Alabama Barbecue Legend Honored: Big Bob Gibson to Join Barbecue Hall of Fame


The American Royal Barbecue Hall of Fame will induct the late Robert “Big Bob” Gibson, an Alabama barbecue legend, of Decatur’s Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q later this year.

The Barbecue Hall of Fame’s Class of 2024 includes Gibson, who is credited with the invention of Alabama white barbecue sauce, as well as two other posthumous inductees and four surviving inductees.

Today, the American Royal Barbecue Hall of Fame issued a press release announcing the inductees for the current year. Chris Lilly, the pitmaster of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, is a member of the American Royal Barbecue Hall of Fame. He is married to Bob Gibson’s great-granddaughter and has won multiple Memphis in May global championships. Lilly was inducted in 2016.

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Lilly expressed his pride in the Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q family’s ability to celebrate with his great-grandfather-in-law in the barbecue hall this afternoon, as reported by Lilly stated, “This is particularly significant not only for the city of Decatur but also for myself and my family.” “Big Bob Gibson’s (restaurant) has been a source of great significance to the Alabama barbecue community and to the individuals who have grown up in this area.”

“When he began in 1925, he had a significant impact on not only his family — all five of his children entered the barbecue business — but also on countless individuals who have worked in the pit rooms at Big Bob Gibson’s and subsequently established their businesses, thereby maintaining the traditions that Big Bob Gibson established in Alabama,” Lilly continued.

Big Bob Gibson’s pit room is the source of many of the unique characteristics that define Alabama barbecue.

The Hall of Fame inducted the late John “Big Daddy” Bishop of Dreamland Bar-B-Que in Tuscaloosa in 2019, and in 2021, South Carolina native Rodney Scott, who operates two Rodney Scott’s BBQ locations in the Birmingham metro area, joined the Hall of Fame.

The 44th American Royal World Series of Barbecue, which will be held in Kansas City, Kansas from October 30 to November 3, will honor the 2024 inductees. In addition to Gibson, the Barbecue Hall of Fame’s Class of 2024 includes the late Matt Garner of Houston and the late Jose “Joe” Romero of Los Angeles as legacy inductees.

Danielle Bennett of Auburndale, Fla.; Rick Browne of Portland, Ore.; Steve Grady of Dudley, N.C.; and Ed Maurin of Kansas City, Mo. comprise the four living inductees.

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One of the ten finalists for induction into the Class of 2024 was Van Sykes, the longtime proprietor and pitmaster of Bob Sykes Bar-B-Q in Bessemer. The finalists were disclosed on May 8. Jackie McClaskey, president and CEO of the American Royal Association, stated in a media release that the Induction into the Barbecue Hall of Fame is a prestigious honor for these individuals.

“Barbecue is a sport for a significant number of individuals.” These barbecue enthusiasts, restaurant owners, and pitmasters are talented, creative individuals who have dedicated their careers or lives to serving the barbecue industry. They possess a unique devotion to their “sport.”

The American Royal Barbecue Hall of Fame is a national organization that is committed to the recognition, documentation, and preservation of the barbecue heritage.

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