Big Papa’s New Year's Eve Pork Burgers

by Dana ‘Big Papa’ Hillis

Big Papa’s BBQ team started off the 2010 season a little slow, but settled into a little consistency and ended up winning some contests (and “Team of the Year” award in the FBA).

To come out on top of teams such as Forrest’s Fine Foods, Swamp Boys, Git-R Smoked and all the other fantastic cooks in the FBA is definitely an honor.

The FBA has some of the best teams in competition BBQ in the country and some of the most decent people I have had the privilege to be around. Thank you to all my friends for support and help when it was needed.

The Triple Crown Contest was held in Perry for the third straight year, and Chamber Director Dawn Taylor did a fantastic job of pulling off two contests and some great entertainment. Jim Hunt with Fiddler’s Restaurant in Steinhatchee and head cook of “Gnat Daddys BBQ” put out a spread of fish, shrimp, beans, slaw, hushpuppies and sweet tea that was as good a meal as we have ever had.

Several teams provided some cookies and cobblers for desert. Thanks to everyone involved for all your hard work.

Gordon Bryant (GB’s) won Grand Champion in the Triple Crown Invitational and took home some awesome prizes. Lang Smokers gave away a brand-new, custom-made grill and The Big Green Egg gave away a large cooker. Gordon has so many cookers now he will have a hard time figuring out what to cook on.

Uncle Kenny’s BBQ tried to steal the show, taking Grand Champion in the Open division and was barely edged out by GB's BBQ for Reserve Grand in the Invitational! Jimmy Brod and Everglades Seasoning BBQ finished third in the Invitational, followed by Bub-Ba-Q and Forrest's Fine Foods.

Damon Wooley and Wooley Bulley BBQ Mafia won Reserve Grand in the Open Division, followed by Suwannee River Smokers, Low's Slow BBQ and Forrest's Fine Foods.

The end of the year will wrap up at the home of the Swamp Boys on New Year’s day for the “Celebrate Last Year” party. This is always a good time, and we thank the Bagby family for having us at their home.

This year took us to a lot of different towns. We traveled to Little Rock, Arkansas to do a contest with 240 teams and hung out with my good friends Randy and David with Finely Ready BBQ.

We went to North Augusta, South Carolina to an awesome contest where Janet won 1st place dessert (perfect score) and she and Rub did some unique vending at the Ricky Skaggs concert.

The National BBQ Festival moved to Waycross, Ga., where we got to see friends from all over, including Reggie from Mississippi and Jules from Canada. Winning Grand at the Open made this trip perfect!

Anniston, Alabama held a great first-year contest that would have been perfect if the weather had cooperated. Elba, Alabama could have been the hottest contest ever. Barnesville, Thomaston, Noonan and all the Georgia contests have something special going on. There is something unique that feels good about BBQ in Georgia.

We did a total of 25 FBA contests and 4 KCBS events along with several private catering events – making for a busy year of BBQ. Anyone needing advice or pointers about competition BBQ, please contact me at and we will be glad to help you head in the right direction.

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Big Papa’s New Year's Eve Pork Burgers


• 1 lb. ground pork – makes 4 burgers

• 1 teaspoon Big Papa’s pork seasoning

• 8 slices Texas Toast

• Lettuce, tomato and onions

• 1 bottle Big Papa’s Spicy Peach BBQ sauce

Cooking Instructions: Mix pork with seasoning and a little bit of sauce and make 4 patties. Cook over coals on direct heat for 10-12 minutes. Baste with sauce and flip. Baste with sauce and cook to 160 degrees. Serve burgers on Texas toast.


There is a brand-new contest in Naples, Fla. on Jan. 7-8 to kick off the 2011 season. “Ziggy Dicks BBQ Cook-off and Festival” will be held at the Naples Collier Fairgrounds, and the group in charge really wants to put on a good contest. There will be some awesome entertainment, and the Naples Rotary Club is working really hard to make this an annual event (I am too, because it is 3 miles from my house!).

There is a little restaurant in Naples called Cracklin Jacks that I promise if you stop in once, you will keep going back. This is some real, down-home cooking, and I even liked their brisket. Wait ‘til you try the vittles – WOW! Stop in and say hi to Nancy and Tammy (9080 Collier Blvd. 2.3 miles south of exit 101/I-75) for a taste of the Everglades and tell them Big Papa sent you.

If you get up around the Ocala National Forest, make your way out to 160th Ave. Road to a little store near Hawg Valley called the Oklawaha River Country Store, owned by Tony and Cindy Penny, two of the nicest folks you will ever meet. The store is spotless and cozy and Tony does woodworking as a hobby. Lord, is he talented! Everyone that lives or comes to the Valley has a sign or some furniture Tony has made. They also have a BBQ stand outside where they are serving up some good Que.

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