by Dana ‘Big Papa’ Hillis

Thanksgiving feasts are over, the last couple FBA contests are in the books and we just BBQ’d our way through the holidays and into the New Year. The Sebring Firemen put on the Central Florida BBQ Festival in Sebring for the 15th straight year, and a good time was had by the 30 teams that competed.

Fatt Ashes BBQ came out on top of a serious group of competitors to take home the 12 hours of BBQ Grand Championship. Swamp Boys won the Reserve Grand Championship, with Terry McKay’s Git R Smoked team taking third and wrapping up the FBA “Team of the Year” championship.

Kick Yo Butt had a good 4th place finish and Fully Involved finished 5th to keep his streak of good finishes going.

First-place calls went to: Fully Involved (chicken), Swamp Boys (ribs), Hogs Gone Wild (pork) and Fatt Ashes (brisket). The Florida Boys came in 6th place. Rumor has it they were so busy selling Christmas trees and teddy bears they got behind in cooking.

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Each Wednesday we sell BBQ at St. Monica’s Church farmers market. We have two guys next to us that sell fresh vegetables, and this recipe is part of our lunch every Wednesday. We take some of all the different vegetables they sell and smoke them up to make:



• 1 red pepper

• 1 yellow pepper

• 1 green pepper

• 2 jalapenos

• 1 red onion

• 1 yellow onion

• 5 yellow squash

• 2 large zucchinis

• 1 large eggplant

• 3 large tomatoes

• 3 small bok choy

• 2 large handfuls of fresh green beans

• 1 bunch of celery

• 2 bundles of scallions

• Several carrots

• Any other fresh veggies to taste

Cooking Instructions:

Cut all veggies into small pieces (carrots very thin) and place in large foil pan. Season liberally with Big Papa’s All-Purpose rub. Add one stick of butter. Place on grill. We cook on a Fast Eddy, but gas or charcoal will work fine. (The more smoke the better!).

Cook at 300 for about 1 hour, then wrap with foil until all veggies are tender – usually 1 more hour – check carrots for tenderness, and you are done. This makes a large quantity of great smoked vegetables that will warm up well for several meals!

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Several teams, including Sweet Smoke, Hogs Gone Wild, Collision Course BBQ, Great Lakes BBQ, Accutech BBQ and Kick Yo Butt, all had some really good calls. Sebring always puts on a good contest, and Donna Ray always brings us some of her favorite jello treats.

For the 4th straight year, Perry, Florida hosted the Triple Crown Championship at Forest Capital Park, where a very competitive field of teams did BBQ battle in both the Invitational and Open.

B&T BBQ took home Grand Champion honors in the Invitational to keep their hot streak going, while the Reserve Grand Championship went to none other than Reserve Grand king – Git R Smoked. (I think this was the 8th Reserve Grand trophy Terry has won this year – which is just incredible). Big Papa’s came home 3rd, with Uncle Kenny’s taking 4th and Forrest Fine Foods finishing 5th. First place calls went to: B&T (chicken), Git R Smoked (ribs), U Rub Me Raw (pork) and B&T (brisket).

The Grand Champion, Reserve Grand, and trophies for 1st in each category were large engraved cutting boards with engraved cleavers that all winners were proud to take home. The custom-made wooden pine trophies given away in the Open Division were truly classic, as all the winners at Perry went home with some great hardware.

The Southern Pines Blues & BBQ Open Division was won by Everglades Seasoning, who took home the big check and Grand Champion honors. Jack’s Old South won the Reserve Grand trophy, with LJ Smokin taking home a big 3rd place finish. Uncle Kenny’s and Bubba Q rounded out the top 5. First place calls went to Jack’s Old South (chicken), Uncle Wendy’s (ribs), Everglades Seasoning (pork) and Get a Grip BBQ (brisket).

Perry-Taylor County Chamber of Commerce Director Dawn Taylor and the Perry crew brought in Jim Hunt from Fiddler’s Restaurant in Steinhatchee to feed all the cook teams Friday. Jim and the Fiddler’s crew did an awesome job, as usual. The fish, shrimp and especially the hushpuppies were delicious.

Several of us went to Fiddler’s Thursday night to enjoy a great dinner and were treated to a performance by Jim on his “washtub bass fiddle.” This is a truly unique performance to watch. If you’re ever in or around Perry or Steinhatchee, go to Fiddler’s and ask to see the show. Trust me, it is worth the trip.

Perry always hosts a great BBQ finale for the year. The entertainment (rock and blues) this year was off the charts. Mother Nature gave us some comfortable, cool weather this year, and a good crowd came out to enjoy the contest.

Thanks to everyone involved for a great time, and we’ll see you at Ziggy Dicks BBQ Festival Jan. 6-7 in Naples!

God bless our troops, and I miss you Pop.

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