Smokin’ J’s BBQ is now closed, after more than a decade of serving Gulfport

86 the four-pound sandwich challenge.

click to enlarge Smokin’ J’s BBQ is now closed, after more than a decade of serving Gulfport
Smokin' J's Real Texas BBQ / Facebook
There's a little less smoke to go around Gulfport these days.

Shortly following the shuttering of Gulfport staple Backfin Blue Cafe, comes the closure of the town’s werewolf-approved go-to BBQ spot, Smokin J’s at 5145 Gulfport Blvd.

Pitmaster and owner John Riesebeck took to the restaurant’s Facebook to announce Smokin’ J’s somewhat sudden closure.

“It is with mixed emotions, after 13 years of fun times serving our community, my doctors and I decided that it is in my best interest to retire,” its Facebook post reads. “We have made many friends along the way, and for that we are truly blessed.”

The restaurant’s final days in service were last weekend—July 23 and 24—as Smokin' J's  quickly sold the rest of its food. The owners invited their friends and patrons to hang out at the BBQ spot during its last weekend open, to share beers and memories of the restaurant.
The Texas-style BBQ restaurant was known for its smoked meats and house made sauces and rubs. Signature dishes were Texas beef brisket, ribs, pulled pork, BBQ chicken and smoked sausages, alongside sides like coleslaw, mac n cheese, baked beans and brisket chili.

It also made waves for its signature “Smokin’ J’s BBQ Challenge,” which pitted customers against its massive four-pound sandwich stacked with sliced brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken, smoked sausage and a full boneless rack of baby back ribs—in addition to another pound of sides. Whoever could tackle this challenge in under an hour could get away without paying for the $49 sandwich.

ILovetheBurg states that a developer has recently purchased the Smokin’ J’s  building and might open a new BBQ spot out of the same space, using its old smoker and other equipment.

And although we might not be able to chow down on Smokin' J's ribs and pulled pork anymore, Riesebeck states that his prized pickles will soon be available for purchase online or in local grocery stores.


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Kyla Fields

Kyla Fields is the Managing Editor of Creative Loafing Tampa Bay who started their journey at CL as summer 2019 intern. They are the proud owner of a charming, sausage-shaped, four-year-old rescue mutt named Piña.
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