Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Florida >
Aug 18, 2006 05:53 PM

Top Ribs in FLA

Here are my top three...please share yours.

1. Flanigans (although it's a chain and not a BBQ joint), I have yet to savour better ribs in any of the state's BBQ joints.

2. Shorty's their spare rib lunch special is hard to beat.

3. Mama Lucy's soul style from the hood of Opa Locka, NW 119th St and 22nd Ave. Take out works well for me!

I'm just getting over my rib burnout from a year or so ago, so I look forward to some great recomendations. Thanks FLA!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 1. Uncle Jones in Altamonte. Get a slab to go, (not worth eating in) and order some collards and cornbread if you want, maybe some sweet potato pie to go with it. Wonderful.

    2. Shorty's/Shivers -- I just renewed my rib fix last weekend at the Shorty's in South Miami on Bird Road. Good as ever. I devoured a rib (spare, not babyback) plate, some corn, two orders of the best slaw in the world, and a sliced (not pulled) pork sandwich. Don't be fooled by any of the other sauces. The pulled pork comes mixed with a sweet sauce. Ugh. Get the sliced and the original sauce. Also ate half a chicken breast, tasted some babybacks and had two huge glasses of sweet tea.
    The Homestead vesion is called Shiver's. Same food, just as good. Maybe a bit simpler menu. Sauce is the same, as is the coleslaw.

    3. Blackwater's in Orlando. Just opened a second location in north College Park. I describe their style as Kanasas City, because they serve sauce with the meal. Bother the sauce. The dry-rubbed ribs are more Memphis style and pretty good.

    I've also had good barbecue at People's and Lucille's in Miami, but only once for each so I'm hesitant to rank them. I did like People's a lot, however.

    I know, Tom Jenkins and all the rest. I'm researching a book on Florida barbecue, so load this thread up with lots of information so I can pick and choose where to go.


    1 Reply
    1. re: Bob Mervine

      Well Bob, if you are looking down from that Smorgasbord in the sky, I have come out of hiding to thank you for your Shriver's BBQ recommendation. Although they are "now" unrelated to Shorty's, they are eerily similar, well everything but the food that is! Shriver's Spare Ribs are the best I have ever savored! Head and heels above their bobbsey twin to the North. Thanks again for that and all the other gems you gave us back in the day. May you RIP.

    2. Dammit Bob, I really need to try Blackwater's and Uncle Jones (especially because I live so close to the latter). Is O-Boys any good? I pass the one on Fairbanks in Winter Park all the time.

      By the way, I've tried the Bubbalou's on Lee Road twice now, and I still prefer Sonny's.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

        O-Boys isn't bad, but to me it has nothing special beyond the usual list of meats and sauce. I'll eat there, but I won't go out of my way to eat there.

        I heard about the new Blackwater's location on the radio last night. I thought they said it was on Edgewater, which would put it in College Park. I am trying to get more details. If so, that might be a more convenient location for you.

        Another place I should have mentioned and forgot is called "It's A Secret," which refers to the cook's wonderful sauce. She does both Jamaican style and smoked chicken as well as ribs and pulled pork. Don't recall if they serve beef. Located just north of Curry Ford Road on Bumby on the east side in a tiny strip mall. You have to look for the signs. She makes powerful good 'cue, a nice tangy sauce and good sides.

        As for Bubbalou's, they fall pretty much in the same category as O-Boy's for me, except for the lamb and those wonderful cold beers in the tub.


        1. re: Bob Mervine

          Ditto what Bob said.

          Uncle Jones and Blackwater's get my vote, although I havent visited Blackwater's College Park location yet.

          O-boys and Bubbalous are just OK.

      2. Forgot to mention Wildsides's in Thornton Park. He has a couple of other locations, at least one I know of in Kissimmee, but the original is the only one I've dined at.

        All the meat is smoked, ribs are quite good and really doesn't need sauce. Chicken is the best, again it doesn't need sauce. I also like his pork -- he does a Cuban style sandwich with the pork that is quite good.


        1 Reply
        1. re: Bob Mervine

          I second the St. Louis ribs at Wildside's in Thornton Park (downtown Orlando). Best ribs in Orlando, and I think I've tried them all. No sauce needed at all - their dry rub with the smoky flavors is heaven.

          I'm glad to hear Uncle Jone's is still going - I need to get back up there. Those were damn good ribs!

          And I just had ribs at Bono's in Gainesville and they were very impressive. Smoky, and literally falling off the bone tender. Great sauces, too.

        2. st louie style smokies-it's the "pink ring" @ Smokey Bones FLA/USA

          6 Replies
          1. re: netmover

            Better get ready for a change. Darden is testing a new concept to replace Smokey Bones, I think it will be gone in 2 years.


              1. re: Bob Mervine

                I guess their going to try to make some of thier "corporate-que" that can actually be eaten by people that like barbecue.

                I have a rule that say's never flame others for their opinions, but I'll make an exception for Smokey Bones. They are, if not the absolute worst, at least one of the poorest excuses for a barbecue restaurant. Indedible, yes, even I couldn't choke it down and I lived on MRE's and vat can rations for years.

                Televisions and donughts do not a BBQ place make.

                1. re: bkhuna

                  I'll second that about Smoky Bones. Certainly we can do better than that here on this forum with all the foodies that hang out. I mean if we do Smoky Bones, let's just go ahead and stick Sonny's on this list(ok let's not).

                  The best ribs I've had in Fla was at the Taste of Pinellas by a vendor called Brothers BBQ. I think they have a stall at one of the Flea Markets in the Clearwater area, off Ft Harrison Rd. I have the card stashed at home.

                  1. re: bkhuna

                    Can you provide an address ? I drive that road frequently and have never not seen a flea market or 'que joint. There used to be a eat outside/take it with you place just south of Morton Plant Hospital; but it closed at least 2 years ago.

                    The only decent 'que that I've found in Pinellas County is Eli's in Dunedin. But he's open only on Friday and Saturday from noon to 6pm. I concur re: The Bones.

                    1. re: bkhuna

                      Smokey Bones is a chain(I believe Darden Restaurants ala red lobster).....nuff said. Too corporate not enough soul to be respectable.

                      Darden Restaurants
                      5900 Lake Ellenor Dr, Orlando, FL 32809

                      Smokey Bones
                      2693 Gulf To Bay Blvd, Clearwater, FL 33759

                2. They have opened a place called Rocky River Grillhouse in a suburb south of Clevland that retains some of the look of Smokey Bones, but with a radically different menu that doesn't have much, if any bbq.
                  What they will do with the concept is up in the air -- but Darden has been pretty clear that it isn't happy with Smokey Bones in its current configuration and they have already redone the menu to "broaden its base" to be more attractive to non-bbq lovers.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bob Mervine

                    That makes particular sense outside the traditional barbecue belt. I suspect that many middle- to upper-middle-class customers are put off by the sight of pink pork. As for the South, I wonder if some of Smokey Bones' lukewarm success in its original form comes down to enduring attachment to local styles of 'cue among people who care about the stuff. And maybe the people who want to eat ribs in a homogenized theme-restaurant prefer mushy, baked baby-backs.

                    [This chunk of the thread should probably be retitled and moved to Chains.]