Sparkys Roadside BBQ / Revisited
I visited Sparky's Roadside several months ago and right when they first opened and my first experience back then was solid and I stopped in again last night and I'm pleased that they're still open and serving quality restaurant BBQ.
I did break my own rule as I visited the restaurant at 5:45 and that's kind of in-between peak serving times and that's when you usually get the best representation of a BBQ restaurants best quality.
Started off with 6 of their smoked wings and while they're on the dark side they were just as good as I remember. Smoky, tender and juice. Very flavorable and a great way to get things going.
From there I asked for a 1/2 slab of baby back ribs and they made it into a "combo platter" that included brisket. My sides were mac-n-cheese and collard greens. Some folks fall in love with side dishes at BBQ restaurants but for me - - the meat is the thing (as it should be).
The mac-n-cheese was moist, cheesy and flavorful. The collard greens were also properly cooked, had a nice taste and were also a nice addition to the meal. Their side dish portions are a bit on the small side but both were very good overall.
And now to the meat! The baby back ribs were of nice size, reasonbly meaty. They're still on the dark side as their rub has regular sugars instead of the turbinado which is preferred. Nonetheless, the rub has great flavor infusion with the meat and these were quite good. Not great but quite good. The brisket was just OK. Of course, it wasn't prime time. It had reasonably good flavor. They cut it very thin while I prefer a thicker cut as that's the more traditional method. Overall, the meat experience was quite good.
Service by 'Hans' was friendly and timely. It's a no frills kind of place but it's decoarated nicely and it's comfortable place to stop in and enjoy good, smoked BBQ in a very friendly environment.
Ft. Pierce, FL
Sparky's is one of the better kept secrets of downtown Miami. It's easy to walk right past the place without noticing it.
I stopped in before a concert last night and had a very good dinner here. The menu is bbq basic (as it should be) with some apps like catfish fingers, fried pickles, and hush puppies. Also on the menu are catfish, fish of the day, hamburger, veg burger, and chicken. They also have a pretty good micro brew list.
I ordered the 1/2 rack baby backs with mac n cheese and collards. The half rack was dry rubbed and tasted good without sauce. You could basically just eat these as smoked without sauce since the rub added a nice flavor. I like mine *very* smokey and wished they had a bit more smoke but my preference is hard to find anywhere. The sides were as good as you can get for both m-n-c and collards. M-n-c was good and cheesy and not dry. Collards had been tamed (as they need to be) and cooked with a bit of pork bbq fat for flavor, I believe. They have a homemade vinegar sauce marinated with peppers, carrots, and onions to put on your collards.
Now on to what I absolutely loved about this place. There are 5 homemade sauces that are all very unique and any one of them can please almost anyone. Here's the run down that I got from the owner while talking to him.
Sparky's house bbq sauce - your basic sauce but with a nice smoked flavor
cider vinegar - NC style with a sweet tinge from the cider
guava habanero - nice sweet guava taste and habanero that is slightly tamed by the guava.
lava - jalapeno and poblano (and possibly citrus) sauce that packs a powerful punch. This is a green sauce that does not fit the bill for bbq sauces but goes very well on the ribs. Lots of flavor and heat....watch out!
magma - scotch bonnet peppers and mango with lots of flavor
I tried all of them before I even took a bite of my ribs and told them I could just sit there sampling the sauces all day,. We talked to the owner a bit and discussed various things like peppers. Be on the lookout for a bhut jolokia (ghost pepper) sauce in the near future. The lava, magma, and guava habanero have a south Florida taste to them. All of his sauces are what really sets his place apart from the standard bbq. And the smoked bbq and great sides of course.
As emac said, it's a no frills place but this is what a bbq joint should be. I don't get to visit the area much but I do know that I would be back there whenever I am. I didn't have a cooler with me or I would have taken some q home. They currently don't bottle their sauces for sale but I would have bought 3 of them on the spot. Stop in and check out that they have to offer.
Open for lunch and dinner
Monday through Friday 11:00am - 9pm
Saturday and Sunday from 12pm - 9pm
Sparky's Roadside Barbecue
204 NE 1st Street Miami, Fl 33132