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Lake Wales
Monday, July 22, 2024

Tillmans BBQ Wins RBBQ Competition at Rock n Brews


by James Coulter

Tillman Lee Nelson, owner of Tillmans BBQ, sells a BBQ sauce made from a recipe that has been in the family since after World World II. His grandmother, Ann Carlson Nelson, learned it from her mother, who had learned it from her uncle after his service in the war as a sharpshooter and trainer.

“After the war, he returned to his hometown of Hialeah where he developed the recipe,” Ann said in a quote on the website. “He did not share it with anyone except his sister, Frieda Gaylord, my mother. We do not share the recipe with anyone other than family. I remember as a little girl, eating ribs cooked with the sauce. They were wonderful! Sometimes at home with my Dad doing the barbecue or at Uncle Joe’s when he did the cooking. They were party animals!”

Tillman BBQ was created to honor her memory. Tillman Lee Nelson has been barbecuing since 2008. He won his first competition in 2013, and he has been competing with his signature red sauce ever since.

“In 2008 I got tired of replacing burners in my gas grill,” his website states. “I went out and bought myself the Weber silver charcoal grill for $100 at Home Depot. Since then I’ve learned fire control and that began my passion for slow-smoked BBQ. In 2013 I entered my first BBQ competition. I won first place in pork shoulder and best overall backyard cook team. I’ve been hooked on competition BBQ ever since.”

Tillman and his BBQ team won first place as the grand champions in the professional barbecue division at Rock n Brews hosted last weekend at Camp Mack in Lake Wales.

This year was their second time attending the annual event. Both the beautiful venue and the lively camaraderie with their fellow barbecue teams inspired him to return this year.

“This is a beautiful venue with great people, and Kevin [DeNall] puts on a killer event,” Tillman said. “He takes care of all the cook teams. We will be back every year.”

Camp Mack, a Guy Harvey Lodge, Marina, & RV Resort, hosted its annual Rock n Brews event last weekend. Several hundred people visited to sample finger-licking barbecue and listen to great finger-picking tunes.

More than 42 teams arrived from across the state to compete. This year’s turnout proved to be their biggest yet, explained Kevin DeNall, event coordinator. He owes their success to the resort and its effort to put on an event worth coming to time and time again.

“We love Rock n Brews,” he said. “Every year, it’s great for the camp. The camp smells great. It is outdoors. It is a lot of fun with a lot of great teams. This year was great. We had a lot of

enthusiasm from our teams. We are a qualifying team contest and teams cook hard. It is a great attendance. A lot of fun. A lot of great fun [barbecue teams] that were out here in pro and backyard teams.”

For more information about future events at Camp Mack, a Guy Harvey Lodge, Marina, & RV Resort, visit their website at: https://guyharveycampmack.com/

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Staff Reporter

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