By Jenny Starr Perez.
The inviting sight of flames dancing on the grill. The tantalizing scents of slow-cooked meats wafting through the air. Summer has officially arrived and with it comes fired-up fare synonymous with the season: barbecue. Skilled pitmasters and grill masters have long been considered true culinary artisans, dedicating themselves to the craft of creating barbecued perfection. Celebrate the art of grilling, the joy of gathering, and the simple pleasure of savoring exceptional food at four South Florida restaurants that are elevating the BBQ game with a menu exploding with must-try dishes. Sink your teeth into tender, succulent cuts of meat, lovingly smoked to achieve the perfect balance of juiciness and mouthwatering flavor. From juicy steaks and fall-off-the-bone ribs to delectable pulled pork and flavorful chicken, each bite is a testament to each destination’s commitment to providing an unforgettable barbecue experience.
One could say that Tropical Smokehouse is the epitome of Florida craft barbecue. Starting with hand-harvested Florida Oak and Hickory burnt in their own 500-gallon custom-made smoker all the way to heritage-sourced ingredients and techniques that have evolved as collectively unique to Florida, the restaurant that was recently voted #3 in Southern Living’s “The South’s Best Barbecue in Every State” list has effectively helped to put Florida center stage as the barbecue capital of the country. Helmed by James Beard 2023 Nominated “Best Chef South” Chef Rick Mace, who couples his affinity for eclectic BBQ with the sophisticated culinary skills he’s honed through working in fine dining kitchens (namely alongside Daniel Boulud) throughout his career, Tropical Smokehouse is a haven of culinary delight where the flavors of summer burst through in each exquisite bite. eattropical.com
4 Rivers Smokehouse
If you’re looking for either a quick meal or a massive amount of barbecued meats, 4 Rivers Smokehouse has you covered tenfold. One thing is sure: This spot has flavor, and the fan base to prove it. Recently included in Southern Living’s “The South’s Best Barbecue in Every State,” 4 Rivers has 14 locations across Florida, each serving heaping and perfectly cooked helpings of menu highlights such as the popular BBQ platters that include a signature 30-day wet Angus beef brisket rubbed with the brand’s own 4R Brisket Rub and smoked for 18 hours. But 4 Rivers Smokehouse’s culinary prowess doesn’t stop at the meats. The restaurant also boasts an array of delectable sides and accompaniments that perfectly complement the smoky goodness. Delight in tangy Southern coleslaw, creamy baked cheese grits, smoked jalapeños and Texas cornbread—the ideal companions to elevate your barbecue feast. 4rsmokehouse.com
Root & Bone
Bravo’s Top Chef alum Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth have been whipping up some of America’s best comfort food favorites at Root & Bone, the couple’s Southern-inspired restaurant, since it first opened in New York and later Puerto Rico and South Miami. Here, the rich and soulful flavors of the American South take center stage in dishes created with just a hint of international flair, perhaps influenced by Booth’s time spent traveling through Europe and Asia in the early days of her career. One example of this gastronomic juxtaposition is Root & Bone’s finger-licking Barbeque Bruleed Spare Ribs. Offering the perfect mix of smoky, sweet and tangy, these ribs, which are served by half and full rack, represent the best of regional cuisine found in the South, where comfort food reigns supreme, and every dish tells a story of tradition, history, and heartfelt hospitality. rootnbonemia.com