Barbecue University® 2024

When the sun rises over the majestic Alisal Ranch, smoke will rise too. The fragrant smoke of hickory and the fiery smoke of mesquite—rising from the more than 30 state-of- the-art grills and smokers in our outdoor classroom.

Welcome to Barbecue University®—the nation’s premier school on the arts of grilling, smoking, and live fire cooking. “A fantasy camp for coal heads,” is how Eating Light magazine described us, while The Food Network named the school the “#1 barbecue experience in the U.S.”

Barbecue University 2023

Your instructor and host is Barbecue Hall of Famer, Steven Raichlen. You’ve read his award-winning, bestselling books, like The Barbecue! Bible and Project Smoke. You’ve watched his popular TV shows, such as Planet Barbecue® and Project Fire.

And now, you can learn the art of live fire cooking with the man who launched the barbecue revolution.

So what’s on the menu at Barbecue University® this year? Memphis dry rub ribs and Texas Hill Country brisket. Thai rotisserie chicken and a spectacular Brazilian rib roast. Smash burgers, lamb burgers, and ingenious inside-out cheeseburgers. Tri-tip of course—after all, this is southern California. Honey sesame shrimp. Smoke-roasted salmon. Grilled pizza and Steven’s legendary cedar plank chocolate brownie s’mores for dessert. Eight to ten recipes per day!

Sizzling Juicy Rotisserie Prime Rib for the Holidays

Each class opens with a demonstration of the day’s menu and techniques. The students do the actual grilling under Steven’s supervision. Class concludes with a festive 5-course lunch, accompanied by craft beers and local wines. There may even be smoked cocktails. 😉

Our students come from all over the world—literally—many of them repeats from previous years. No prior grilling experience is required, but seasoned barbecuers will find plenty of challenging dishes to take their skills to the next level.

Our home is the Alisal Ranch in Solvang, California, and if that sounds familiar, you’ve been watching Steven’s Project Fire and Project Smoke TV shows—filmed on location at this 10,000- acre ranch in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley. Guests lodge in luxurious cabins—each with a fireplace. You have afternoons free to ride one of the Alisal’s more than 100 horses, hike on scenic trails, golf on a riverside golf course, get a massage at the spa, or simply relax.

Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort

Make that relax and shop in the nearby charming Danish-California town of Solvang. Or taste chardonnay or pinot noir at one of the dozens of local wineries. (Homework assignment: Watch the movie “Sideways,” which was filmed here.)

“I have attended cooking classes and retreats throughout the U.S. and Europe, but have never experienced anything like Barbecue University®” wrote travel writer and author Larry Olmsted on

The next session of Barbecue University® takes place September 3 to 6, 2024. Space is limited, so sign up today.


Barbecue University®—where the only marks you get are grill marks!

About Steven Raichlen

Steven Raichlen on the set of Project Fire - Barbecue UniversityAuthor, journalist, lecturer, and TV host, Steven Raichlen is the man who launched the barbecue revolution.  His 32 books include the international blockbusters The Barbecue Bible and How to Grill and the New York Times bestselling Planet Barbecue and Project Smoke (Workman Publishing).  In The Brisket Chronicles, Raichlen explores how this epic meat is prepared around the world, from Texas barbecue to Jewish pastrami to Vietnamese pho.  His latest book, How to Grill Vegetables, focuses on global plant-based grilling.   Raichlen’s books (more than 6 million copies in print) have won five James Beard Awards and three IACP Julia Child Awards and have been translated into 17 languages.   

Steven Raichlen hosts the popular TV shows Steven Raichlen’s Project Fire and Project Smoke, Primal Grill, and Barbecue University on American Public Television.   His new show, Steven Raichlen’s Planet Barbecue®–focused on global grilling—launched on Memorial Day, 2023.   Raichlen also stars in several French-language TV shows, including Le Maître du Grill and Les Incontournables du BBQ.  His Italian TV show, Steven Raichlen Grills Italy, airs on Gambero Rosso.  An award-winning journalist, Raichlen writes regularly for The New York Times.  His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Esquire, GQ, and all the major food magazines. In 2015, he was inducted into the KCBS Barbecue Hall of Fame.

​In 2021, Raichlen launched Planet Barbecue®, a line of ready to heat and eat barbecue and grilled foods.  He also created the Steven Raichlen Signature lines of grilling accessories and seasonings.  His latest venture is a new restaurant concept: the Star Grill by Steven Raichlen for the Windstar cruise line.  Raichlen founded Barbecue University®, now held at the Alisal Guest Ranch in Solvang, California, and has lectured on this history of barbecue at institutions as diverse as Harvard, the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian Institution.

Steven Raichlen holds a degree in French literature from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and studied medieval cooking in Europe on a Thomas J. Watson Foundation Fellowship.  He was also awarded a Fulbright.  When not grilling, you’ll find him at the helm of his sailboat, Barbacoa.   He and his wife, Barbara, live in Miami and Martha’s Vineyard.