Since our Taste Tour of 813 first started, it seems like barbecue restaurants in Tampa might just be the most frequented type of restaurant we visit. This is no accident either. From north to south, east to west, great barbecue restaurants both big and small have staked their claim to Tampa and often fought hard for top bragging rights.
Through word of mouth, a little South Tampa barbecue restaurant called BJ's Alabama BBQ came to my attention as one of the best barbecue places that flys under the radar in Tampa. Driving by, it's easy to see why. The sole sign outside looks like it was designed on a Windows computer in 1995 and the interior is ridiculously bland to say the least.
But, this can be, and is usually, a mark of any out-of-this-world barbecue restaurant; it's not about to cool, or even accommodating ambiance, it's all about the meat, and for good reason. This food is an art, a smokey, stick-to-your-ribs art. Judging by a lunchtime meal at BJ's, they've got some Picassos working the smoker.
Speaking of, this thing is a massive, multi-level cooker of glory that sits proud and openly in the middle of their kitchen. When your meat comes out, it's hacked to savory bits (minus the ribs) with the taste of smoke lingering throughout. Pulled pork comes speckled with succulent bits of charred meat while the massive ribs seem to get better by the bite. Beef was a bit dry, but balanced out nicely by a generous helping of their mildly sour, but still sweet sauce.
I could've taken or left each side - potato salad and baked beans - but the amount of meat is just enough in itself to fill you up.
In comparison to other Tampa barbecue, BJ's is up there. On a good day, they could probably even be the best, but that's just us. Head out to South Tampa and give BJ's Alabama BBQ a try for yourself.