Ten Best Barbecue Spots in South Florida | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

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Ten Best Barbecue Spots in South Florida

As the days get longer and the weather warmer, nothing has come to signify the lazy repose of a hot summer day like the smoky scent of slow-cooked barbecue. At its most basic, "barbecue" means meat, slow-cooked over an open flame. Beyond that, there are scores of variables -- and each one can spur a contentious battle over which way of 'cueing is the "best."

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Start with the meat. The South favors pork, with styles ranging from the vinegary pulled pork shoulder in western North Carolina, whole hog in parts of South Carolina, Memphis-style pork ribs served without sauce, and so on. In cattle-country Texas, it's all about the beef brisket. Kansas City: Anything goes -- pork, beef, poultry, mutton, and even fish.

Differences only intensify from there. Depending on the region in Texas, beef is flavored with smoke from hickory, pecan, or oak wood, each of which imparts a unique flavor. In North Carolina, hickory predominates. In Georgia, hickory and oak. And then there's cooking style. Memphis prefers slow-cooking in a pit. West Texas "cowboy style" opts for direct heat from mesquite wood.

But the biggest difference may be in the sauce. Memphis ribs are served "dry" -- with a blend of spices like onion, garlic, cumin, and paprika -- or with a "wet" tomato and vinegar-based sauce. Vinegar-based marinades are most common in much of the Carolinas, with a sweet and acidic mustard-based "Carolina Gold" sauce in some regions. Kansas City is defined by the sweet and tangy tomato-based red sauce made with molasses.

And the side dishes... Never mind. Don't even get us started on sides.

However it's done, most barbecue has one thing in common: It's delicious! Here are our picks for the Top Ten BBQ joints around. Try not to fight over them.