Before the Chicago native quit the family trucking business to become a full-time pit master, Ray Lampe spent 15 years testing different barbecue cooking styles, participating in competitions and shifting his growing interest in barbecue from a serious hobby into a career.

 

Only then did he buy a van to haul his smokers and emblazon a license plate with “Dr. BBQ.” Today, Lampe is one of the most recognizable professional pitmasters in the world. He's got Justin Timberlake, Guy Fieri and Myron Mixon on speed dial, and he's written the book on barbecue. Nine of them to be exact. Inducted into the BBQ Hall of Fame in 2014, he's routinely seen as a judge on shows like Chopped, World Food Championships and American Grilled. Soon, he’ll be stoking the fire on a new endeavor: restauranteur. With partners Suzanne and Roger Perry, Ray will bring a new breed of vibrant, dynamic, even progressive, smoke-basted meat to Dr. BBQs in St. Petersburg's Edge District in 2017.

11  facts about Ray's adventures

  • He's an expert Judge on the Travel Channel's "American Grilled"
  • He's an expert judge at the "World Food Championships" in Las Vegas
  • He’s a contestant on the Food Network Special “Chopped Grillmasters”
  • He’s featured on the Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate”
  • He’s an expert judge on the Food Networks “Tailgate Warriors with Guy Fieri”
  • He travels the country as the Spokeschef for The Big Green Egg grill and smoker
  • He’s  a spokesman for The National Pork Board
  • He's an expert judge at the "Best of the West Rib Cookoff" in Reno
  • He’s a featured chef on “Fishing the Flats” on Fox Sports Network
  • He served as Executive Chef at Southern Hospitality BBQ in NY
  • He’s cooked in over 300 BBQ contests and won over 300 awards

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