pit·​mas·​ter ˈpit-ˌma-stər How to pronounce pitmaster (audio)
variants or pit master
plural pitmasters or pit masters
: a person who oversees the cooking done in a barbecue pit : a professional or skilled barbecuer
"This is good, really good," Allan says, tasting pitmaster Scott Smith's first cured pork belly. "I wouldn't change a thing."John T. Edge
He was one of Houston's most celebrated pitmasters and helped to kick off the barbecue renaissance here.J. C. Reid
Robert Polk, the pit master I met earlier this morning, comes in carrying a gorgeous brisket fresh from the smoker and hands it off to Smitty, who starts slicing it to make sandwiches and plates.Patricia Sharpe

Examples of pitmaster in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web New pitmaster Ari Valenzuela — formerly of Campfire restaurant in Carlsbad — is heading up all smokehouse operations. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Sep. 2023 For the first time ever, the Downtown Mesa BBQ Classic, in association with the Kansas City Barbecue Society, will celebrate barbecue culture and bring pitmasters together to compete head-to-head for a chance to win $2,000 on Nov. 3 and 4. The Arizona Republic, 16 Aug. 2023 The food truck, led by pitmaster Kareem El-Ghayesh, specializes in all the barbecue classics (ribs, brisket, sausage), only through the lens of Egyptian flavors and cooking techniques. The Bon Appétit Staff & Contributors, Bon Appétit, 13 Sep. 2023 The legendary pitmasters Bryan Furman and Rodney Scott, who had driven their rigs from Georgia and South Carolina, respectively, gave master classes on barbecue. Hannah Goldfield, The New Yorker, 2 Oct. 2023 The smoker pitmasters use most often is an offset smoker. John Sass, Field & Stream, 27 Sep. 2023 More and more, though, ambitious pitmasters are seeking something else to differentiate themselves. Robert F. Moss, Southern Living, 12 Sep. 2023 What to expect at the Downtown Mesa BBQ Classic Attendees can learn about different barbecue styles, cooking techniques and the art of barbecuing by interacting with competitors and experienced judges as skilled pitmasters compete in various categories like chicken, pork, ribs, and brisket. The Arizona Republic, 16 Aug. 2023 Founder Todd David just sold the business to his pitmaster, Andrew Castelan. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, 12 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pitmaster.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


pit entry 1 (in barbecue pit) + master entry 1

First Known Use

1984, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pitmaster was in 1984

Dictionary Entries Near pitmaster

Cite this Entry

“Pitmaster.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pitmaster. Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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