Tampa, Florida is renowned for its vibrant city life, rich cultural tapestry, and diverse culinary scene. Barbecue stands out as a beloved local tradition and an enticing attraction for travelers, offering authentic Southern flavors in abundance.
American barbecue has deep roots, tracing back to indigenous peoples who smoked meat over open fires in pre-colonial times. It has evolved into a complex cuisine with distinct regional styles, ranging from the smoky sweetness of Kansas City ribs to the tangy spice of Memphis pulled pork.
This article explores 11 noteworthy BBQ restaurants in Tampa, showcasing how they adapt traditional techniques and recipes to create mouthwatering dishes that delight both tourists and locals.
Tampa’s thriving food scene offers first-rate barbecue fare for discerning diners and casual enthusiasts. From family-owned joints with culinary history to innovative eateries redefining comfort food, these featured restaurants showcase remarkable skills in their craft, catering to various tastes and preferences.
Tampa’s BBQ landscape offers deliciously tender meats, perfectly balanced flavors, and inventive side dishes, sauces, and accompaniments that surpass ordinary expectations. From succulent brisket with zesty coleslaw to spare ribs with sticky-sweet sauce and macaroni and cheese, there are abundant options within Tampa’s city limits.
4 Rivers Smokehouse
Rivers Smokehouse, a family-owned business established in Florida in 2009, has gained a reputation for its exceptional slow-smoked barbecue and mouthwatering dishes.
This notable restaurant chain has multiple locations throughout the Sunshine State, including its tenth establishment in South Tampa. Its prime location near downtown Raymond James Stadium offers easy accessibility for both locals and visitors seeking scrumptious barbecued delicacies.
Rivers Smokehouse, founded by John, stands out for its bold flavors and innovative ingredient combinations, setting it apart in the world of BBQ. This dedication led to Southern Living naming it the ‘South’s Best BBQ’ joint in 2020.
Rivers Smokehouse also offers an array of homestyle sides and freshly-made desserts prepared daily at their bakery.
Located at 623 S MacDill Ave. in Tampa, FL, Rivers Smokehouse operates six days a week from 11:00 AM until 08:00 PM except Sundays when they remain closed.
Patrons can enjoy delicious meals while experiencing excellent service provided by attentive staff members who are passionate about maintaining the high-quality standards that define this renowned eatery.
Sarge’s Smokehouse Bbq Llc
Sarge’s Smokehouse BBQ LLC, a well-established food truck business in Tampa Florida, has been tantalizing the taste buds of barbecue enthusiasts since 2013. Known for its unique blend of Southern BBQ styles and commitment to quality ingredients, this Veteran-owned venture offers an unforgettable dining experience that keeps customers coming back for more.
With their recent expansion into the Cass Street Food Hall (NoHo Junction), patrons can now enjoy Sarge’s award-winning creations without the need to chase down the mobile eatery.
It owes its success to the founders’ extensive military background, providing them with the opportunity to sample America’s finest barbecues. Drawing from this experience, they crafted a distinctive version of Southern BBQ that appeals to barbecue aficionados from all walks of life.
By consistently delivering mouthwatering dishes made with love and passion, Sarge’s Smokehouse effectively showcases its dedication to preserving time-honored culinary traditions while incorporating innovative ideas.
Sarge’s Smokehouse stands out in Tampa’s barbecue scene with an exceptional range of homemade rubs and sauces crafted by a skilled team. These signature condiments elevate each dish and embody the fusion of traditional techniques with modern flavors that make American barbeque special.
It offers an unparalleled gastronomic journey through authentic Southern BBQ cuisine, whether dining at its new location inside NoHo Junction or savoring every bite from its iconic food truck.
Konan BBQ is a family-owned restaurant in Tampa, established in 2011, serving mouth-watering barbeque dishes to both locals and tourists. Conveniently located at 1510 N. Hubert Ave., Tampa, Florida 33607, it offers an accessible and authentic Southern dining experience.
Operating hours vary depending on the day, with Thursdays open from 11:30 am to 7 pm while Fridays extend until 10 pm; Saturdays and Sundays are also available for longer hours between noon and either 7 or 10 pm respectively. This makes Konan BBQ a perfect destination for both lunchtime breaks and weekend gatherings.
The establishment prides itself on its warm atmosphere and friendly service, ensuring that every guest feels welcome and well-cared for during their visit.
Its popularity in the Tampa Bay area is owed to its delicious menu offerings, crafted using tried-and-true family recipes passed down through generations. Diners can expect the best in taste and quality, making it a must-visit destination.
This eatery offers succulent smoked meats, and flavorful sides like collard greens and macaroni salad, and celebrates Southern heritage cuisine.
MISSION BBQ in Tampa, Florida is a notable establishment serving mouth-watering dishes with a focus on great food and outstanding service.
MISSION BBQ in Tampa, FL, located at 5602 W Waters Ave, is staffed by a team of passionate individuals dedicated to delivering an exceptional dining experience. With a comfortable atmosphere, this popular eatery is perfect for indulging in your favorite barbecue delights.
Open six days a week (Monday to Saturday) from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM and on Sundays from 11:30 AM to 8:00 PM, offering ample opportunities to enjoy their delicious offerings. Interested individuals can apply to join their dedicated team through the ‘Join Our Team’ page on their website.
The success of MISSION BBQ stems from the exceptional quality of its food and the sincere and strong character of its staff. This commitment to excellence has positioned it among the top barbecue restaurants in Tampa, Florida.
As more people discover this hidden gem in Town N Country, it continues to receive praise as a premier destination for barbecue lovers seeking both flavorful sustenance and outstanding service.
Wicked Oak Barbeque
Wicked Oak Barbeque in Tampa, Florida is renowned for its delectable slow-smoked meats and savory accompaniments. With a commitment to simplicity and authenticity, this culinary haven offers patrons a memorable gastronomic experience and a taste of true Southern barbeque culture.
Located at 6607 N Florida Ave., open five days a week, providing ample opportunity for both locals and visitors to enjoy its mouth-watering fare.
Operating hours are 11:00 am to 7:00 pm from Tuesday to Thursday, 11:00 am to 8:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and 11:00 am to 5:00 pm on Sundays. Despite being closed on Mondays, the restaurant maintains its dedication to exceptional food and service throughout the rest of the week.
Wicked Oak Barbeque’s harmonious blend of time-honored techniques and fresh ingredients has earned it widespread acclaim. With exquisite cuisine steeped in tradition, patrons are left with fond memories and satiated appetites, longing to return for another unforgettable meal.
Seasoned travelers highly recommend embarking on a culinary journey into the heartland of Southern barbeque in Tampa’s vibrant landscape.
Jimbo’s Pit Bar B-Q
Jimbo’s Pit Bar B-Q in Tampa, FL, serving since 1970, is a renowned family-owned barbecue establishment. Located at 4103 W Kennedy Blvd, they offer an extensive menu of delectable, perfectly marinated, and cooked barbecue dishes.
It stands out from competitors with high-quality food and larger portions at half the price. Its popularity is due to its flavorful offerings and exceptional customer service.
The restaurant specializes in seasoned ribs, chicken, and pork dishes that have garnered it numerous loyal customers over many years. In addition to dine-in services, Jimbo’s Pit Bar B-Q also offers catering options suitable for various events ranging from small parties to large gatherings.
A visit to Tampa is incomplete without savoring the mouthwatering meals at Jimbo’s Pit Bar B-Q. Open six days a week from 7 AM to 9 PM (excluding Sundays), this beloved institution offers exquisite barbecue delights. Residents and visitors in southern Florida should make a trip to experience a culinary tradition full of unforgettable flavors.
Big Mel’s Smoke House Bbq
Big Mel’s Smoke House BBQ in Tampa, FL, located at 8916 N Nebraska Ave, is a renowned establishment known for its exceptional barbeque offerings. With a Google rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, this restaurant consistently impresses both locals and visitors with its delectable food options.
It is praised for its perfectly cooked ribs, a standout menu item not to be missed. While the operating hours are limited compared to other establishments, it showcases the restaurant’s dedication to quality over quantity.
Open only on Thursdays and Fridays from 12 PM to 8 PM and Saturdays from 11:30 AM to 8 PM, patrons can expect freshly prepared dishes during these select times. It is worth noting that the establishment remains closed from Sunday through Wednesday.
When considering dining options in Tampa, Florida, Big Mel’s Smoke House BBQ is a top contender for authentic barbeque cuisine. Despite its limited availability, this eatery has become a culinary gem within the community, known for its high-quality fare and excellent customer reviews.
A visit to Big Mel’s Smoke House BBQ promises unparalleled taste sensations that will leave lasting impressions upon all who partake in their sumptuous offerings.
Bj’S Alabama Bbq!
BJ’s Alabama BBQ in Tampa is a hidden gem with a rich history and a wide selection of mouth-watering dishes. Since 1958, this family-owned eatery has been delighting the local community with its exceptional barbecue offerings for over six decades.
Its unpretentious atmosphere and focus on quality food keep patrons coming back for more. The menu pays homage to traditional Southern flavors with a unique twist, offering succulent smoked ribs, tender pulled pork sandwiches, and flavorful chicken wings with homemade sauces.
It offers a variety of scrumptious side dishes like collard greens, baked beans, and coleslaw, prepared using time-honored recipes. Friendly staff members prioritize customer satisfaction above all else, ensuring a welcoming experience at the restaurant.
The cozy environment encourages diners to relax and enjoy their meals without pretensions or distractions. Visitors planning their next culinary adventure in Tampa should not miss the opportunity to savor the exquisite tastes offered at this iconic establishment.
The Brisket Shoppe
The Brisket Shoppe in Tampa is a noteworthy establishment, known for its focus on crafting the perfect brisket and unwavering commitment to quality. It has earned a reputation as one of the best BBQ houses in town.
Located at 3501 N Armenia Ave, Tampa, FL 33607, United States, The Brisket Shoppe offers both locals and visitors alike a chance to experience true culinary artistry.
At The Brisket Shoppe, it is not about adhering to strict timeframes or temperatures; instead, they emphasize precision and expertise when preparing their signature dish.
Their menu boasts an array of delicious options such as Prime cuts, Wagyu beef, beef ribs, brisket burritos, and brisket tacos that are chef-inspired and locally sourced whenever possible.
Operating hours for this esteemed eatery are Thursday through Saturday from 11 AM to 4 PM while remaining closed Sunday through Wednesday.
Patrons will be impressed by the dedication to excellence. This passion-driven BBQ house creates mouthwatering dishes that showcase skillful craftsmanship and leave guests yearning for more.
The Brisket Shoppe stands proudly among Tampa’s must-visit barbecue destinations for anyone seeking exceptional brisket amid a vibrant dining atmosphere.
Al’s Finger Licking Good Bar-B-Que
Established in 2003 as a concession stand, Al’s Finger Licking Good Bar-B-Que has evolved into a popular sit-in restaurant located in Ybor City since 2009.
The success of this business can be attributed to its Tennessee-style barbeque methods and mouthwatering menu offerings.
The preparation process at Al’s Finger Licking Good Bar-B-Que involves using a dry rub on the meats before cooking and incorporating a tomato-based sauce during the barbequing stage.
Ribs are smoked for no less than two hours, while chicken takes around 2.5 hours to reach perfection.
Pork butts undergo an extensive smoking period of six to eight hours, whereas beef briskets require approximately four hours in the smoker.
To complement these succulent main dishes, patrons can enjoy freshly cooked sides prepared daily alongside their meals.
Not only does Al’s offer scrumptious barbequed delights, but it also boasts an impressive selection of delectable pies and cakes as dessert options.
Located at 1609 Angel Oliva Senior St, Tampa with free parking available both behind the restaurant and on-street, visitors have easy access to indulge in some authentic Tennessee-style BBQ goodness.
With operating hours being Friday through Saturday from 11:30 am – 7 pm and Sundays from 12 pm – 5 pm, one should not miss out on experiencing Al’s unique flavors when exploring Tampa’s culinary scene.
Hank’s Catfish & Bbq
Hank’s Catfish & BBQ is another noteworthy establishment in Tampa, Florida, offering patrons an authentic southern dining experience.
Located at 8546 N Dale Mabry Hwy, this family-style barbecue restaurant offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere that appeals to both locals and visitors. The iconic A-framed building with the pink pig signpost captures attention and invites passersby to discover the culinary delights within.
It offers a menu of mouth-watering dishes inspired by traditional Southern recipes. Their smoked meats, prepared with time-honored techniques, are complemented by homemade sauces that enhance the flavors of each dish.
Guests can enjoy classic sides like macaroni and cheese or collard greens, perfectly complementing the succulent main courses. The dining experience is further enriched with weekday specials, allowing guests to sample various items at affordable prices.
Hank’s Catfish & BBQ also boasts convenient operating hours. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 AM to 9 PM and Sundays from noon until 7 PM, it accommodates diners seeking lunchtime sustenance or sumptuous evening meals.
Please note that Hank’s Catfish & BBQ is closed on Mondays. However, it is an ideal destination for anyone craving delicious barbecue fare while visiting Tampa Bay area landmarks or exploring North Dale Mabry Highway businesses.
Frequently Asked Questions
A BBQ restaurant typically specializes in grilled and smoked meats, offering a variety of menu options such as ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and chicken, often accompanied by traditional side dishes like coleslaw, baked beans, and cornbread.
“Barbeque” and “barbecue” are alternative spellings of the same word. The variation in spelling primarily depends on regional or personal preferences, with “barbecue” being more common in American English and “barbeque” often used in informal contexts.
The term “barbecue” originated from the Spanish word “barbacoa,” which referred to a cooking method used by indigenous peoples in the Caribbean. Over time, it evolved and spread throughout the Americas, eventually becoming associated with outdoor grilling and smoking of meats.
Barbeque typically includes various types of meats, such as pork, beef, chicken, or ribs, which are cooked low and slow over a fire or in a smoker. The meat is often seasoned with a dry rub or marinade and served with barbecue sauce on the side.