The true mark of a master is the information passed on to his students. The problem for a pitmaster, though, is that the students become the competition. "I want guys to take my classes and then go light the world on fire," Rod Gray says. Gray and his wife, Sheri, make up the barbecue team Pellet Envy. Nobody was hotter than Pellet Envy in 2009, when the duo's performance in 35 competitions earned Team of the Year honors from the Kansas City Barbecue Society. Gray is known for consistency — Pellet Envy is as steady as the team's pellet cooker, trailered over 40,000 miles last year. "I gave up golf because it took too much time," he says. "I took up barbecue, which takes two days instead of five hours." He'll have been competing for a decade when 2011 rolls around. Every year, former students haul their smokers out onto the blacktop, all of them hoping to catch their old pitmaster.