is supported by our Pitmaster Club. Also, when you buy with links on our site we may earn a finder’s fee. Click to see how we test and review products.

The Most Popular BBQ And Grilling Websites: Debunking A Recent Report

Share on:
chart of page views

In May 2021, Derrick Riches, who describes himself as an “investigational journalist with a strong IT and analytics background,” attempted to assess “The Most Popular BBQ & Grilling Websites 2021″ which is so far off base I refuse to link to it.

Before I go into detail, here’s the dead giveaway: He lists as the #3 most popular site. We know for a fact we are BY FAR #1. Grill and other manufacturers tell us that a mention on our site moves products and starts social media buzz. Other sites, not so much. But there is proof.

His #2 most popular site is “Smoked BBQ Source”. I have been actively involved in the BBQ community for many years and I am a member of the Barbecue Hall of Fame. I have never heard of this site or any of their team members. Neither has anybody on my team. Neither has anyone I have talked to in the past week. It is based in New Zealand it is very hard to believe it is more popular than this site or several other good sites.

Riches ranks Susie Bulloch’s “Hey Grill, Hey” #1. It is a fine site that has been growing rapidly, and I am sure it is very popular. I just don’t think it is as popular as ours based on industry feedback.

“” is ranked #3 with 22% of the traffic compared to Hey Grill, Hey. This is absurd. According to Google Analytics, in the past 12 months we have had more than 8.9 million visitors and they viewed more than 25 million pages. It is hard to believe either site can match that.

In assessing the popularity of a website, there is one and only one true source: Google Analytics (GA). Most sites keep this information confidential. GA is accurate because website owners give GA permission to collect detailed data about their websites. This includes exactly how many people visit a site. We allow Google in because this info is vital in business analysis, marketing, and ad sales.

Since he published his erroneous data, I have tried to help him get the rest right by doing something unheard of: I gave him full access to our GA for several days. I do not know if Riches took advantage of this view under our skirt because he is not replying to my emails.

Instead of using GA, which most sites keep private, Riches was forced to rely on data from free third party tools. This includes Alexa (not the gizmo you talk to, a different service) and SEMrush. Both of these services guess, and they are well known to be inaccurate.

Alexa works by inviting people to install its toolbar in their browser. As users move around the web, the system tells them how popular a site is while it records their travels and guesses total traffic based on this small self-selected sample group. Subdomains and subpages are not counted, so it does not rank our subdomain, which is our popular Pitmaster Club with 17,000 paying members. Many websites have compared Alexa data with their GA data and the conclusion is: Not very accurate.

Like Alexa, SEMrush compiles data that is just a guess at what a website’s traffic actually is. Here is an article with detail on SEMrush compared to GA for 25 websites by a respected Search Engine Optimization (SEO) company. SEMrush underestimated by as much as 84% on some sites.

While I appreciate Riches’ expertise in the BBQ community, this botched effort just doesn’t pass the smell test, and this “investigational journalist with a strong IT and analytics background” should have sniffed it out himself. It stinks and it unjustly hurts our good reputation.

Published On: 5/31/2021 Last Modified: 2/14/2024

Share on:


High quality websites are expensive to run. If you help us, we’ll pay you back bigtime with an ad-free experience and a lot of freebies!

Millions come to every month for high quality tested recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, product reviews, and inspiration. But it is expensive to run a website with more than 2,000 pages and we don’t have a big corporate partner to subsidize us.

Our most important source of sustenance is people who join our Pitmaster Club. But please don’t think of it as a donation. Members get MANY great benefits. We block all third-party ads, we give members free ebooks, magazines, interviews, webinars, more recipes, a monthly sweepstakes with prizes worth up to $2,000, discounts on products, and best of all a community of like-minded cooks free of flame wars. Click below to see all the benefits, take a free 30 day trial, and help keep this site alive.

Post comments and questions below


1) Please try the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can’t help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

4) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different.

5) Posts with links in them may not appear immediately.



Click to comment or ask a question...


These are not paid ads, they are a curated selection of products we love.

All of the products below have been tested and are highly recommended. Click here to read more about our review process.

Use Our Links To Help Keep Us Alive

Many merchants pay us a small referral fee when you click our “buy now” links. This has zero impact on the price you pay but helps support the site.