If barbecue is like religion, then consider this a polytheistic guide for your tummy.
AL’S FINGER LICKING GOOD BARBECUE 1609 N 18th St., Tampa, 813-443-5030. The food coming out of here is the stuff of legend in Ybor. Order the “fall off the bone” turkey leg on Thursdays or the mac and cheese on Fridays.
BAKER’S HOGLEY WOGLEY BAR-B-CUE 846 49th St. S, Gulfport, 727-323-9309. Carolina barbecue at its finest. The Baker brothers' ribs are known to cause lip-smacking, groaning, religious awakenings.
BIG DICK’S BBQ 5740 Fourth St. N, St Petersburg, 727-498-6582. The family-run operation with a dirty mouth. Try one of the four homemade “dick” sauces. Pulled pork and baked beans are highly recommended.
BIG JOHN’S ALABAMA BBQ 5707 N 40th St., Tampa, 813-623-3600. The Alabama-style barbecue is hickory-smoked, just like it should be — and tasty.
BIG TIM’S BAR-B-Q 530 34th St. S, St. Petersburg, 727-327-7388. Although “Big Tim” passed away a couple years ago, the ribs are still fall-off-the-bone good. The Georgian barbecue sauce never disappoints.
BRADY’S BACKYARD BBQ 340 Main St., Safety Harbor, 727-712-3727, bradysbackyardbbq.com. Mouth-watering bbq. Try Great Grandmother’s jalapeno cornbread pudding, but hurry because it is typically the first item on the menu to sell out.
CASPER’S BBQ 5701 54th Ave N, Kenneth City. Hidden inside Graham’s produce market, Casper’s is making authentic barbecue and smoked goods for those in the know. Order a whole smoked chicken with homemade barbecue sauce for just $7.
CALLY’S STICKY BONES BBQ 2313 W. Linebaugh Ave., Tampa, 813-935-6600. Cally’s specializes in dry barbecue, which means spices rubbed into every piece of meat. Brisket is smoked slowly over 14 hours and is probably the best in town.
FRED FLEMING'S CHAMPIONS BBQ 4400 Fourth St N, St Petersburg, 727-525-1227, championsbbq.com. Fred Fleming's has won numerous barbecue awards in the competitive circuit. Here it is all about the ribs, so order a full rack to share.
ELI’S BAR-B-Q 360 Skinner Blvd., Dunedin, 727) 738-4856. Eli’s is open only two days a week. Come out on Friday or Saturday and get some of the most delicious Georgia barbecue available anywhere.
ELLA’S AMERICANA FOLK ART CAFÉ 5119 N Nebraska Ave., Tampa, 813-234-1000, ellasfolkartcafe.com. Barbecue is only offered on Soul Food Sundays but it is worth the wait. The brisket is a revelation. Order a Bloody Mary rimmed with BBQ rub, garnished with a hickory smoked rib.
FIRST CHOICE SOUTHERN BARBECUE 10113 Adamo Drive, Brandon, 813-621-7434,firstchoicebbq.com. Family-owned and operated for 20 years, this is one barbecue experience you won’t want to miss. Ribs are cooked on an open pit grill for three to four hours.
HANK'S CATFISH AND BBQ 8546 N. Dale Mabry, Egypt Lake-Leto, 813-936-5555. The fish is hot and crispy, can’t get any better.
HOLY HOG 3501 N. Armenia Ave., Tampa, 813-879-4647, holyhogbbq.com. Ribs, brisket, chicken, sauce, and Southern sweet tea are some kind of manna from heaven. Possibly the best place in town for overall barbecue.
JIMBO’S PIT BAR-B-Q 4103 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, 813-289-9724, jimbosbarbq.com. Jimbo’s has been making delicious barbecue for over 30 years.
KOJAK’S HOUSE OF RIBS 2808 W Gandy Blvd., Tampa, 813-837-3774, kojaksbbq.net. Since 1978, Kojak’s has been making mouths water with its barbecue and assorted side dishes.
LUCKIE B’S BAR-B-Q 4351 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg, 727-823-5825, luckiebs.com. You either love it or hate it. Either way, Luckie B’s is worth a try. All-you-can-eat ribs are just $17 on Mondays.
NEW WORLD BREWERY 1313 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa, 813-248-4969, newworldbrewery.net. The local beer spot only recently ventured into the barbecue arena, but we are really glad they did. Go on Wednesdays for Smoker Wednesdays and get a plate of smoked chicken with baked beans and garlic bread for just $5.
OZONA PIG 311 Orange St., Palm Harbor, 727-773-0744, ozonapig.com. Try the boss hog plate to get a bite of all the infamous Ozona Pig flavors.
POPPA’S BBQ 12211 49th St. N, Clearwater, 727-954-8871. Poppa’s ribs and pulled pork are a must for your mouth.
PREACHER’S BBQ 1040 Fourth St. N, St Petersburg, 727-388-7224, preachersbbq.com. The family-run business has quickly become part of the downtown St. Petersburg routine. The ribs and barbecue chicken are succulent and flavorful. For dessert, order up some traditional Southern hummingbird cake.
SMOKIN A’S BBQ 6203 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, 813-236-4818, smokinasbbq.com. Try the beef brisket and collard greens. Portions are big and prices are fair.
SMOKIN J’S 5145 Gulfport Blvd. S, Gulfport, 727-329-8624, 6690 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, 727-498-8658. A favorite St. Petersburg and Gulfport lunch spot. Order the classic Texas beef brisket.
SMOKIN RIB SHACK 600 West Bay Drive, Largo, 727-501-9090. Largo’s infamous barbecue locale. Driving down West Bay Drive, heading toward the beach, the smell of sweet barbecue smoke fills the air. Stop your car, get out, and order some ribs. You will be glad you did.