Jerk Burgers with Mango Salsa

by Dana ‘Big Papa’ Hillis

It is election time in this fine country, and rumor has it the economy is getting better. What we need to do is get some politicians to start up some competition BBQ teams so they can get a real feel of what is really happening with our economics.

First of all, they could pull into any fuel station in their pick-up truck. Let’s see, the average truck today (whether it be a Ford F-250, Dodge Ram or Chevy Duramax) is only around $67,000, and at $4.27 per gallon for diesel fuel, it only takes about $150 to fill it up. If you happen to use regular fuel, it is only about $120 to fill up. Teams have spent a bunch of money fixing up their trailers, but ask any team what their budget is for flat tires, bad axles, trailer brakes and just trailer maintenance for a year.

We put one new set of axles under our trailer, went through a tire every other road trip and finally bought some tires from China that cost over $300 apiece and had a 6-month period where our travels were safe, until we lost a wheel bearing last week! A lot of guys have bought duallys to make for easy travel, but when it is time for tires, they have to buy six instead of four.

Go buy some new coolers to keep your meat cold, and you will spend a fortune these days. Yeti’s are $200 to $400 each, and plain old Igloos are up to $75 each. Charcoal is at its highest price I have ever seen.

Go to a store to buy some meat, and if “sticker shock” does not affect you, your empty wallet should.

When we started cooking in 2007, you could buy pork butts for $0.68 per pound. Today, Sam’s Club pork butts are $1.64/lb., unless you buy a whole case. Then the price drops to $1.49/lb.

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Jerk Burgers with Mango Salsa


• 1-1/2 pounds of lean ground beef

• 2 tablespoons of your favorite jerk seasoning

• 1 large mango

• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

• 2 tablespoons chopped onion

• 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapenos (leave seeds)

• 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice (lemon will work also)

Cooking Instructions:

These are easy to make, and everyone always loves a mango salsa, so here is an easy one to make.

Take 1-1/2 pounds of lean ground beef and mix in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of your favorite jerk seasoning. Shape into 4 patties.

Peel and chop 1 large mango. Add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, 2 tablespoons chopped onion, 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapenos (leave seeds), 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice (lemon will work also). Mix and save until burgers are done.

Cook burgers over prepared coals for 12 minutes or to about 155 degrees internal temperature for medium doneness. Put on large bun with fresh lettuce and cover with mango salsa.

Enjoy a nice springtime burger!

(story continued from above)

We sold pork sandwiches for $5 each back in 2007, and still charge $5 today. Needles to say, our profits are down! We used to buy chicken for half of what we are paying today.

Briskets were $1.79 a pound; now $4 per pound is not a bad price. Actually, you can order one of those Wagyu (Japanese beef) briskets delivered to your door for around $140.00 – almost $10.00 per pound! Baby back ribs were $3.18 per pound last week!

We use cookers that burn wood pellets that get shipped in from out West. We have a charcoal supplier that comes out of Canada.

My wife’s daddy (Papa Larry) cuts and sells firewood and keeps me supplied with my favorite smoking wood, and all we have to do is get it delivered from Yulee, Florida to Naples. Your basic groceries are at an all-time high, and the high cost to compete proves what a great sport and a dedicated bunch of people we have involved with this “hobby.”

We have doctors, lawyers, construction workers, computer geniuses, airplane engine mechanics, firemen and all sorts of business owners involved in BBQ. I guess we don’t have any politicians involved (none that I know of), but if we could recruit some, I think we could get them to fit in. BBQ guys have been known to tell a tale or two, so not telling the truth would be easy for a team full of politicians. Making excuses for why they did not win would definitely be easy!

However, the one thing we would have to watch for is some new taxes imposed to help pay for the high cost of competing. Wealthy teams would get tax breaks that us hard working guys would not get.

The first politician that said wives don’t make good competitors because they don’t work would have a very short-lived BBQ career. In fact, if we could put my wife, Janet, in charge of our economy this country would turn around in a heartbeat.

She has managed our finances for 20 years, and believe me, she can get more mileage out of a dollar then anyone. These fuel prices would straighten out in a hurry, because all the crooks involved in ripping us off and lining their pockets with billions would be eliminated.

Wasteful spending would come to an end. People would be responsible for their actions. Liars and cheaters would be removed from office. Health care would be affordable, because the stress of our economy would be gone and there would be no more high blood pressure and heart problems.

The cost of living would come down so much everyone could afford a new truck, while BBQ cooker sales would go through the roof. Everyone in the country would get the National BBQ News, The BBQ Times and Woods ’n Water magazine, so everyone could enjoy some good reading.

Vote for the politicians that have BBQ events for fundraisers. If someone is promising to bring down the cost of briskets, give them your vote. Let’s have a million person march to the largest BBQ event ever and watch our country get back to the basics of being the greatest country in the world!

Go out and find some sponsors to help pay for your fuel. Bribe them with the best BBQ they have ever had. Bribery is OK if BBQ is involved, isn’t it?

See you all at a contest soon.

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