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