BBP 013: Bryan Mroczka of Sonny’s BBQ Talks Tradition, Updates, and National Pulled Pork Day
Thanks for checking out this session of the BBQ Beat Podcast. This talk with Bryan Mroczka, Head of Pitmaster Operations for Sonny’s BBQ, has been a long time coming. I’ve known Bryan and his family for a few years now, via our mutual involvement with the Florida BBQ Association – me as a judge and the Mroczka’s as the Bull Rush BBQ Team. Not only is Bryan a very talented and highly awarded pitmaster, he and his family are some of the very nicest and welcoming people you’d ever hope to meet.
Sonny’s BBQ Random Acts of BBQ and National Pulled Pork Day
Two areas of focus in this chat with Bryan Mroczka are Sonny’s efforts to give back to their community via the Random Acts of BBQ program and the upcoming October 12th National Pulled Pork Day event in Winter Park, FL.
Sonny’s Random Acts of BBQ
Sonny’s Random Acts of BBQ is a program the company developed to highlight and honor the efforts of individuals who go above and beyond to give selflessly to their communities. Through a nominating platform located on the Random Acts of BBQ website, anyone can nominate people they feel fit this description. If selected by Sonny’s BBQ, the company arranges to roll out a full-service catered BBQ party to honor these amazing people.
Here’s Montana Smith of Sonny’s to explain more about what Random Acts of BBQ is all about.
I think you’ll agree this program is awesome. For more Good BBQ Vibes, check out this second video on the Random Acts of BBQ program.
Sonny’s National Pulled Pork Day – October 12th
Starting this year, Sonny’s BBQ is joining the National Pork Board and the National BBQ Association (NBBQA) to establish a yearly celebration of pulled pork during the Pork Board’s yearly Pork Month event.
Pulled pork is absolutely a BBQ staple here in the south, and Sonny’s is out to prove that its Certified Pitmasters are up to the task of making the largest ever serving of pulled pork.
If you’re interested in attending this National Pulled Pork Day event, be sure to take note of the following details:
- When: October 12, 2016 @ 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
- Where: Central Park, located at W Morse Blvd, Winter Park, FL 32789
- Cost: Free to the Public
- Contact: Montana Smith at 407-660-8888
Time Stamped Show Notes
- [1:35] Bryan shares some historic background on Sonny’s BBQ and its origins under founder Floyd “Sonny” Tillman and his wife Lucille, starting with a single location on Waldo Road in Gainesville, Florida in 1968. Also referenced are the updated locations popping up for Sonny’s with the new Rustic ’68 look and feel.
- [4:23] I ask Bryan to talk about the day-to-day BBQ operations as Sonny’s from a BBQ production standpoint. His answer, in short, is that Sonny’s focuses on producing”Great BBQ, cooked fresh on site every day, served all the time.” National Beef, IBP and Seaboard all get mentions here.
- [6:05] Cooking 4 racks of ribs for competitions is one thing. Smoking 4 cases of ribs daily and serving them up fresh to guests at Sonny’s is another. Brian talks here about the impact Sonny’s Pitmaster certification training classes are having on the restaurant’s food quality and culture.
- [7:49] Bryan walks us through the various phases of the Sonny’s BBQ Pitmaster certification training program. Interesting information here on the way Sonny’s goes deep with BBQ knowledge, even as far as teaching Whole Hog Prep.
- [10:38] We talk about the Sonny’s BBQ Random Acts of BBQ program. This program gives people the chance to nominate those in their communities who are doing good work and giving of themselves to receive a full catered BBQ from Sonny’s. If you know of someone who might be worthy of a Random Act of BBQ, be sure to nominate them here.
- [13:53] Bryan provides information on the upcoming 1st annual National Pulled Pork Day on October 12, 2016. The celebration of this day comes as part of the National Pork Board in conjunction with the National BBQ Association. The event is taking place in Winter Park, FL and is open to the public. More information can be found here.
- [16:52] Bryan and I talk about what his position as Head of Pitmaster Operations for Sonny’s BBQ means to him both personally and professionally. Here, we learn a bit more about Bryan’s background in the restaurant industry.
- [18:34] We round out our talk with a discussion on things Sonny’s BBQ is doing to both hold onto their traditions and core values while also taking stock of how BBQ tastes flavors continue to develop into the future. One phrase rules here: “Redneck Egg Rolls!”
I really enjoyed speaking with Bryan, and I hope you found this session informative and entertaining. Hopefully over the next few months, I’ll be able to provide even more insight into what Sonny’s BBQ is up to in terms of their daily operations, some information from the various Pitmasters themselves, BBQ preparation in the restaurants, and the like.
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