Slap U Later BBQ Walks Away as Backyard Grand Champ andOther Awards at Big Belly BBQ Battle
by James Coulter
Brent Broaddus felt lost during the pandemic last year. He wanted to find something to do to pass his time. So he decided to pick up on backyard barbecue smoking.
His pandemic hobby quickly kicked off into a competitive one. He and his team, Slap U Later BBQ, started competing in the Florida Barbecue Association circuit this May. He attended his second competition at the Big Belly BBQ Battle in Davenport on Saturday.
Not only did he walk away as the overall grand champion in the backyard division, but his barbecue also won several other awards, including fifth place in ribs, first place in chicken, second place in pork, and first place in brisket.
“I owe my success to a meticulous timeline,” Broaddus said. “I cook on a Rec Tec 340 Grill. So it is like the smallest grill in the world. And so everything is [cooked] in five-minute windows to get things done.”
Overall, Broaddus loves the camaraderie among his fellow barbecue grill masters. He and his team have been like a real family, and being among people who love barbecue as much as him has been like being among an extended family, he said.
“In quarantine, I felt a little lost, got into barbecue smoking, and found a new family where it is amazing,” he said. “I just [love] the community involvement of doing what we love to do. And welcoming us, and getting to see the local flare of all of the different cities in Florida.”
Winning overall grand champion in the professional division was Allen Pomerleau of GitChewSum. This was his fourth or fifth time competing in the Big Belly BBQ Battle, with him and his team traveling the Florida Barbecue Association Circuit.
“It has been awesome as always,” Pomerleau said. “It is always a stacked field, and to be crowned number one, I am at a loss for words.”
Brisket and ribs are his favorite food to barbecue. Being able to smoke his meat to perfection takes patience, and winning first place more than paid off this year, he said. Most importantly, he was able to be among good people, both with his teammates and his competitors.
“We cook with each other, win or lose, we have a good time,” he said. “The secret to our success has been perseverance. You have to be focused and committed. We remain competitive.”
The Big Belly BBQ Battle is Davenport’s annual barbecue competition, hosted by the Davenport Merchants. While the turnout this year did not exactly meet expectations, the overall experience proved well, even despite these challenging, uncertain times, explained president Bonnie JoSanger.
“The turnout has not been as good as we had hoped,” she said. “The COVID had a little bit of something to do with it. But it has been good. A lot of folks [came] for the raffle, they have been decent.”
As an annual city event, residents love the barbecue contest, and they come out to attend and participate regardless of the circumstances, she said.
“The local people know it happens every year, so they expect it, and they look forward to it,” she said. “I enjoy just seeing the people are happy and the food is good, and everybody is happy. We expect things to be bigger and better.”