Sure, Miami has its own brand of soul food. It's a little bit Bahamian, a taste of the Caribbean, a kiss of Latin American, and a dose of Americana. A melting pot, to be sure.
Miami barbecue is the story of the people who make it, who often come from somewhere else, setting up on our sun-bleached streets to bring us a taste of their heritage.
And that's exactly what makes Miami barbecue so good. When viewed through the melting-pot lens, it's easy to see these creations as equal parts soul, love, and family.
Below, listed in alphabetical order, are Miami's ten best barbecue spots.
Bo Legs BBQ250 NE 167th St. Miami
If you love the smell of cooking meat, the telltale smoky aroma of Bo Legs BBQ will lead you straight into the heart of North Miami Beach, where this family-run business has been operating for just over a decade. Chef/owner Kevin Dority — AKA Bo Legs — grew up eating his family's barbecue on their farm outside Charleston, South Carolina. These days, its his own family — wife, two daughters, and son — that help out with the family business, offerings customers free samples of their meat slathered in secret sauces that date back to the early 1970s. Despite its no-frills looks, you'll find some of the best smoked meats around, from ribs and sausage to brisket, turkey legs, and jerk chicken. Don't miss a taste of the baked beans, Bo's signature side, made with a sweet combination of maple, honey, and molasses and a meaty hint of ground chuck for an authentic Carolina take on the traditional side. Then end it all with a slice of homemade sweet potato pie.
Drinking Pig BBQ845 NE 151st St., Miami
You'll find this pop-up down a one-way street in a North Miami-Dade neighborhood where a simple setup attracts diehard barbecue fans. Drinking Pig BBQ is a joint effort among Kyu executive chef Raheem Sealey and his wife, former Kyu chef Yohanir Sandoval, and former Kyu sous chef Mark Wint. Together, this trio turned their pandemic downtime into a thriving backyard business, offering brisket, sausage, pork, and chicken. Touches of their combined cultural influences give each piece of meat a unique flair, from the sofrito and thyme-infused rub to the secret seasoning blend in the handmade sausage. Sides include collard greens cooked in a stock made from smoked chicken bones and baked beans prepared with scraps of brisket and short rib. Don't miss Sandoval's cornbread, a cakelike treat that offers a sweet-and-salty take on the classic barbecue staple. The pop-up is open Friday through Sunday from noon until sold out.
Gorilla City Sandwiches at Tripping Animals Brewing Co.2685 NW 105th Ave., Doral
Opened in November 2019 as the in-house kitchen at Tripping Animals, Gorilla City Sandwiches offers up the best of barbecue for the taproom's hungry patrons. Chef/owner Julien Uribe takes his experience at a Texas smokehouse to create the menu's Texas-style brisket, served up alongside a number of meats, plus sides like classic coleslaw, traditional potato salad, baked beans, and roasted mushrooms. Order platters of sliced smoked turkey and pulled pork — or get them in sandwich form. Pair your food with Tripping Animals' fruited sour ales or easy-drinking "No Mames" Mexican-style lager. Don't miss the "Brisket Sando," a half-pound of meat stuffed between two slices of toasted Sullivan Street focaccia-style bianca buns with a barbecue and garlic aioli, topped with slaw and crisp fried onions.
Hometown BBQ1200 NW 22nd St., Miami
Hometown Barbecue chef/owner Billy Durney will tell you: "Stay humble, stay focused, stay hungry." It's easy to do the latter when visiting the Miami outpost of his New York City eatery beloved for its Texas-style take on barbecue meats of all kinds. Located in Miami's Allapattah neighborhood, Durney's meats are pit-smoked over a live fire, making it some of the hottest barbecue in South Florida. Here, find everything from baby back, pork, and beef ribs to brisket, turkey, and chicken — all served as a platter or sandwich alongside traditional sides. Like spicy? Grab a slice of the jalapeño-infused corn pudding and house-made cheddar jalapeño sausage. Don't miss highlights like the chef's jerk-encrusted bacon, sticky fried rib tips smothered in a Korean bbq sauce, or the weekend-only pastrami.
La Traila Barbecue8030 NW 154th St., Miami Lakes
Formerly a “first come, first served” pop-up, La Traila Barbecue, Miami's Texas-style craft barbecue pit spot, has opened a brick-and-mortar location in Miami Lakes. Founded by Austin native and pit master Mel Rodriguez, and Miami native/ Buffalo Bills wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie, the barbecue joint offers ample indoor and outdoor seating. Platters and meat by the pound include smoked pulled pork, smoked sausage, pork spare ribs, and Texas-style brisket. Try the "brisket sundae," which starts with a mac-and-cheese base, layered with baked beans and creamed corn, then topped with smoked brisket, cotija cheese, crema, and the house sauce. Or, for a taste of Miami-Texas fusion, order brisket y queso empanadas or smoked pork rib croquettes.
Saint City BBQ9302 NW 22nd Ave., Miami
Make no mistake: this isn't a coffee shop. Sure, the sign at Saint City may read "coffee shop," but the grills behind the building say nothing but smoked meat. This is a barbecue joint through and through, housed inside the Saint City Church of God in Miami's West Little River. For more than 40 years the restaurant has been serving up its take on Southern-style soul food via slabs of sauce-lacquered ribs and barbecue chicken. A rib sandwich is as simple as it gets, a short stack of ribs served with two slices of white bread. Sides include giant pots of vegetable-studded country-style baked beans, pigeon peas with rice, a mac and cheese baked under a thick layer of melty cheese, and tender stewed collard greens. Just remember: Saint City is cash only.
Shiver's BBQ28001 S Dixie Hwy., Homestead
Shiver's baby-back ribs spend 12 hours in a sauna of hickory smoke before being served. A half slab of the ribs served with a side of squealing pig skins, essentially potato skins stuffed with a mound of pulled pork, jalapeno, and a mix of Monterey and cheddar cheese. But that's not all you can get at one of the oldest barbecue joints in Miami, a place that dates back to the 1950s, making it even older than Shorty's BBQ in Kendall. As the story goes, Shorty Allen and Shiver's were once business partners who went on to open separate restaurants — but Shiver's opened a year earlier. No matter who owns the title of Oldest Barbecue Joint in the Magic City, one fact remains: The barbecue here is as good as it gets. They have it all from smoked chicken and spare, baby back, or beef ribs to brisket, burnt ends, and pulled pork. Over a dozen sides offer up the usuals along with a hash-brown casserole, jalapeño cheese grits, and fried green tomatoes. Don't miss the weekly "off menu" special, which might be brisket burgers and "rodeo" nachos or beef chili and Brunswick stew.
Shorty's Bar-B-Q9200 South Dixie Hwy., Miami (and other locations)
Shorty's claim to fame: 70 years of barbecue "perfection." The truth is — even after all these years and four locations strong — Shorty's BBQ remains one of Miami's favorite spots to snag some finger lickin' barbecue. Since 1951, not even a fire, Hurricane Andrew, or a recession could keep the original location from serving up their famous butter-drenched corn on the cob, pulled pork, ribs, and homemade sweet tea. Whether you're in Doral, Davie, or Miami, the menu features the area's most affordable meats, including their under $10 spare rib or quarter-chicken meal specials served during the weekday to their Texas-smoked beef brisket and massive hickory-smoked pulled pork plate drenched in barbecue sauce and served with coleslaw, fries, and garlic bread.
Society BBQ3401 N. Miami Ave., Miami
At one time, Society BBQ chef/owner Richard Hales was best known for his take on Asian cuisine — but not anymore. These days, it's his Texas-style barbecue that gets all the heat. The full-service restaurant located in the Shops of Midtown Miami offers up a good selection of slow-cooked meats smoked over a combination of Florida oak and hickory. The menu features all the usual suspects from beef ribs and brisket to pulled pork, chicken, and vegan Beyond meat or traditional brisket burnt ends — even a Wagyu, jalapeno, and cheddar beef sausage. Much of it's served by the half-pound with a side of pickled onion and dill pickles, along with a choice of made-from-scratch sides like smoked cornbread, pit-smoked beans, a wedge salad, a smoked loaded baked potato, and mac and cheese (a squash-based version is also available). Guests can opt for any meat to be sandwiched into a buttered bun with Chifles plantain sticks, coleslaw, and barbecue sauce. For a sweet ending, desserts are created by Hales' wife, Jenny — aka “Wife Hales" — including her killer bourbon-soaked bread pudding.
Sparky's Roadside Barbecue204 NE 1st St, Miami
At Sparky's, the meats are cooked low and slow over hickory and applewood, a process that indeed brings out the best in beef brisket, baby-back pork, pulled pork shoulder, and chicken. Since 2010, the secret is in the original rub that's said to include 26 spices and herbs and just a touch of sugar. Get any meat straight platter-style, but it's best served as a sandwich between grilled rolls. If you must, go ahead and slather a rack of ribs with Sparky's guava-habañero sauce — it's finger-licking delicious.