Florida probably isn’t the first or even fifth place you think of when it comes to states with great barbecue, but that doesn’t mean you can’t taste it here.
When the temperatures rise and the shorts come out, you can be sure the grills light up too. And just in time for National Barbecue Day, which falls on May 16 this year.
The origins of barbecue, like most things, are a bit hazy. You can be sure that our ancient ancestors roasted mammoth pieces thousands of years ago. More recently, according to nationaltoday.com, “barbacoa” was mentioned in a Spanish explorer’s account of his journey through the West Indies.
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Needless to say, humans and barbecuing go back a long way.
But how can you celebrate today? The easiest way is to choose from one of Pensacola’s favorite local barbecue spots, listed below.
Water Pig BBQ
- When: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week
- Or: 5 Via de Luna, Pensacola Beach
What’s better than a barbecue at the beach? Water Pig BBQ, located at 5 Via de Luna on Pensacola Beach, brings award-winning Pitmaster Steve Seige’s 11 years of experience to Pensacola with Texas-style smoked brisket, smash burgers, seasonal sides and more .
Local favorites: Loaded tots, the pulled pork sandwich, the brisket sandwich and the smoked wings.
Blue Point BBQ
- When: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday and Monday (times subject to change)
- Or: 310, rue N. Devillers
Blue Dot Barbecue has been a hidden gem in Pensacola since Blue Dot was opened by Blue Robinson and his wife Dorothy, also known as “Dot”, circa the 1940s.
Blue Dot is not a fancy thing. The restaurant serves two things: BBQ burgers and a BBQ sandwich, but the burger is what people are lining up for. The key to a true Blue Dot experience is to order a burger and take it as it comes, usually with mayonnaise, mustard, onions, tomatoes, salt and pepper.
Local Favorites: The hamburger.
- When: 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Wednesday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday
- Or: 47 N. Ninth Avenue.
Upon entering Cafe Aragon, you wouldn’t expect to leave with a belly full of chest. The interior is adorned with exposed brickwork and modern industrial decor. There is an extensive soft drink menu which includes branded drinks, smoothies, Frappes and coffee.
When it comes to food, you are spoiled for choice. There are plenty of BBQ options including the collard greens sandwich, naughty BBQ sandwich, mom’s meatloaf sandwich, smoked plates and more.
Local favorites: Macaroni Monster and Mama’s meatloaf sandwich.
Hot spot barbecue
- When: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, closed on Sunday
- Or: 901 E.La Rua St.
If you’ve ever driven down Ninth Avenue just past McGuire’s, you’ve probably seen smoke billowing from the outdoor smokers of Hot Spot Barbecue, even if you didn’t notice the restaurant.
Hot Spot has been one of Pensacola’s best Southern-style barbecues since it opened in 2013. Fans rave about the ribs that fall off the bone, the perfectly smoked brisket, and the coveted lemon pie.
Local favorites: Pulled pork, burnt ribs and lemon pie.
- When: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, closed Sunday
- Where: 3309 Gulf Beach Highway
Brother’s BBQ, located on Gulf Beach Highway, has been around since 2012. The place has three smokers who can smoke 1,750 pounds of meat. All the accompaniments are homemade and seasoned with meats and house spices.
Local Favorites: Pulled pork, beef brisket and four-meat combo.
Arlene Williams BBQ
Call 850-549-8101 for hours and location details.
The Arlene Williams BBQ food truck has been serving the Pensacola area since 2008, making it another longtime favorite of Pensacola barbecue lovers.
Arlene fans love to rave about the service as much as they rave about their greens, brisket and ribs. One reviewer even said that when you let Arlene feed you, you become part of her family.
Local favorites: Jerk chicken, jerk pork and barbecue ribs.