I agree with Todd. I am not trying to take away from some great instructors of BBQ that do this for side money, but I have never taken a "true" bbq class. I am no way self taught. I got into BBQ on my own not knowing anything, I have learned from forums and meeting teams at contest.
If it was me, since nobody is really "self taught" pick a class and take it. You will save yourself thou$and$.