Whose Bark Has Bite? 10Best Tackles Orlando's Top Barbecue

Whether you like your pork pulled and saucy, your beef dry-rubbed and fall-off-the-bone tender or perhaps either/or shredded into a street taco or sliced into an anything-but-traditional banh mi, Orlando has some stellar options for those who crave the smoky-decadent goodness of quality barbecue. The rep of the renowned 4Rivers Smokehouse generally precedes itself – and for good reason – its food is as good as it’s lines are long, but with an ever-growing number of locations, locals have less distance to travel (and can always call ahead for pickup). In Windermere, Yellow Dog Eats prides itself on quality Q --  not to mention great beer and live music. Both Ocoee and Apopka have farther-flung local favorites in Ellie Lou’s Brews & BBQ and the beloved Porkie’s Original, where both barbecue- and motorcycle enthusiasts cruise in quite regularly for generous helpings of both. Down in a hip habitat on Mills Ave., Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa infuses international flair into its takes on the traditional (try the sticky-sweet plantains as a side!) and not far from there, the practiced culinary artisans of Shin Jung Korean turn out plate after plate of traditional soups, stews and more – along with some of the most succulent barbecue – bulgogi, kal bi and more – the city has to offer.

True, this is not a traditional entry for a barbecue list, but we'd be remiss without including the deliciousness that is Shin Jung, an Orlando-local favorite that serves a vast menu of Korean specialties including what many gourmands consider...  Read More

Apopka/Winter Garden

Barbecue aficionados in just about any town will often cite more local, off-the-path venues among their favorites and such is the case with Porkie's, a casual, friendly, little place with a massive following they've built over the decade-plus...  Read More

Generous portions and fall-off-the-bone goodness awaits Q-obsessed carnivores at this Clermont outpost, a family-run business that has accrued multiple honors on the Florida and – perhaps more impressively – Kansas City barbecue circuits....  Read More

There's just something about beef brisket and slaw that gets the mouth watering. Or maybe you're a rib aficionado. Or have a thing for smoked turkey. The beauty of Southern barbecue is that you don't really have to choose. Just get a multi-meat...  Read More

4Rivers' UCF/East Orlando location is, delightfully, just another satellite wherein fans of the superb barbecue can expect a superb, if caloric, experience. This Orlando-based, Texas-style barbecue empire serves up brisket, ribs, pulled pork and...  Read More

While the food-truck resurgence has brought with it a vast array of gourmet treats that at one time would have seemed offbeat to serve out of a truck, classic American barbecue has never suffered from this disadvantage. The pair behind Caro-Bama...  Read More

Ellie Lou's web site promises they'll "rub you the right way," and as they've cultivated many a fan out in Ocoee (and a host of others who make the drive from more central Orlando-area locations to get their Q fix), it appears they're holding up...  Read More


This charming, off-the-beaten-path venue is charming and rustic, evocative of some diamond-in-the-rough surprise you'd stumble upon while road tripping. Its food is surprising, too. Sandwiches, salads, scrumptious starters and a whole lotta...  Read More

4Rivers' Winter Park location (not its original outpost; its success quickly outgrew that venue) is its flagship – the central restaurant around which this Orlando-based, Texas-style barbecue empire operates. Brisket, ribs, pulled pork and...  Read More

Pig Floyd's Urban Barbakoa's location amid the multicultural stretch of Mills on which it sits is ideal, and not merely for the hip vibe its confines – particularly the lovely open-air section – help breed. With Caribbean, Latin and Asian...  Read More


Meet A.D. Thompson

A.D. Thompson has spent more than 20 years as a professional writer and roughly 15 as a Floridian. The words, she has found, come easier with bare feet and rum.

A roller coaster enthusiast,...  More About A.D.

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