Troy’s Bar-Be-Que, Boynton Beach, Boca Raton
Barbecue is a family affair here, with pitmaster Troy Davis running the operation alongside his sons. St. Louis–style ribs are Davis’ specialty, and he’s obsessive about preparation, choosing his meat carefully and soaking it in a combination of vinegar and water. For his fire, Davis is looking for “no flames, just smoke.” He uses both charcoal and oak and bastes his ribs every 15 to 20 minutes until they fall off the bone. And if you want sauce, you have to ask for it: “A good rib doesn’t need anything on it.”
2. Off Tha Bone BBQ, West Palm Beach
Daniel Spann mans the grill at this food truck that morphed into a take-out restaurant. Assisted by his brother, he turns out tender Memphis-style ribs, formidable smoked turkey legs, pulled pork (accompanied by a Carolina sweet mustard sauce), and smoked sausage. Pair your choice with collard greens or pigeon peas and rice, but be sure to save room for either the pecan pound cake or sweet potato pie. Off Tha Bone may still be under the radar but it won’t stay that way for long. (561-294-9717)
3. Pig-Sty BBQ, Boynton Beach
Pitmaster Bryan Tyrell’s credentials are impeccable. After growing up in Kansas City, he collaborated with mentor Jeff Stehney to win the American Royal World Championship two years in a row. His definition of true KC barbecue is simple: “In Kansas City we know how to smoke more than one animal.” As a result, Pig-Sty’s eclectic menu includes turkey, Carolina pulled pork, and Texas-style beef ribs. Everything is made from scratch on the premises, from the fresh-cut fries and onion rings to the ice cream created using seasonal fruits.
4. Park Avenue BBQ Grille, Multiple Locations
Entrepreneur and restaurant veteran Dean Lavallee founded PA BBQ in Lake Park in 1988. Today, his eight locations specialize in Virginia Beach barbecue, an unsung style that is tomato-based, slightly sweet and slightly spicy, with a bit of vinegar in the background to supply acidity. Park Avenue’s inclusive menus feature four seafood items and a plant-based barbecue (“you need different bait for every fishing hole,” observes Lavallee). Purists can indulge in St. Louis ribs, brisket, or pulled pork, accompanied by a roll call of classic sides such as baked beans and collard greens.
5. Stuart’s Fish & Pig, Stuart
Co-owner Ken Stuart intended to open a smokehouse specializing in fish dip, but customers kept asking for barbecue. “In the beginning we offered [a Texas-style] brisket one day each week, and it’s now our best-selling item,” he says. Stuart spent three decades in Tennessee and North Carolina, so he also has a soft spot for pulled pork with Memphis and Carolina-inspired sauces. Freshness is paramount at his 24-seater, which closes each day when the meat runs out. “With barbecue you either sell out or you sell leftovers, and we don’t sell leftovers.”
6. Okeechobee Steakhouse, West Palm Beach
The oldest steakhouse in Florida has recently announced the Okeechobee Prime Barbecue Pop-up, taking place in its parking lot on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or sellout. This roadside lunch will feature various meats by the pound – cooked over oak or cherry wood for ultimate flavor – as well as sandwiches, sides, beer, wine, and desserts like New York cheesecake. Patrons can look forward to weekly specials such as “The Boss Hog,” a sandwich of smoked pork smoked pork belly burnt ends, smoked onion in bacon and butter, and homemade southern bourbon glaze sauce.