by Dana ‘Big Papa’ Hillis

This was the 8th year of Winter Haven’s “Smoke On The Water” BBQ contest, and somehow Frank Csomos keeps making them better and better each year.

A lot of people work hard to make this contest a success, and a lot of people come to enjoy the BBQ, music and really cool activities. Over 80 teams fill the Boys and Girls Club facility and do BBQ battle to help generate operating funds to keep these kids clubs open.

It is amazing to see how Frank pulls everyone together to make this such an awesome event. There are fly-overs after the national anthem, a great fireworks show, hang gliders that light up the night and some of the best musical entertainment of any contest we attend.

This is the 6th year in a row we have been able to come to Winter Haven, and we truly enjoy being a part of it. This year was really special for us, as we were able to win Grand Champion against some of the best BBQ teams in the country.

Any time you can come out on top of teams like Jack’s Old South, Swamp Boys, Bubba Q, Bubba Chucks and a whole bunch of top-notch new teams, it is special. Myron was on stage and said of all the contests he has done in his stellar BBQ career, he will keep coming to this one because it is one of the best contests on the entire BBQ circuit.

The Boys and Girls Club has a big trophy that stays at the club with the name of the winner every year engraved on it. We are proud to have our name on that trophy. This contest was also the FBA Florida State Championship, which made it even more special.

We have been lucky enough to win several contests, but this one will always be special. The scores at this contest were so close, and we were truly lucky to win. Less then 2 points separated 1st through 5th, with one half point separating 1st and 3rd! Big Papa’s won Grand with Forrest Fine Foods taking Reserve Grand. The hometown favorite, Bubba Chucks BBQ, was a close 3rd.

Team Unknown (with their new leader in charge, Lee Tenderloin Sugarfoot), came in 4th, and Sho Gud BBQ took 5th. GBs took 1st in chicken, Jacks Old South took 1st in ribs, Forrest Fine Foods had a near-perfect score for 1st in pork, and Team Unknown took 1st in brisket to make Lee look good.

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This can be cooked on a grill smoker or Fast Eddy’s. Heat oven or smoker to 275 degrees.


• 1 stick of butter

• 3 cloves garlic sliced thin

• 1 lb. large scallops

• 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled & de-veined

• 2 pints large shucked oysters

• Chopped fresh parsley

Cooking Instructions:

Combine garlic and butter in large pan.

Add shrimp and scallops and smoke for 5 minutes.

Add oysters and turn the shrimp and scallops.

Add parsley and smoke for 10 additional minutes or until shrimp turn bright pink.

Enjoy with a vegetable medley and try some Big Papa’s Hot Garlic and Onion BBQ sauce.

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The Backyard Division saw 21 teams cooking, with Nemans BBQ winning the Grand. Pops Que followed up his Grand at Dundee with the Reserve Grand at Winter Haven. Jemakin Me Hungry took 3rd, Second Hand Smoke was 4th and Rub Me Tender rounded out the top 5.

Get your name on the list to cook this contest next year. If you can’t get in, just come and hang out, because this is a contest that just feels good to be at. The judges and reps did a great job, and Frank is to be thanked for all his hard work.

DUNDEE SOUTHERN SMOKERS BBQ: For a first-year contest, this one was well-run and enjoyable. It is hard to pull off a first-year contest in the parking lot of a grocery store, but this group worked hard and did a wonderful job. Blitzkrieg BBQ sure enjoyed Dundee, winning a big check and their first Grand Championship! After a top 5 finish in Naples and a Reserve Grand in Fort Pierce, it was definitely Tommy’s time to shine.

Big Papa’s stayed hot with a Reserve Grand finish, while Getta Grip BBQ came home 3rd, Lang BBQ Smokers took 4th and Palm Beach Porkers took 5th. Getta Grip took 1st in chicken and ribs and Git R Smoked took 1st in pork, with Blitzkrieg winning 1st place honors in brisket.

Getta Grip had a great chance to win their first contest with a great finish in ribs and chicken, but a 16th in brisket – which had been their strongest category – kept them away from that elusive 1st Grand.

Just a few weeks ago, Whiskey Bent and Big Papa’s made a little wager over who would be the next first-time Grand Champion winner. Whiskey Bent picked Getta Grip and Big Papa’s picked Fully Involved BBQ.

We hope this has not put a bambino jinx on these two fine teams, but some strange finishes have occurred since our little wager. Dave from Fully Involved scored well in three categories, but a toothpick in his chicken took away his first win chances recently. (Rumor has it he did win a nice toothpick trophy).

Big congratulations go out to Pops Que for winning his 1st Grand in the Backyard Division. Pops went down to the minors to knock off some of the rust from not cooking, but he will be back in the pros giving us all a run real soon.

This is going to be a great year for BBQ, so get out to a contest soon. Bless our troops and see you at a contest soon. I miss you, Pop.

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