Local legend Ollie Gates will be inducted into American Royal’s Barbecue Hall of Fame

The American Royal has announced its class of inductees to the Barbecue Hall of Fame, and there’s a familiar name: Kansas City legend Ollie Gates, owner of Gates Bar-B-Q.

Gates is joined in the class of 2021 by Chicago-based writer Meathead Goldwyn and South Carolina whole hog cuer Rodney Scott.

The KC-based American Royal association runs the Barbecue Hall of Fame to recognize “the significant contributions to the advancement of barbecue,” according to a press release.

Gates started his career in the family business when it was still called Ol’ Kentucky Bar-B-Q, and he helped the rebrand to Gates and Son’s BBQ in the mid-fifties. He briefly ran a jazz club before shuttering that to focus on barbecue. Gates now has five locations and two-hundred employees—it’s enmeshed in KC culture, from the “Hi May I Help You?” greeting to the near-universal sentiment that it makes the best sauce in the world, even from other pitmasters.

“He may not have invented Kansas City barbecue, but Ollie Gates is a major reason why it is renowned across the globe,” says the statement from the Hall.

The inductees will be commemorated September 18 at the 2021 American Royal Barbecue World Series at Kansas Speedway.

Gates won’t be the only local legend celebrated at the ceremony. American Royal will induct the late Arthur Bryant—longtime rival of Gates—as a legacy member.

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