him…simply made me feel as though I belonged, and I will never forget that meeting.
His company is a leading manufacturer of commercial barbecue smoker ovens sold worldwide. With experience earned from his early days in the family restaurant and knowledge gained from pit design, David uses his skills to help restaurateurs and competitors stay on the cutting edge of the industry. Knight is also active in the competitive circuit, both as a judge and with his support of teams. His unique blend of barbecue and business experience provides perspective of the industry, which he shares in trade journal articles and industry seminars.
Ardie Davis is what my dad called a "Barbecue Character." I heard a pile of stories about "Remus Powers" way before I even heard of Ardie Davis, as Doc Gillis and my dad were always looking forward to running into this fellow that was bigger than life itself. The most memorable story of all is when the three of them joined Willie Nelson for a quick interview on Willie's bus after a huge Ribfest. I will not spoil it, but from all reports, Willie learned a thing or two about smokin' that night!
Ardie is also a monthly contributor to the National Barbecue News and has been since the early days. I am beyond honored to call him a friend and barbecue companion. There is no doubt that barbecue would not be where it is today without his expert advice and opinions.
Ardie, aka Remus Powers, Ph.B., is founder of the American Royal Barbecue Sauce Contest, which is in its 29th year and is the largest sauce contest in the world. He is a charter member of the KCBS, instrumental in the development of the Certified Barbecue Judge curriculum, and author of the oath that each judge still recites before judging a contest. All in the name of BBQ, Ardie is the author of numerous books, writes freelance for the Kansas City Star, the BullSheet, National Barbecue News, and has been interviewed twice by the History Channel due to his knowledge of barbecue. Ardie's involvement in the BBQ community has earned him nine separate nominations for this year's Barbecue Hall of Fame, more than twice as many as any other candidate.
I first met Chris when he was working with my brother on a set of videos called "How to Barbecue." The four set video series showed Chris doing his techniques on three of them. Since those days, Chris has written history as a pitmaster, TV personality, and even product spokesperson. His intense passion and focus for turning in the perfect product are something that I have seen no one match while watching competition turn ins being prepped.
Chris Lilly's influence spans many facets of BBQ, including competition, restaurants, cookbooks, television, product spokesman and retail products. Lilly is a three-time Memphis in May Grand Champion, Grand Champion of the American Royal Invitational, Reserve Grand Champion of the Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue, and winner of the inaugural King of the Smoker Invitational. In addition, there has been no Pitmaster with more success in the pork category at Memphis in May, bringing home seven wins.
My hat is off to all three of you guys! We are looking forward to hearing more about your induction coming up in Kansas City in October. Thanks again for all the memories you have helped us make over the years. We can't wait to see what you guys come up with next in your historic BBQ careers.
Until Next Month…Keep It Smokin'!