The American Royal Association is pleased to announce the 2017 class of inductees to the Barbecue Hall of Fame: Jeff Stehney, “Famous Dave” Anderson, and Melissa Cookston. The formal induction ceremony will take place during the American Royal World Series of Barbecue at the Kansas Speedway over Labor Day weekend.

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.

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

Jeff Stehney
Jeff Stehney is the president and co-founder of Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que. Jeff first began competing in barbecue contests with his wife, Joy in 1990. In the years since, the Stehneys’ team, Slaughterhouse Five has won more than thirty Grand and Reserve Grand Championships in contests sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS); including the American Royal Invitational and Open. In 1993, Slaughterhouse Five won the KCBS Team of The Year. Jeff Stehney is one of an elite few who have won Grand Championships in each of the last three decades; starting in 1992 and including 2017.

Jeff & Joy opened their first restaurant in 1996, in the gas station at the corner of 47th & Mission Road, in Kansas City, Kansas. They’ve since opened two additional restaurants. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que has earned countless accolades and national press coverage over the past two decades. It’s also earned the loyalty and affection of its customers. Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que has become a beloved icon in Kansas City, the Barbecue Capital of The World.

“Famous Dave” Anderson
Dave Anderson has dedicated his life to making the best barbecue in America. In 1994 he opened The Original Famous Dave’s located on the shores of Big Round Lake in Hayward, WI. By the end of that first summer Dave was serving as many as 6000 people a day in a town of only 2000 people. Dave opened his second restaurant in Minneapolis and was quickly recognized as “One of the Hottest Concepts in America Award” by The National Restaurant Association in 2002 and most recently “America’s Best Loved BBQ Joint” (Nation’s Restaurant News March 2013). Since then, Famous Dave’s has grown to over 180 restaurants nationwide and over $500 Million in sales allowing Dave to share his love for ribs with all of America while creating over 20,000 jobs. Today, Famous Dave’s is now an international company with locations in Winnipeg, Canada, Puerto Rico, and most recently the United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi.

Dave is one of the most award-winning BBQ Grillmasters around, selling over 16 million pounds of ribs a year, and has become known as “America’s Rib King!” Dave's barbecue is highly regarded as the best in America winning over 780 Best of Class Awards, Blue Ribbons, People’s Choice, Critic’s Choice and First Place awards including: Best Ribs in America, Best BBQ Sauce in America, Best BBQ Restaurant in America, Best Cornbread, Best Chicken...etc, etc.

Dave continues to develop new and amazing rib recipes and tasty new barbecue sauces, which are featured in two award winning cookbooks Rib-O-Licious and Famous Dave’s Barbecue Party Cookbook. Both books won “Best Barbecue/Grill Cookbooks in America by the National Barbecue Association”. The sale of the these books has generated over $1M in profit which Dave and his wife Kathy have generously donated to the LifeSkills and CareerSkills work they do with at-risk Native Youth.

Melissa Cookston
Known as the Winningest Woman in Barbecue, Melissa Cookston is a 7-time world barbecue champion; owner of restaurants Steak by Melissa in Southaven, Mississippi and Memphis BBQ Company, a successful barbecue restaurant with locations in Horn Lake, Mississippi; Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Dunwoody, Georgia; an author of two cookbooks, Smokin in the Boy’s Room and Smokin’ Hot in the South; and a celebrated southern Delta chef who is an Ambassador for Smithfield.

Recognized nationally from many appearances on national news and talk shows as well as cooking shows and Food Network, Cookston served as a judge on season 4 of Destination America’s “BBQ Pitmasters,” and was named one of America’s most influential BBQ Pitmasters and personalities by Fox News in 2015. 

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Source: Barbecue Hall of Fame