Chris Lilly

Barbecue Hall of Famer Chris Lilly is the vice president and fourth-generation partner of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Alabama. He has led the Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q Competition Cooking Team to an impressive 17 World BBQ Championships. Chris authored two cookbooks, Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book (2009) and Fire & Smoke (2014).


Chris Lilly entered the barbecue scene in 1992. He and his wife Amy were "baptized in hickory smoke" when they joined her family's celebrated business. Dissatisfied with commercial products, Chris and his father-in-law Don developed their signature Big Bob Gibson Champion Red Sauce in 1997 and it became an instant hit. This ushered in an unprecedented era of winning competitions, starting with being named "The Best Sauce on the Planet" at the American Royal International Barbecue Sauce Contest in 1998. Chris has since become a globally recognized and sought-after barbecue expert. He was an instructor for the Pork Summit at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley and served as a guest chef at the Food Network's South Beach Wine and Food Festival for 15 consecutive years. He is the spokesperson for Kingsford Charcoal and an ambassador for brands like Smithfield and Yeti. Chris has appeared frequently on TV shows, including the Today show, Live with Regis and Kelly, Martha Stewart, and BBQ Brawl with Michael Symon and Bobby Flay.


Chris graduated from the University of North Alabama with a bachelor of business administration degree.

About Food & Wine

Food & Wine, a Dotdash Meredith Brand, is an award-winning online resource for anyone passionate about the culinary world. With rigorously tested recipes and the most trusted restaurant, drinks, culinary travel and home coverage, we inspire and empower people everywhere to discover, create, and devour the best in food and wine. Learn more about us and our editorial process.

Latest from Chris Lilly