Big Daddy’s Barbeque: A 30 Year Tradition
Founding Pitmasters: Ron Whyte & Bob Edmond
Thirty years ago, friends Ron Whyte, Bob Edmond and Gene Sampson spent days having friendly BBQ cook-offs in the park, competing to find the best flavor combinations. Collectively, they came up with something amazing and people started to notice. They began to sell their hickory-smoked ribs, and Big Daddy’s Barbeque emerged.
In 1993, Sampson came through the Neighborhood Development Center’s (NDC) first entrepreneur training class with Aurora St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation, in which he wrote a business plan for Big Daddy’s Barbeque. “Before you start a business, make sure you realize how much you have to put into it to make it work,” said Whyte. “It’s more than cooking. You have to become an expert in all things you never thought about before.” This included adapting their traditional cooking process, the outdoor smokehouse, to comply with city health codes. the three pit masters worked tirelessly to replicate their traditional smokehouse process. After several iterations, the culinary artists arrived at the perfect indoor process that has won them high accolades, including Best of BBQ from City Pages.
With ongoing assistance and loans from NDC for equipment, Big Daddy’s continued to grow. Today, they are a staple business in the Frogtown community that has continued to support the surrounding neighborhoods and hire locally.
“You gotta grow. You must be able to change and change for the better…NDC has been tremendous.”
New Ownership, Same Great BBQ
For nearly a decade, Manuel Tacuri worked alongside Ron and Bob at Big Daddy’s Barbeque, learning firsthand what made their BBQ so remarkable. When the duo retired in 2017, they knew Big Daddy’s would be in good hands with Tacuri, making him Big Daddy’s new owner. Since the switch, Big Daddy’s Barbeque has maintained its award winning flavors and adapted to the ever-evolving neighborhood.
New owners of Big Daddy’s BBQ. Pictured: Manuel Tacuri (left), Not pictured: Yolanda Plaza