Ok readers for this next contest, we’re going to make it kinda easy for you all.  You must answer in the comments section below what you think is the biggest game changer in BBQ within the last 10-20 years.

We don’t want to give examples because we want to leave it wide open.  All we ask is that you accompany your answer with your reasoning why you chose that gamechanger.  The person that gives the best answer/reasoning combo wins a BBQ Guru Party-Q unit for their pit.  The package will include one Party-Q unit, one 10 CFM Fan** and the mount to fit your smoker(if available).  This contest ends on 3/11 and the winner will be announced live on the “In the Hut” podcast on 3/14. To view our livestream on that date please click HERE. CONTEST STARTS NOW!!!

**The Party-Q unit comes with a built-in 5cfm fan.

  • Anonymous

    I would say it would be the smaller teams that might only go to 1 or 2 events a year that can win events.  Like the microbreweries that do quite well nowadays.

  • Ibqninfo

    Blues Hog – because it is an excellent sauce that the majority of people like.

    Rich Parker

  • Brisket Grease

    The internet has got to be the biggest game changer in BBQ cooking. I can find recipes and in depth info on how to grill/smoke anything I want to. 20 years ago, what would have took several weekends and lots of trial and error to figure out now only takes 5 minutes of web searching on sites like Huck’s Hut.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6VCFRFJSTVZTQAGGXEBAJGKPVY Wesley Gustin

    I would have to say The cookers…. Green Egg and WSM’s etc.. Fantastic indirect heat grills. When i first started 22yrs ago a person had to be an apprentice to a “pitmaster” for several yrs learn the art of controlling a fire .. cooking on open pits on the ground, in a firebox, hut pits in extreme conditions.. making their own coals from wood and no use of commercial charcoal…  no digital thermometer’s.. and after you learned this only a Pitmaster could determined whether or not you have graduated to the title Pitmaster… nowadays just buy a WSM and enter a contest and you can call yourself one.  We did a experiment.. Got A 14 yr old boy gave him a WSM and he started the fire and held  a constant temp of 250 for 10 hrs all by reading the directions and playing with it for a few hrs . then the following  try’s we had him try to do the same on a offset and he could not get the temp up and when he did get it hotter it was well over 300 and could not maintain a even temp…..  we then tried to get him to make his own coals and cook in a pit dug out of the ground and that went Horrible… So we called him a WSM Master But no where near a pitmaster. That is one of the things that i liked bout last season of pitmasters where Mixon made them cook a whole hog on a block pit….  so i think the modern day Cookers are most definitively the biggest game changer.  A close second would be the whole appearance judging..  i have seen where a contest came down to a final slim % point and a Cook would lose cause of his appearance score,  who cares on how well you can stack your product into a box with lettuce…  the best bbq joints in the country serve their Q on Butcher paper with a couple of slices of bread.. “blind Judging”  Should be just that…”blind”  should come down to taste.. and how well it was cooked.. if it is cooked right… it will look great!

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.k.merritt Mike Merritt

    Social Media – Facebook & Twitter, having the ability to interact with some of the biggest names in the BBQ industry which has helped me in my quest of learning to BBQ. I love it!!

  • Jason Szilli

    I would think the online resources for information and interaction of those folks sharing the same interest in barbecue. From dedicated barbecue websites, to forums and social media, and YouTube videos…it has all enhanced the popularity and enjoyment in this shared interest. While cookers and tools evolve over time, they’re still likely just an improvement on an existing product. Online applications reach a much broader audience, and can offer almost limitless discussion and learning opportunities.

  • http://www.homebbq.com/ Kevin Bevington

    Ironically, especially since they are sponsoring this contest, it has to be the BBQ Guru. They were the first thermostatically controlled forced air draft device on the market. Based on this device, and copycat(s) to follow, many cookers were designed to use them, first the Dominizers, and then Stumps, and others to follow. Fred helped change the focus of cooking BBQ from fire control, to quality control.


  • Topperpn

    I think the biggest game changers our the rubs & marinades . They give you the different taste and flavors!!

  • Anonymous

    I think that injections have had the biggest impact!

  • Big_AL

    Probably the proliferation of classes being taught by the elite teams.  Between those and the on-line resources, are there any secrets anymore?

  • http://www.facebook.com/JaimeMcGrath4 Jaime McGrath

    Pit controllers like BBQ Guru, the internet, and the ceramic smoker (though not new, it’s recent surge has changed many everyday BBQers)

  • Moxie

    Propane grills because now, no matter the weather, you can roll your grill wherever it can be covered, and no rain, snow or hail can change the cooking plan!

  • Bigpeels

    WOW, with all that is out there as far as cookers, injections, rubs, and such, I would have the say the internet is the biggest. You can find out everything about anything. There are so many sites available to ask questions, to see reviews, to see what the “next big thing” is, recipes, AND even ask questions to fellow competitors. 

  • http://www.bigwaynerbbq.com Wayne Brown

    This is an interesting question.  This is a broad answer, but I would say that technology has been the big game changer.  Thanks to technology, we have had many advances such as the following:

    - Ability to rapidly network and connect with others who share the same passion.
    - Development of tools to better allow for more efficient management/monitoring.
    - Increased amount of information (for better or worse) on tips, techniques, and recipes.

  • Chefjeff1961

    i think the addition of the many styles of smokers has changed the game.. the different styles and techniques, the simplicity of compiling a combination of all the different ideas from all of the styles of smokers and bbq ers has allowed the consumer to follow the ideas and come up with there own ideas and concepts. the big change to me though is the addition of probes, it allows anyone to know when the food is done as well as aotomatically shutting down a particular piece of meat to get the best results, no over cooking or undercooking , but more a spot on, the perfect doneness….

  • Sean shepp

    I think media coverage has been a game changer. Bringing bbq nation wide with reccipes, contests, and sales. Thus creating new pitmasters everywhere bringing new flavors to the scene.

  • Cjsorel

    The internet has made it easy to see what others do and product demos.  Not to mention you can get sauces, rubs, injections and anything a simple way now.
    This partyq is a game changer because I do not have to think about the BGE at night and work great on 5 uses so far

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=703746660 Chris Kennedy

    Insulated smokers! My original one wasn’t….my new one is. I can smoke now in the middle of winter and not have significant heat loss. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bobby-Gwiazdzinski/584730000 Bobby Gwiazdzinski

    i think the biggest game changer has been the invention of bbq blogs.  you now have the ability to talk to people in different regions of the country and mix their ideas with your ideas and come up with the ultimate bbq.

  • Howardreedjr

    The invention of self feeding smokers,I belive it took the skill level down so anyone can be a great bbq pitmaster.

  • Brian Long

    Social media has definitely changed the game in outdoor
    cooking. Ten years ago, I was given a Big Green Egg. Sure I cooked a few things
    on it and used it occasionally. However, it wasn’t until forums, blogs, and
    review sites became mainstream that I converted from an average cook to ‘the
    guy’ always being asked to cook, entertain, or supply cooking advice. Before
    the social media explosion, I had no resources whatsoever. Cooking was simply
    trial and error. Now, there are endless resources for recipes, techniques, and
    product reviews. The Food Network has also capitalized on this by offering
    programming targeted specifically to outdoor cooking and providing a website
    containing recipes from the shows. I’m also sure that gatherings such as ‘Eggtoberfest’
    would not be nearly as popular without social media. 

  • Jkjohnson

    I would have to say that the main game changer would have to be the advancements in the technology/designs in grills & smokers. The implementation of insulations, advancements in fire/heat control technology, and grill design, all helping to produce equipment that maintain even/easily adjustable temperatures allowing the pit master to achieve BBQ perfection, at home or on the BBQ circuit. Having a pit that performs as you want, makes all the difference in the product that you put out.

  • Vittitoe

    Definitely online resource, mainly sharing experiences among all the BBQers out there.

  • Bill

    The new/old pit masters sharing their knowledge of BBQ.  For many it was always, “we’re having a bbq, come on over”…it was believed that this was putting burgers, hot dogs and sometime steaks on the grill, but now with the aid of these pit masters sharing their secrets and letting us in on what bbq really is has changed the game for so many. 

  • John

    The internet, hands down!

  • Jeff Belmonti

    This sure changed things for me. The Internet sites were useless until I had a smoker and some way to consistently control my low and slow temps. Great comments!

  • Bill

     The size of the cash pay outs. It reminds me of drag racing in the 60″s.  While the only prize was a trophy and a window sticker most guys did their own work with the meager funds they had available. Once the sponsors  got involved it became a cash game. It was no longer fair to the little guy. This is the same deal. Most people can’t afford the high end pits  or trailers used by the pros in the sport so they either don’t try or stay very local in the small contests that don’t offer the big bucks that attract the pros. The sport should have an armature division that after so many wins you move up in class towards the pros. More people might be willing to compete if they know they will be going up against others in their class.

  • Bbqbob

    Of course, I am not writing this to win anything but television has launched a whole new BBQ craze in the last 5-7 years. Food Network, Cooking Channel,Travel Channel, Planet Green, TLC, Discovery! There running programs on food and talk about BBQ in many of these programs. Manufacturer’s, distributors and retailers of BBQ products are popping up everywhere and people are loving the fact that they can do this at home! It is a very exciting time for BBQ all over the world! I guess I am a little excited!. :)

  • Toolboxdiver

    has to be the Internet, just makes so much info available and sharring ideas and techniques

  • Kweekley67

    Thermometers, that is high quality Thermometers. Just knowing the CORRECT temperature of the meat and grill is huge. When I added one to my smoker I found I was 50 degrees off than what the standard grill thermometer said

  • http://www.facebook.com/Bigmista Neil Bigmista Strawder

    I’ll be different and say the UDS. It gives anyone the ability to cook low & slow without dealing with constant fire control. And it also provides a sense of accomplishment because you build it yourself. BBQ’ers around the world are walking around with their chest stuck out because the cooked great meals on a cooker they built themselves.

  • Mo swine.

    The biggest game changer is the competition circuit itself. With something of value on the line, you’re going to continue to see the tech advances (pellet grills, elec draft controls, insulation etc). So it’s the double edged sword that we all love and hate. Without the prizes, there would be no escalation of equipment and the idea of “BBQ royalty” would seem foolish. Can the backyard guy compete against a Jambo, sure. But odds say that the better equipment will shorten the learning curve and allow guys to advance through the competition ranks much more quickly.

    Nick Evans
    MO Swine

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  • Rex Bbq

    I would say internet message boards such as the bbq-brethren have changed the scene as it make access to information, tips, tricks, tools and techniques easier than ever. Pitmaster can get together and share information in seconds that would normally take years on the bbq circuit to learn.

  • http://twitter.com/houseofannie Nathan Lau

    I would say the Internet – newsgroups, forums, blogs and YouTube have been invaluable in spreading knowledge about barbecuing.

  • Heavy D

    Insulated Smokers, coupled with temperature control devices, such as Guru, it is now so easy to hold temperature and consistent temperature is the key to great BBQ

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=785514895 Jon Duttweiler

    The internet, websites and forums. Information is the great equalizer and while reading about it is not the same as apprenticing under someone, it is a heck of a lot better than learning strictly through trial and error.

  • Joe L

    I will have to say the pellet grill if I’m right it became a part of the BBQ world in the late 80′s and it has help us amateur or backyard cookers some great tasting BBQ. With the assisted temperature control takes all the work out of trying to maintaining temperature and allows you to put all your attention towards the food. And with all the different choses in pellets these days you can’t go wrong. With that said I still love my weber 22.5 inch.

  • HolySmoke

    Pretty easy to point to the Internet as the greatest game changer in BBQ. From access to Youtube, and all it’s how to videos on BBQ preparation and pit design, to the hundreds of BBQ pro blog sitesand classes, and the even more cutting edge products and books available at all hours with just the click of a mouse. From Recipes, Rubs,Glazes & Pepper Jellys, to Pit Makers & Temperature controlling/reading devices, to Fruit woods & Charcoal, everything from the wide world of Que is out there for the inquiring mind to see and keep up with. Before the Internet, it just wasn’t possible for the average person to stay informed about so much from the BBQ world with this amount of ease.

  • National Barbecue News

    Biggest BBQ game changer of all is the pitmasters who are teaching new comers… which gives first time cooks a legit chance to walk their first time out.

  • Coachkos70

    I think they will come out with temperature controlled charcoal.   Different charcoal will be different temps so you could have a change of temperature around your grill.  Cook fast, slow it would be fun to cook under different variables

  • QueDawg

    I’d have to say the internet and BBQ forums in particular.

    I am a decent cook. but I never could quite figure out how to produce good BBQ. Once I found the internet forums dedicated to BBQ, I was able to learn the art of preparing good BBQ.

    The discussions on the forums lead me to things like BBQ Pitmasters, which pit is best for me, what books to buy, competition BBQ etc.

     Without the internet and all of the information available in an instant, I am pretty sure I would have never learned how to cook BBQ properly.

  • Kevin Kulp

    For a game changer? I think for overall impact it has to be information instead of actual cooking technology, and that means the Internet.

    Think about it. People have been cooking meat with different ovens and different recipes for thousands of years. For the first time, though, it’s possible for a guy with his first smoker up in Alaska to find out instantly what Texas chefs have known for years. If he’s in the middle of a cook and something goes wrong, it’s possible to jump on a message board and ask other barbecuers all over the world how to fix it. And he can instantly find rubs, sauces, grill reviews, instructional videos and podcasts that are going to make his cooking results better.

    So yes, the Internet. The interactivity makes a huge difference.

  • Glabrousone

    The “Reverse Flow Smoker”


    A Reverse Flow Smoker is a BBQ/smoker which utilizes a “Baffle Plate”
    that is welded into the “Cooking Chamber” to control the flow of
    smoke and heat being generated in the firebox.



                The baffle
    plate:  Acts as a heat shield / thermal
    mass to absorb heat and then to allow that heat to balance out and radiate into
    the cooking chamber evenly so that temperatures are well distributed, while
    aiding with increasing the recovery time & increasing temperature stability
    when the cooking chamber door was opened.


    The baffle plates purpose is to restrict the draft in the smoker to assist with
    completely burning your fuels, i.e. better combustion, means better flavor in
    the smoke that your meat is cooking in!


    The baffle plate catches drippings from the meat, vaporizing them and adding lost
    flavors back into your meats, instead of being collected in the bottom of the
    BBQ pit.  In conjunction with filling the
    baffle with fruit juices or water, which will provide some humidity in the cooking
    chamber helping with flavoring the cooking items.

  • QueDawg

    Thinking about this more, without the internet companies like BBQ Guru and other  small BBQ focused companies would struggle to exist or not exist at all. Think of all of the small rub and sauce companies out there that wouldn’t get nearly the exposure that they get now via the internet.

    Ideas spread like wildfire and innovation really gets a boost from the sharing of information.

  • Mark Nejako

    I will make this short. The biggest game changer for BBQ in the last 10 to 20 years is the ATC or automatic temperature controll. Pitmasters all have had their own rubs, marinades, injections, recipes , and pits since the beginning of BBQ. The ATC just made it so much easier to control the temp on the pit and the doesn’t have to tend the pit for up to 20 hours adding wood, adjusting the vents and staying up all night to doing a cook. The results are still the same if you know your BBQ it is just much more easy.

  • http://twitter.com/huckjr huckjr

    Thank you all for your entries.  This contest has ended.  Please be sure to tune in to the live broadcast of “In the Hut” on the outdoor cooking channel on Wednesday 3/14 @ 9PM EST to hear the winning entry.  The link to watch live is http://outdoorcookingchannel.com/watch-now

  • bestthefirebanKing

    On a personal note, it is the ever changing weather, drought , and burn ban in Central Texas. Trying to enjoy a backyard BBQ using wood and charcoal has become endangered here.
    Secondly, actually more important, is the Media’s grasp of this taste for BBQ in the states other than Texas, Kansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. To spread the ‘sauce’ around is needed and welcomed as it ‘smokes’ the other deprived states into a BBQ Frenzy !
    Just look at the most recent gift from our US President to the UK Leader Dude, a BBQ Pit that uses charcoal/wood. Is that not becoming the American Backyard Activity ?
    So much competition among everyone to provide that perfect BBQ, whether it is ribs, pork, or my favorite brisket, this is indeed replacing the Mexican food Frenzy.
    Just think. meat smoked over a flame, in a pit, is healthier. NO EXCESS FAT !