Miami's Ten Best Barbecue Spots

Barbecue comes in many forms in Miami, and nearly all are habit-forming.
Barbecue comes in many forms in Miami, and nearly all are habit-forming.

It would be nice if Miami barbecue were a simple creature: one kind of meat, one way to cook it, and maybe a couple of sauces. But life is never simple. And setting out to find whether Miami has its own style of barbecue reveals a truth — that there are more methods, meat, and madness than any one city should ever contain.

Miami has soul food. It has Caribbean. It has Latin American. Miami barbecue is really a story of ambition. It’s a story about people, often from elsewhere, setting up something on the city’s sun-bleached streets to try to make a better meal — and a better life for themselves and their families.

No teeth needed for Mr. Boneless' barbecue.
No teeth needed for Mr. Boneless' barbecue.
Photo by Zachary Fagenson

10. Mr. Boneless
"This is world-famous Mr. Boneless," 40-year-old Liberty City native Cedric Halyard says. "I've been coming here every week. Even when he was on the street corner, I would chase him down.” Terry Watts started selling food on those street corners nearly two decades ago. After years of hosting cookouts for friends, pleas to turn his hobby into a business grew relentless. Hence, Mr. Boneless (1807 NW 79th St., Miami; 561-891-3015) was born more than a decade ago. And his regulars swear by his ribs ($12 platter/$8 sandwich) and chicken ($10 platter/$7 sandwich) — no bones, of course, and cooked slow over oak.

Get a taste of Florida at the Pit.
Get a taste of Florida at the Pit.
Image courtesy of the PIt

9. The Pit Bar-B-Q
After his bath salts wear off, Florida Man visits this chickee hut at the edge of the Everglades for alligator ribs. There are also frogs' legs ($7.99 for three), shipped in overnight from Louisiana. What was once a go-cart track was, in 1965, converted into a restaurant that has become something of a pilgrimage for locals, though less so lately because of suburban sprawl. Still, the Pit captures everything that’s so alluring about barbecue and Miami all on the same table. Where else can you get maduros ($3.50) and fried biscuits with honey ($2.50) to accompany racks of baby-back ribs ($24)?

It may not look like much, but Saint City Coffee Shop has been at it for nearly 40 years.
It may not look like much, but Saint City Coffee Shop has been at it for nearly 40 years.
Photo by Zachary Fagenson

8. Saint City Coffee Shop
The sign says coffee shop, but the twin grills puffing smoke in the parking lot say different. This barbecue joint housed within the Saint City Church of God (9302 NW 22nd Ave., Miami; 305-693-3877) in West Little River opened more than four decades ago to feed a ravenous flock copious amounts of supple rib slabs ($16 half rack) lacquered in a sweet auburn sauce. Bishop James Jenkins had the good foresight to know the neighborhood would need just such a spot. Back then, there weren’t many such places around, says a worker named Ty, who began volunteering there 35 years ago. Although the bishop passed away three years ago, his wife Helen has kept things just the way they’ve always been.

Smoked chicken thighs, collard greens, and black-eyed peas.
Smoked chicken thighs, collard greens, and black-eyed peas.

7. People’s Bar-B-Que
Bobby Lewis Sr. opened what was then People's Pharmacy in 1925 just across the street from the current location on NW Eighth Street at Fourth Avenue. This was long before Overtown was a major black cultural hub of the South and decades before the forthcoming interstate would fracture the neighborhood. Today his sons run the place, smoking ribs, chicken, over oak wood and racking them up with addictive sides such as cornbread, mac 'n' cheese (two New Times favorites), collard greens, pigeon peas, yellow rice, white rice, and string beans.

Los Fuegos' chicken and sweetbreads.
Los Fuegos' chicken and sweetbreads.

6. Los Fuegos by Francis Mallmann
One would be remiss in discussing barbecue in Miami and not mentioning the Argentine asador. There are two ways to do this: Find a friend who happens to have a side of beef, a whole lamb, and a few iron crosses. Light your beach fires. Plunge the metal into the ground, strap up your meat, sit back, and drink through the long, slow wait for it to be done. Or simply visit Francis Mallmann’s spot in the sumptuous Faena Hotel Miami Beach. Here, the offerings are supremely simple: a rib eye ($42), a whole chicken hung and roasted over embers ($42), or some gorgeously charred sweetbreads ($21). What exactly is barbecue is an argument without end. But everyone can agree that expertly cooked meat is at its heart, and who knows that better than an Argentine?



Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >