Grilling festival showcases all the Big Green Egg can do
By Michelle Farnham
Nov. 2, 2023
PENSACOLA – The weather might be cooling down, but the grills are heating up! The 11th annual Pensacola EggFest is back for its 11th year, serving up unlimited samples of grilled delights prepared on that instantly recognizable kamado-style grill, The Big Green Egg. Held at the Blue Wahoos Stadium, 351 W. Cedar Street in Pensacola, EggFest is presented by Kia Autosport and runs from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12.
So what can ticket-holders expect? Admission gets you into the stadium where you can bounce from table-to-table, enjoying freshly grilled bites from each of the cook teams, while marveling at how versatile the Big Green Egg can be. Beef, pork, chicken, seafood – even pizza and desserts can be created, and cook teams will be looking to earn points with flavor, creativity and presentation.
“We have everything from barbecue to dessert to paella,” event founder and co-organizer Jerold Hall said. “You name it, these guys can come up with whatever they want – we had bacon-wrapped dates and smoked mullet dip win it one year. That’s one of the cools things about this. You want to cut your grilling chops? Go cook against different recipes!”
More than 40 cook teams are competing for grilling glory, with prizes going to the top three Judges’ Choice and top three People’s Choice teams, as well as one team that best represents “the Spirit of EggFest.”
This year’s panel of judges includes award-winning chef and TV star Big Moe Cason, Iraq War veteran and New York Times best-selling author Kevin Lacz, columnist Sean Dietrich, and chefs Bob Trudnak and New Zealand’s Michael Jeffries.
“Probably 60 to 70 percent of our teams return every year,” Hall added. “We have a great, loyal following: restaurants, backyard guys, recovering chefs, and everything in between. It’s a lot of fun.”
He pointed to perennial favorites T Grill With E’s, Legendary Marine’s Yacht Q team, Momentum Church, Hot Spots Charters, and Pensacola Celebrity Chef Dan Dunn to be strong contenders for the 2023 title.
Hall said they are able to welcome just a few more cook teams before they hit their cap, if any groups are interested.
“This year’s ticket sales and team registration has out-paced last year’s event,” Hall said. “We cut the teams off at 50 because of space. You think of a stadium as being big, but it’s full of seats! We always have a few last-minute entries. We’ve got some new restaurants coming, including Ruby Slipper Cafe and The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint.”
While spots for Friday’s VIP dinner and Iron EggChef Battle have sold out, general admission tickets are still available online for $55. Children under age 10 are admitted free.
Once the smoke has cleared and the charcoal cooled, there’s the business of what to do with all 70 of the once-used Big Green Eggs. Escambia Electric Motor Service will be selling off the demo grills at a discount ranging from $150 to $436; interested grillers should call 850-432-1577 to place a $100 non-refundable deposit.
EggFest is a regional event held in locations all around the country. The Pensacola installment serves flavor, fun, and fundraising. Proceeds support Rally! Foundation, which provides financial assistance to families of children battling cancer; as well as Manna Food Pantry, Studer Community Institute, and other local charities. Since 2013, this volunteer-run event has raised over $650,000 for local charities.
For more information, tickets, or to enter your cook team, visit www.pensacolaeggfest.com.
Photos courtesy of Pensacola EggFest