I've been noticing a couple of guys set up on a busy corner here in Venice, FL (US 41 and Venice Ave), selling BBQ, and always paid them no attention. Today, while sitting at a long stoplight, with my window open, I smelled the delicious aroma of smoking BBQ, and had to stop. I pulled into the parking lot and looked at their set up. They had a couple of 55 gal oil drums converted into smokers, a couple of coolers, and a Weber grill. The whole set up looked very clean, much cleaner than most street food places I've been to New York. I ordered a couple of sliced pork sandwiches and a side of roasted corn. The pork was first rate quality and had a nice smoke ring around it. Done to perfection, and served on an extra large hamburger bun, they were very generous with the meat, heaping at least 8 oz on the bun. They only served one type of BBQ sauce, which was molasses based, and hands down was the very best BBQ sauce I've ever had. I asked for the recipe and was told, "If we gave you the recipe, then we'd have to kill you." Although the meat was wonderful, the sauce deserved special note. The roasted corn was very good, especially with chili pepper and lime as an accompaniment. They had ribs smoking on another cooker, but I declined to try some as I was so full. Still, I saw a few people get the ribs and they looked very happy. I was so pleased to see a couple of guys starting a business on a shoestring, making a superior product, and doing what they loved. The constant stream of customers was a testament to their quality. The look and taste of the food indicated a lot of love going towards the product. I just hope the powers that be will allow this grassroots business to remain in place. If not, the world will be a lesser place. In all my life, I have never had such good BBQ. Those guys do no advertising, and just let the smell sell their product, the way it should be. The price was very reasonable, with a sandwich going for $4.50 which is on par with McDonalds.





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6 Comments so far

  1. Craig Mee on November 5, 2009 3:58 am

    Sitting at my desk at the office in London, I could of sworn i smelt that pork and ribs and bbq sauce as I read this. But no it was a colleague with a cup of coffee! Amazing what the mind does. Checking flights times now…

  2. Craig Bowles on November 5, 2009 10:40 am

    North Carolina and Georgia use a vinegar based sauce that’s really simple but very good. I can’t remember the recipe but it’s maybe 1/3 vinegar, 2/3 catsup or the other way around. Lots of pepper. The NYC street food cleanliness is pretty regulated but hit or miss. A fellow downtown, Mike, used to cook in the park across from World Trade before 9/11. His uncle ran Tony’s Egg cart by the exchange. Anyway, Art Cashin and everyone went to Mike for breakfast, because it was incredible. The other venders asked what he did to make it so good. He told them he never cleaned his grill. So, the other venders stopped cleaning their grill. After about 3 weeks, Mike told them he was just kidding. On 9/11, we tried to save the cart by dragging it over by the HSBC bank but it was totaled. Mike was putting in windows for a living last I heard.

  3. Steve Leslie on November 7, 2009 8:53 am

    You were in Hog Heaven, get it? Out of curiosity how does one live in England and other exotic locations and find exceptional BBQ please share.

    Always looking for more friends on Facebook. Add me as a friend. leslie278/at/yahoo/dot/com

  4. Rocky Humbert on November 7, 2009 9:31 am

    1) Is there empirical evidence to suggest that foodborne illnesses are reduced by health department inspections?

    2) If the powers-that-be permit unlicensed cash businesses to sprout and multiply, what effect will this have on tax revenues?

    3) What is the marginal profit of a $4.50 sandwich to the owners of this business? How does that compare with the marginal profit of a $4.50 sandwich at McDonalds? What are the economic implications of this?

    4) Jeff writes: “In all my life, I have never had such good BBQ.” Maybe it wasn’t the BBQ? Or, maybe it wasn’t BBQ at all??!!

  5. Steve Leslie on November 8, 2009 10:18 pm

    first of all it would be impossible to quantify the effect of health department visits and foodborne diseases. I have first hand experience with kitchens here in Cocoa Beach as many friends of mine own restaurants. Without naming names some kitchens are so disgusting that I refuse to eat there. Others like a Chinese restaurant across the street from mine are so meticulously clean you could eat off the floor. In other words caveat emptor. More importantly with respect to cooked pork as long as you reach the optimal cooking temperature, you eliminate the risk of trchinosis . Second contrary to popular opinion if you want to sell food in Florida anywhere including street corners, you need a license and you need to pay taxes. Wake up America we are not all ignorant in the South hell some of us even have running water. How about vendors in NY on street corners can you vouch for the quality of their food. Third most likely these vendors probably got their pork from a local distributor such as Sysco or more likely a wholesaler like BJ's Sams Club Publix or Winn Dixie. Lets say they paid $2.49 lb so assuming 4oz servings $.75 per tsking into account shrinkage.. 8 buns for $1.50 or $.20 per bun. BBQ sauce marginal So there you have it. App. $1.00 per serving cost of goods. If your choices are a McD sandwich vs a quality meal then you are really disturbed. You are comparing garbage to real food. And Watson is entitled to his opinion. but at least Humbert he uses his real name.

  6. Rocky Humbert on November 10, 2009 1:13 pm

    Steve Leslie writes, “We are not all ignorant in the South hell some of us even have running water.”

    Actually, Steve, you may be surprised to learn that MOST Floridians have running water! US Census data report “only” 0.5% of Florida homes still lack complete plumbing facilities.

    Here’s some reading material for your next trip to your porcelain throne:

    Your comment about plumbing also provides an opportunity to “plug” one of my favorite charities: “The World Toilet Organization.” November 19th is World Toilet Day! Learn more at

    More seriously, during the Great Depression (the real one), my grandfather tried to support his family as an unlicensed ice cream vendor in NY City. Family lore tells that his product was good, however, the powers-that-be eventually busted him and confiscated his bicycle. Hopefully Jeff’s BBQ vendor will not meet the same fate!


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