Arguably America’s most influential pitmaster, Aaron Franklin taught himself how to smoke meat, leading to the 2009 opening of Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas. His first book, Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto, quickly became a cult classic since it was published in 2015. His second book, Franklin Steak, showcases his love for steak through multiple cooking methods. Franklin won the 2015 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southwest, and in 2020 was inducted into the American Royal Barbecue Hall of Fame. His backyard BBQ pit company, Franklin BBQ Pits, launched in 2020. He also owns the newly opened Uptown Sports Club in Austin, which showcases a Texan’s take on Louisiana brasserie fare, and his third book, Franklin Smoke, is due in May 2023.