Repetition is key
Barbecue's steeped in tradition, and tradition means doing the same things over and over and over. It's the reason your Grandma still buys you Paddington Bear stuff, and it's the reason that a great pitmaster's flavor is consistent.
BBQ guys love to share their secrets
Maybe not all of them, but if you just bought a smoker and are having trouble with it, most pitmasters will happily give you a few tips.
Some of the best BBQ joints are only open for lunch
Due to the insane amount of time that goes into each piece of meat and the decidedly non-infinite capacity of smoking apparati, lower-volume barbecue joints often run out of meat shortly after lunch. This isn't because they're jerks/hate dinner, but because they don't have enough hours in the day or space on the pit to cook more.
It's a marathon, not a sprint
Barbecue isn't a flip-switch style of cooking: you can't make a change on the fly, so consistency is usually valued over creativity.
Grilling isn't barbecueing
The word barbecue has become synonymous with anything cooked over fire, but most pitmasters think there's a very big difference between grilling up a burger and spending 20 hours on a brisket. And they're right.
It's usually a lifetime vocation
Hobbyists aside, there are no part-time pitmasters. It's something you dedicate your life to, waking before the sun and going to bed long after a customer's last bite. The legends have been doing it their whole lives and wouldn't have it any other way.
Dan Gentile is a staff writer on Thrillist's national food and drink team. He's never cooked barbecue before, but hopes to someday craft a very mediocre brisket. Follow him to gratuitous salt and pepper at @Dannosphere.