BBQ cooking has been around for many decades, if not longer. Though Florida is considered a state within the American “South,” its residents hail from all regions of the country and some countries abroad. This is why “barbeque” can represent very different meanings depending on who you talk to. If you prefer pulled pork BBQ with a honey-based sauce like you can try in North Carolina, or if you prefer Texas beef BBQ with their classic tomato sauce, one thing is certain, you will find a BBQ joint to indulge while vacationing in central Florida.
American BBQ dates all the way back to the colonial era. Cooking meat for extended time periods on a fire grill began in the Southeast United States, where the locals learned how to prepare rough cuts of meat by grilling them over long periods until they became tender. Nowadays there are myriad local variations when it comes to BBQ, but regardless of your place of residence, the concept of BBQ brings up a thought of tasty food, and time shared with friends and family.
Many Florida campsites provide you with plenty of space for you to cook meat, assuming that is what you intend to do while vacationing in Central Florida. Still, there are a great deal of annual BBQ contests that allow you to fight for prizes while making a name for yourself in the BBQ arena.
The Lakeland Pig Fest is the premier Floridian State Barbecue Contest, and takes place during the last days of January. The next event will take place January 25-26, 2014. Starting in 1997, it has evolved from a small event to another counting more than 400 BBQ teams fighting for the prize. The festival also raises funds for local charities raising over $200,000 during it’s 17 years of existence. Aside from offering up all the BBQ you could possibly ask for, you can also enjoy other food such as fried okra, baked beans, coleslaw, etc.
Smoke on the Water is another Central Florida event that die hard BBQ fans just can’t afford to pass on. This contest is sponsored by the Florida BBQ Association, raising over $450,000 for youths in neighboring counties over the past seven years.
As far as restaurants go, we can’t say enough of places such as Hog House, Woody’s, with it’s unbeatable ribs and pulled pork and Sonny’s, a classic joint that is a must for BBQ lovers.