The Best Barbecue in Southwest Florida
Everything from saucy ribs to a few things out of the ordinary.
Summer’s sizzle means one thing for food lovers—the return of outdoor cookery. But for when you don’t want to melt in the heat, here is a definitive guide for the smokiest brisket, sandwiches stuffed with tangy pulled pork and baby backs drenched in piquant sauce.
JOINTS THAT ARE JUMPIN’
Finger lickin’ is par for the course. Red-checkered tablecloths and waffled plastic baskets optional.
I Burnt Mine Barbeque (Naples/East Trail): Despite the ominous name, this new place is from a pitmaster champion who has cut his chops at the same Kansas City ’cue competition for more than 20 years. iburntmine.com
The Lodge (Fort Myers River District): Don’t let the ski lodge décor fool you: The menu touts sauces from five states, including the rare Alabama white, to slather on slow-smoked brisket and more. thelodgefl.com
Michelbob’s (Naples/Midtown): For close to 40 years, it has wowed locals and visitors alike with super-tender baby backs. (There’s a take-out-only location on Marco Island.) michelbobs.com
Reuben’s Smokehouse (South Fort Myers): Visitors and locals alike have praised the yardbird and smoky ribs, but the down-home cooking doesn’t stop there (sample meatloaf and pot roast, too). reubenssmokehouse.com
Texas Tony’s (Naples/East Trail): The family who owns it is seeking to expand to Bonita Springs. Good thing, because aside from the barbecue, the fresh-cut fries and cornbread are a cut above. texastonys.com
Food trucks (both counties): From brats to zingy shredded pork, these mobile kitchens are worth a rendezvous: The Butcher’s Son, Smokin’ R’s BBQ, Porker BBQ and Gator John’s BBQ. thebutchersson.com, smokinrs.com, facebook.com/porkerbbq, (239) 823-3547
Even though barbecue was practically invented to be eaten at picnic tables, Neapolitans like to dress things up. If you’re jonesing for a cosmopolitan night on the town but hankering for barbecue, these dishes won’t disappoint.
1500 South: Grilled shrimp and octopus over aged provolone-laced grits doused in house hot sauce
7th Avenue Social: Loaded spicy grilled chicken and cheddar sandwich or bourbon-barbecue-glazed pork belly grits
BrickTop’s: Rack of baby backs with crisp herb-flecked coleslaw and French fries
Jimmy P’s Charred: Hickory-smoked half chicken with new potato salad and local veggies
Both Rib City and Famous Dave’s are barbecue powerhouses with several locations in Southwest Florida. The former got its start right in Fort Myers, and the latter makes a mean St. Louis rib that consistently wins accolades at local food fests.
Updated 7/20/16: TK BBQ, formerly on the list, has closed.