James Tillison

James Tillison, Pit Master and Federal Prison Guard for 22 Years; Jonesville, Virginia:

"I started doing barbecue for the family, then the community. Then it just took off from there. My secret is slow cooking. I cook my pork all night long. I cook my ribs six or seven hours, don’t cook them on real high heat. I put a dry rub on them.

Being a prison guard is interesting, very interesting. Never know what’s gonna happen from day to day. We see it all. I got out of college and went straight to prison. 

I like it here in the mountains. This is where I’m gonna retire. I like the things we do around here, like the festivals. People in the mountains are more country, more down home. I like a slow pace. I like a small town. Around town everybody knows “Tilley”. That’s what I like".