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Local restaurant owner inducted into American Royal Barbecue Hall of Fame

Darren Warth has won the American Royal BBQ three times.

DES MOINES, Iowa — A local restaurant owner is being honored for his grilling chops - and not for the first time. 

Darren Warth, owner of Smokey D's BBQ, is one of seven people being inducted into the 2023 American Royal Barbecue Hall of Fame.

Warth's cooking experience began by following family recipes with his mother and grandmother as a kid, according to his Hall of Fame biography

His first memory of BBQ was watching his dad cook chicken on the grill. 

From then, he was hooked. His passion continued into college, where Warth could be found behind the grill at all tailgates and parties. 

Warth, along with his wife of 32 years, Sherry, attended his first American Royal BBQ in 2002. The pair opened Smokey D's BBQ in 2006. 

Since then, the couple has won the American Royal three times, earning Warth the nickname "The Goat" on the competitive BBQ circuit. Smokey D's has even appeared on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives".

Hall of Fame inductees are nominated online. The nominating committee then narrows down the nominations to the Top 10 finalists, chosen based on "their overall commitment and impact to the BBQ community". 

The final voting process occurs in May, with the top four finalists who receive the most votes becoming the new inductees. 

In addition, the nominating committee chooses three legacy inductees to honor deceased BBQ legends. 

Bryon Chism, Flora Payne and Dave Raymond round out the list of 2023 inductees, with Bill Arnold, Columbus B. Hill and Rick Schmidt being honored as legacy inductees. 

The induction ceremony will be held during the American Royal World Series of Barbecue in late September. 

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