Bobby Sarazen is a homegrown LaBelle native who’s roots run deep in the local community. Born in Fort Myers, and raised in LaBelle, he attended the Hendry County School system, and graduated from LaBelle High School in 2000.
When Bobby was 11 years old, his father, Jack Sarazen, was killed in a tragic vehicle accident. Jack was a Hendry County Sheriff’s Office Deputy, a LaBelle Volunteer Fire Department Firefighter (LVFD), and he worked for the Division of Forestry. In Bobby’s eyes, his dad was, and will always be, his hero.
Bobby’s mom, Jackie, was also a driving force behind helping him become the man he is today. He credits her with being supportive and always backing his decisions. In his words, “she’s the best mom a son could ask for.” Also Bobby’s stepfather, Robert, has been there for him and supportive of his BBQ ambitions.
Growing up, Bobby’s father constantly reminded him that they were put on this Earth to provide service to and for others. In Bobby’s mind, there was never any question about his career path. He was going to be a firefighter and help others in need. While in high school, he was also a member of the LVFD’s Explorer program. This only fueled his drive to follow his dreams of being a firefighter.
After graduation, Bobby enrolled in the Fort Myers Fire Academy and became a certified firefighter. He also attended Edison Community College to obtain his Emergency Medical Technician Certification. Bobby was then hired on with the LaBelle Volunteer Fire Department.
After a few years with LFVD, Bobby decided to leave so that he could pursue bigger dreams and opportunities. He spent some time working for a few other Fire Departments, and then started down in Collier County Emergency Services where he has worked for the past year and a half. Bobby stated that although it is often a difficult and heartbreaking career, it is also “the best job in the world.” Knowing that he can help people makes it all worthwhile.
Over the past five years, Bobby has also worked as a trauma technician at Lee Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Room and a NASCAR firefighter as well. For the last year and a half, he has proudly represented the “Pink Heals Southwest Florida” which is a nonprofit organization that shows love and support to those battling cancer within the local community.
He stated that he “has a passion for cooking” and really enjoys being in the kitchen. Two years ago, he started dabbling in competitive BBQ. And as they say – the rest is history.
In fact, Bobby enjoyed the BBQ competitions so much that he purchased a large competition sized smoker from Custompits.com out of Atlanta, GA. Although a big part of his heart will always be in the emergency service industry helping others, there has been an increasing itch to be an entrepreneur as well. He saw a market for barbeque catering in the local area, and went to work developing his product and business. Ready to make a name for himself, he applied for his license and that is when Bobby’s Bangin’ Bob-B-Que, LLC was born.
Bobby’s Bangin’ Bob-B-Que has already accumulated several impressive awards. Most recently, Bobby and his smoker took first place for ribs, second place for pulled pork, and second place for BBQ chicken at the 6th Annual Smoke in the Mangroves at Fort Myers Beach. This is quite impressive considering there were 22 teams competing. One judge even told Bobby that “his flavor changing BBQ sauce” was one of the best he had ever tasted. The recognition his food is receiving makes him feel humbled, honored and proud.
Although the recipe is a secret, Bobby is proud to note that his sauce is gluten free, and made without ketchup or tomatoes. Whatever is in this condiment keeps folks coming back for more. His St. Louis Style ribs and his specialty bacon recipes are so popular that he sells out at every event he attends. It seems that the secret is not only in the sauce, but also in the dry rub and the smoker. Local chatter and social media are helping spread the word about the ‘deliciousness’ of his products like a wildfire. Dale Conyers with the Caloosa Belle was quick to note that “they were the best ribs he had ever had,” and “the meat just fell off of the bone.”
Along with attending competition BBQ events, Bobby makes it a top priority to donate as much of his time, knowledge and resources as possible to support local fundraisers. A lifelong Hendry County resident, he has a deeply rooted sense of commitment to LaBelle and its residents.
Even though he does not have a storefront location, Bobby will still set up his grill in various locations around LaBelle. For now, he wants to focus on the catering aspect of his new and quickly growing business. He is still testing out recipes and side items, but rest assured he is quickly developing a complete menu that will include meat treats and sides.
Bobby will be donating his time and resources at the ‘10th Annual Tom Stock’ fundraising event. Proceeds from this event will go to the “Miles For Smiles Foundation” which is an Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning program for Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom Veterans suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
To keep up to date with Bobby’s Bangin’ Bob-B-Que, like his business Facebook page, follow him on Instagram at bobbysbanginbbq, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.