American Royal announces its 2023 inductees for the Barbecue Hall of Fame

World Series Bbq

535 teams from around the world gather at the Kansas Speedway for the American Royal World Series of Barbecue // Photo Courtesy of the American Royal

American Royal has revealed the 2023 Hall of Fame honorees. Among these are four inductees and three legacy inductees. 

Byron Chism is best known for his legendary Butt Rub, which launched him into a long and exciting 25-year career in the barbecue industry. He started cooking barbecue in college and later attended the Culinary Institute of America. Among his many honors, Chism was named one of the top ten Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) cooks for seven consecutive years (2000-2007).

Flora Payne has been running Payne’s Barbecue in Memphis, alongside her children, since her husband’s death in 1984. Over the past 37 years, Payne and her children have gained national acclaim as one of the great American barbecue restaurants, with their staple menu item, chopped pork barbecue sandwiches.

Dave Raymond, aka Sweet Baby Ray, is a lifelong Chicago resident with over 29 years of experience in the barbecue industry. In 1982, Dave and his lifelong friend Mike O’Brien built Sweet Baby Ray’s, which is now the best-selling barbecue sauce in the country. Now a multifaceted business operation, Sweet Baby Ray’s boasts two restaurants and two premier catering companies. Dave is also a member of the competition team, Duce’s Wild, which has won over 40 awards since it began competing.

Darren Warth has become one of the circuit’s most decorated pitmasters since his barbecue competition debut in 2003. In 2006, Warth and his wife, Sherry, founded Smokey D’s BBQ catering company. Warth has received over 90 State BBQ Championships, and over 1,000 local, regional, and national barbecue awards with multiple notable victories, and has centered his success around consistency, quality, and affordability, making them central Iowa’s destination for championship barbecue.

Bill Arnold, the man behind Blues Hog Barbecue Sauce, discovered his passion for cooking at an early age while watching locals make “squirrel stew” near his grandmother’s home in Memphis, Tennessee. Arnold’s journey in barbecue was full of memorable moments, from late-night hog cookouts to impromptu fiddle music sessions. Despite his passing in 2021, Bill’s legacy lives on as the sauce created in his garage continues to delight barbecue enthusiasts worldwide.

Columbus B. Hill was a well-known barbecue man in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when he supervised some of the largest barbecues in Colorado history. Hill was recognized for his barbecue skills and officiated at numerous barbecues. Despite limited recognition beyond his immediate colored community, Hill and other African American pitmasters served as barbecue ambassadors, maintaining barbecue culture in the South and spreading it to other parts of the country.

Rick Schmidt served as owner of Kreuz Market, a barbecue establishment in Texas, passed to him as a family tradition. Known for his commitment to quality, Schmidt popularized Kreuz Market with their signature beef sausage, pork chops, beef shoulder clod, and ubiquitous brisket. In 2017, he passed the business to his son, who made some additions while honoring his father’s legacy, and in 2019 Schmidt passed away at the age of 73.

The inductees will be honored during the 43rd American Royal World Series of Barbecue planned for September 27–October 1, 2023. For more information on the American Royal Barbecue Hall of Fame, you can visit their website.

Categories: Food & Drink