© 2024 Central Florida Public Media. All Rights Reserved.
90.7 FM Orlando • 89.5 FM Ocala
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
The "Sounds of Central Florida" project is a partnership between Central Florida Public Media and UCF's Nicholson School of Communication and Media. Each semester, UCF journalism students pitch story ideas to Central Florida Public Media editors, exploring the idea of what it sounds like to live in Central Florida. Students produce audio-rich, non-narrated feature stories highlighting the people and places unique to the region, some of which are featured on air and online. The project is guided by UCF Senior Instructor Rick Brunson and Central Florida Public Media Assistant News Director Brendan Byrne.

Owner of Casselberry's Joe's Holy Smoke BBQ Serves Up Food And The Word

Sedaya Keita-- Joe Hollis placing seasoned ribs and chicken on his grill outside of his restaurant
Sedaya Keita
Joe Hollis placing seasoned ribs and chicken on his grill outside of his restaurant

It's a warm Tuesday morning and Joe Hollis is beginning his food preparation for the week at a Shell Gas Station in Casselberry. He’s preparing all of the meat, spices and sauces for his restaurant that he operates independently.

“Basically, what I do is I smoke my meat…and so, when I smoke it, it also does a little bit of grilling. But I'm more concerned about the smoke flavor getting into the meat and that’s what you really taste when you taste my barbecue. It’s a laboratory. Its scientific bro,” Hollis says.

Hollis says that because he cares about is work and the impact his food has on his customers he takes his time with the process and handles every aspect with care.

“I cook with passion,” says Hollis. “I care about what you put in your stomach. I care about how the flavor taste to my customer. I cook with passion and when you eat my food you can taste that passion in the food,” Hollis says.

As a devout Christian, Hollis believes his passion for food comes from The Holy Spirit. On Sunday’s he can be found preaching from the pulpit of local community church.

“It's amazing how a mass number of people, variety of people can come to one spot, listen to one sermon and all get something out of it. You feel me? That's just how powerful God's word is,” Hollis says.

Hollis says his faith allows him to remain positive and committed to not only his business but to the community he serves.

“I was gonna walk away several times because I felt like this ain't working out. I wasn’t getting the customers that I needed. But every time when I felt like I was gonna walk away, someone would come and say ‘hey man, can you do a catering job for $300,’? I mean this is the same day I was gonna quit! Every single time when I felt like this ain't gonna work God would just give me confirmation don't give up yet. Keep going at it,” Hollis says.

Hollis says he only has two goals for his restaurant...“just be good and be consistent. That's all I try to do. God has placed me here so I'm gonna do the best that I can here. If he wants me to go higher from here then I'll go,” Hollis says.

Word about Hollis’ food is beginning spread across central Florida. He says he’s thankful.

“I got people that drive from Ocala to come eat my food. People drive from Daytona just to get a loaded potato. So, I'm really passionate thankful,” Hollis says.