The Sonny’s Pitmaster® Recipe

From The Smoker October 12, 2022
Since '68 graphic

At Sonny’s BBQ, you hear the word Pitmaster a lot. In fact, the next words that usually come up are “Local Pitmasters since ‘68”, and every word of that is true. A Sonny’s Pitmaster is not someone who slow-smokes BBQ and calls it a day. They treat BBQ as an art. From the different cuts of meat to the flavorful sauces and rubs, they know all the ins and outs. A Sonny’s Pitmaster is what makes BBQ and our restaurants special. 

The Origin of the Sonny’s Pitmaster 

Two pictures of Sonny Tillman placed side by side, both outside of his restaurant in Gainesville, Florida.

To find the origin of the Sonny’s Pitmaster, we have to head back to 1968. That’s when Sonny Tillman and his wife Lucille opened the original Sonny’s on Waldo Road in Gainesville, Florida. Sonny knew his community, and every time they came to visit, he served up generous plates of slow-smoked BBQ slathered in Southern hospitality. His signature style influenced much of what our Pitmasters focus on, and that’s the meat, the craft, and the community. 

BBQ Knowledge 

A rack of BBQ Ribs is rubbed with Sonny's BBQ Sauce.

When it comes to BBQ, a Sonny’s Pitmaster knows what’s best. They can show you a cut of meat and exactly how we use it in our signature plates. They know where it comes from, what it looks like, and how to prepare it. Lookin’ for someone with the necessary knowledge for your next grocery trip? Ask a Pitmaster. 

Slow-Smokin’ Skills 

A Sonny's Pitmaster opens a smoker.

Sure, you can tell BBQ apart, but now, it’s time to put that expertise to the test with the smoker. You show a slab of meat to a Sonny’s Pitmaster, they will know exactly what temperature it needs, and how long it has to smoke. Brisket, Pulled Pork, Ribs. You name it, they know it like the back of their hands. Plus, they’re always lookin’ to perfect their craft by enterin’ competitions across the country. When one Pitmaster meets another, it’s a meeting of great BBQ minds. 

Warm, Southern Hospitality 

A group of Sonny's Pitmasters poses at event.

Next to our BBQ, our restaurant guests are number one in our eyes, and a Sonny’s Pitmaster knows that very well. They’re always checkin’ in to make sure your BBQ is flawless and you leave the restaurant satisfied and smiling. But their hospitality goes beyond that. They foster kindness, are leaders in their communities and are always willing to make sure everyone has a seat at the table.  

A Sonny’s Pitmaster Focuses on Passion & Perfection 

A Sonny’s Pitmaster is passionate about BBQ. Sonny Tillman set the standard, and they’re keepin’ his legacy going strong every day. To see them in action, check out some of their stories on YouTube with our Pitmaster Profiles

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