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From L: Paul Kirk, Ed Fisher and Steven Raichlen.

American Royal’s Inductees for Barbecue Hall of Fame

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The American Royal Association today announced the 2015 class of inductees to the Barbecue Hall of Fame: Ed Fisher, Paul Kirk and Steven Raichlen. The formal induction ceremony will take place on the main stage of the American Royal World Series of Barbecue event at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday, October 3 at 7pm.

Each year, three individuals are awarded the prestigious honor and are recognized by the Barbecue Hall of Fame for their significant contributions to the barbecue community and demonstration of achievement in barbecue excellence in one of three categories: Pitmaster, Business/Industry and Celebrity/Humanitarian.

This year, the Barbecue Hall of Fame will welcome the following three inductees:

Business/Industry Category: Ed Fisher
Ed Fisher was one of the first people in the United States to catch on to the fun and flavor of kamado cooking. After eating a meal prepared in a kamado grill in the early 1970s, Ed declared it the “best food he had ever eaten.” Making it his mission to get these cookers into backyards everywhere, he began importing rudimentary clay kamados from Asia and selling them out of an Atlanta storefront in 1974.

These early models, made of the same design that had been used for thousands of years, produced great results and began to attract a following. Ed made a decision to refine the quality and create the very best outdoor cooker, period. While the overall shape and heat retention properties of the kamado were part of his equation, the objective was to move far beyond the inferior fire clay and produce the most technically advanced, highest quality ceramic cooking device ever hatched.

While working on a strategy to generate awareness of this revolutionary new invention, Ed would often comment how much the product resembled an oversized egg. He decided to make the egg-shaped cooker fun and distinctive by coloring it green, and the Big Green Egg was born.

Forty years ago, Ed Fisher envisioned a new category of outdoor cookers and has worked tirelessly to nurture this design into one of the world’s most iconic and beloved brands, the Big Green Egg. His vision and dedication has been instrumental in the creation of an outdoor cooking category and in the promotion of the barbecue industry as a whole.

Pitmaster Category: Paul Kirk
Paul Kirk, known in many circles as the Kansas City Baron of Barbecue, has won more than 475 cooking and barbecue awards, including seven World Championships. His storied barbecue career is highlighted by his victory at the American Royal World Series of Barbecue Invitational Contest in 1991.

Author of seven barbecue books, Paul has also directed the Baron’s School of Pitmasters for 12 years. He is a founding member of the Kansas City Barbeque Society and served 25 years on the Board of Directors. He has also trained barbecue restaurant staffs across the United States and conducted seminars at national conventions for the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). In 1998 and 2000, he was a member of The Julia Child BBQ Team of Ten at the IACP conventions, raising funds for the Julia Child Endowment Foundation.

He writes monthly columns for the Kansas City Bullsheet, the National Barbecue News, and the Goat Gap Gazette. He has appeared on the “Today Show,” Discovery Channel, “CBS This Morning,” “Talk Soup,” and Anthony Bourdain’s “In Search of the Perfect Meal.” He has been featured in the AARP’s Modern Maturity magazine, Saveur and the Calgary Herald.

Kirk has taken his barbecue knowledge on the road across the United States and abroad to countries including South Korea, Ireland, Canada and Switzerland.

Celebrity/Humanitarian Category: Steven Raichlen
Steven Raichlen is a world-renowned author, journalist, television host, lecturer and novelist. He wrote the award-winning international blockbusters “The Barbecue Bible,” “How To Grill” and “Planet Barbecue” (Workman Publishing). His 30 books (two of them million + bestsellers) and public television shows – “Primal Grill,” “Barbecue University” and the new “Project Smoke” –  have redefined modern American barbecue. He also hosts two French language barbecue shows – “Le Maitre du Grill” and “La Tag Barbecue.” Steven’s books have won five James Beard Awards and three IACP – Julia Child Awards and have been translated into 17 languages.

Steven has competed against – and defeated – an Iron Chef on Japanese television. He has lectured on the history of barbecue at the Smithsonian Institution and Harvard University, and he founded “Barbecue University” at The Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs. He has written for The New York Times, Esquire, GQ and all the major food magazines. Steven holds a degree in French literature from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and studied medieval cooking in Europe on a Thomas J. Watson Foundation Fellowship.

The American Royal officially became the home of the Barbecue Hall of Fame in 2012. Previous inductees to the Barbecue Hall of Fame include recognizable and notable figures in barbecue history. Read more about these previous inductees at

The American Royal World Series of Barbecue will be at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City from October 1-4. This year promises to be another success with great food, musical entertainment, fireworks and plenty of family fun Saturday in the Kid’s Korral. To experience the world’s largest barbecue contest or to experience what Guy Fieri calls “the most outrageous, wild, fantastic, off the hook, gotta do experience in your lifetime,” visit the American Royal website.

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