BBQ Stimulus Package

(First published in 2009)

When we attended our first professional BBQ contest three years ago, we had no idea how cooking some food on a grill was going to actually change our lives, but we have met some of the finest and most interesting people you could ever imagine.

Not a day goes by that an interesting question or conversation about BBQ does not come up. I got a phone call the other day from a friend of mine in Colorado named Oolah. He was at a BBQ contest in Durango and ran into the Florida “Skin and Bones” team and sent my best wishes to Lisa and Rooster, who have been doing very well in competitions out west. They do BBQ vending for a living, and when we ventured into some big vending events, they were so helpful to us it was incredible.

I just got a call today from Brant and Myra Littlejohn from Myrtle Beach, SC. They were in Ashville, NC for the weekend, enjoying some ribs at a big “Ribfest” and sent best wishes from some of the BBQ teams they had eaten with. Brant painted a restaurant I built in Myrtle Beach. We had a “topping out” party with ribs and pulled pork when it was done and have been good friends ever since.

Also, from that same job, we had a carpenter named Lavon Jordan and his wife, Phillis, who invited us to their home for a good ol’ South Carolina Pig Pickin’ celebrating their daughter Allison coming home from college.

I volunteered to bring my trailer and some cookers to help out. We had quite a spread and some great vinegar-based BBQ sauce that made as good a hawg as I have ever had. Since then, Lavon and several Shriners have started a cook team. We will see a lot of “Momma’s Boys” BBQ team soon.

A good friend of mine named Rich has a garage door company out of Naples, Fla. Recently, “Pops” and his son, Buck, installed some doors on a house I built in Venus, Fla. Now Buck has a BBQ team and is competing!

It’s tough this time of year when it is so hot and there are not many contests. Yet we always find somewhere to cook and feed people. We just helped Thomas Sadaka with “Sisters in Pink (and a Token Guy)” do a big cook for Orlando Harley Davidson. Despite the heat and a little rain, many showed up for some competition-style pork and ribs compliments of the fine folks at Orlando HD.

If a “Hawg” with two wheels is on your shopping list, stop and see these folks – Pat is making some good deals. I truly believe BBQ can help solve some of our country’s biggest issues. When our President is hosting diplomats from other countries, we need to serve them up a home-style hawg roast with all the trimmings.

These people would just have to learn how to BBQ so they could go back home and teach their friends and families this American craze. Cooking classes by Jacks Ol’ South and Home would be in high demand.

Under my “BBQ Stimulus Package,” this sudden international interest in BBQ would send sales of the rubs and sauces we all make through the roof and continue to stimulate the economy.

We would soon start to see an increase in jobs (and drop in unemployment). Stump’s Smokers would have so many orders he would have to expand again. Manufacturing and exports of Fast Eddies, Meadow Creek Cookers, Superior Smokers, DW Country Cookers, Spicewines, Traegers, Old Hickorys, Webbers, Orions, Southern Prides, Backwoods Smokers, Tucker Cookers, Kingfisher Cookers, BBQ Gurus, Big Green Eggs and Bubba Cookers would keep our favorite grill people busy.

People from all over the world would subscribe to Woods ‘n Water magazine to keep up with all our BBQ stories and recipes. The National BBQ News would become the International BBQ News. Pig and cattle farmers would have a hard time keeping up with orders for butts, ribs and briskets.

We are so lucky in this country for the liberties we take for granted every day. I wish we could load up some smokers and go BBQ for our troops overseas. Big Papa’s always offers police, firemen and emergency medical people – and most importantly, military personnel – free food at our many events. Most refuse and insist on paying, but we sincerely want to show our thanks.

Hurricane season is here, so load up on charcoal and all the BBQ’ing necessities. When Hurricane Charlie went through Naples, we were out of power for three days, so we BBQ’d for the entire neighborhood until the power came back on. We met neighbors we didn’t even know we had when the smoke started pouring out of the cookers (kinda like relatives when you win the lottery).

The “Fun Cook” is in Clermont in September – look it up on the website ( and come join us. It will be a great time! Thanks to Woods ‘n Water for being such a great supporter of the FBA. Thanks again to our troops - come home safe.



Pork Chops with Honey Glaze and Grilled Onions


  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • Black pepper, salt, dash of white pepper,
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (hot)
  • Canola oil
  • 2 large sweet onions (Vidalias, if available) cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 8-1/2” center cut boneless pork chops

Instructions: Combine honey, molasses, soy sauce and pepper flakes and mix, adding pepper to taste. Have coals hot and ready. Brush pork chops on both sides with oil and season with salt and pepper.

Set aside several spoons of glaze mix for glazing chops when done. Cook chops until lightly charred and crusty (about 4-5 minutes) before moving to a cooler part of grill. Turn several times, brushing with glaze until done.

Remove to a covered pan and coat with remaining glaze. Brush onions with oil, season with salt and pepper and grill 3-4 minutes on each side until browned. Serve chops with onions and enjoy!

Dana “Big Papa” Hillis is a member of the Florida BBQ Association (FBA) and lives in Lake Placid. He is the head cook of “Big Papa’s Country Kitchen” and a regular name called to the stage at FBA competitions. He can be reached at:

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