Big Papa BBQ Scalloped Potatoes

by Dana ‘Big Papa’ Hillis

I’ve heard a lot of complaining the last month or so about how the weather has just been too cold here in Florida.

I think it is just a sign from God and Mother Nature telling us to fire up the ol’ smokers and grills and get to BBQing more. The FBA is doing its part by scheduling contests all over the state just about every weekend. We have just finished contests in Okeechobee, Lakeland, Winter Haven and Starke.

Bubba Q kept up his winning streak in Okeechobee, taking home the Grand Champion honors, with old pro Myron Mixon of Jack’s Old South taking Reserve Grand.

The Florida Boys continued cooking well with a 3rd place finish. The Woodhouse Grill took 4th, and Rooster and Lisa with Florida Skin and Bones took 5th. Southern Style BBQ took 1st in chicken, Bubba Q took 1st in ribs, The Woodhouse Grill took 1st in pork and Bubba Q took 1st in brisket.

Winter Haven saw Frank and Walt work their tails off for the Boys and Girls Club, with 52 pro and 25 backyard teams smoking up the lake. Cool fly-overs, parasails lighting up the night sky, great entertainment and lots of people made this contest a big hit.

Mike Leonardo’s Woodhouse Grill won Grand, edging out Reserve Grand winner Uncle Kenny’s. Git R Smoked was 3rd, with Wooley Bully in 4th and Smokin Guns BBQ crew in 5th. Git R Smoked was 1st in chicken, Naked Bones was 1st in ribs, and Woodhouse Grill was 1st in pork and brisket.

In the Backyard Division, Teco Pitmasters won Grand, with Get a Grip BBQ taking Reserve. Jamakin Me Hungry was 3rd, Buttweiser was 4th and Second Hand Smoke was 5th. Starke, Florida put on a great contest, highlighted by Jimmy Van Zandt from the Lynyrd Skynyrd family headlining the entertainment.

Suwannee River Smokers won their first Grand Championship, followed by Big Papa’s taking Reserve Grand, Smokin Your Butt took 3rd, Budmeister took 4th and Git R Smoked took 5th. U Rub Me Raw took 1st in chicken, Smokin Your Butt took 1st in ribs, Munchees took 1st in pork and Uncle Kenny’s took 1st in Brisket.

Rub It, Smoke It took Grand in the Backyard Division, with Shelby’s Outlaws taking Reserve Grand. Buzzard’s BBQ took 3rd, It’s A Pig Thing took 4th and Better N Store Bot took 5th.

I was lucky at the Starke contest to get to spend some time with my younger brother, Dwayne, who made his first trip to an FBA event. Over the last few years we have not seen much of each other, so we had some stories to catch up on.

(story continued below)


Big Papa BBQ Scalloped Potatoes


• 2 cups thinly-sliced, peeled potatoes

• 1 cup thinly-sliced carrots

• 1/2 cup water

• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (save about 2 tablespoons separate)

• 1/3 cup Miracle Whip dressing

• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat grill to medium heat (about 250). Place potatoes and carrots in half pan, add water and cover.

Place on grill for 30 to 45 minutes until potatoes are crisp and tender. (You can microwave potatoes for 5 to 7 minutes instead)

Mix Parmesan cheese and dressing, and add to potatoes in pan, mixing lightly.

Grill for about 25 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle with parsley and saved Parmesan.

Makes about 6 servings.

(story continued from above)

Dwayne is an ol’ tough guy from Detroit, so you’d think a little cold Florida weather would not bother him, but he says he ‘bout froze to death. Everyone who had a campfire or big heater got to know him, because he stayed by their fire or heat source.

He ate well on this trip, starting with Krystal burgers in Ocala, some Dicks Wings, breakfast at Grannies, biscuits and gravy at Big Papa’s and then he sampled all the desserts that Uncle Wendy’s brought.

He ate Rooster’s “gatorballs,” sampled fried Twinkies and Oreo cookies, had a chicken dinner with green beans and rice at the cooks’ meeting, then ate some hamburgers and hotdogs at Suwannee River’s camp and a mountain of banana pudding.

He sampled all of our turn-in boxes on Saturday and ate some double cheeseburgers Saturday night. I can’t believe he got up Sunday asking for Tums. We did not win the dessert contest, but we did win People’s Choice. We did not get a call in chicken or ribs, so our hopes of a good finish were slim. We did get a 6th place call in pork, so we thought we would at least get some gas money to make it home.

A 3rd place call in brisket had us thinking we might break the top 10. After they called 10th down to 5th, we had written off any chance of a good finish, so when Big Papa’s got a call for Reserve Grand it was truly a shock. Needless to say we were excited and celebrated Saturday night.

A few months back my older brother, Kevin, went with me to a contest, and we happened to win Grand! Now my younger brother has gone with me when we won Reserve Grand. Kevin has bragging rights over Dwayne for a better finish, but the truth is, I am the lucky brother.

God Bless our troops and bring our kids home safe. See you at a contest soon.

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