Barbecue lovers, rejoice! BBQ season is here, and we have just the thing to help you plan for all the fun summer nights ahead. Orlando is full of diverse, delicious options to satisfy all taste buds, from southern soul food to inventive BBQ food trucks. Whether you're a slow-smoked traditionalist or you like a little something extra with your brisket, we have just the place for you. Get ready to celebrate in finger-lickin' style with our list of the best local BBQ spots in Orlando.
Simple and Traditional BBQ
1600 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789
You know it. You love it. 4 Rivers Smokehouse has been serving up some of our favorite southern comfort food since 2009, when they opened their first smokehouse in Winter Park. With five locations across Central Florida, a line of savory BBQ sauces and rubs, and more often than not, a line out the door, 4 Rivers proves that sometimes the best things really are worth waiting for. Try their signature angus brisket, served lean or moist, or go for the burnt ends, a blend of chopped brisket and pulled pork that will literally make your mouth water. We hear the double-smoked, slow-roasted vegan burnt ends make a great meat-free alternative! Pair your meal with homestyle sides like creamy mac and cheese, smokehouse corn, or fried okra, and remember to save room for dessert from the 4 Rivers Bakery! We know, it's a big ask.
Date night tip: portions here are huge! Share a platter and order extra sides so you can try a little bit of everything. And whatever you do, don't skip the bread pudding.
Bonus: If you’re in the mood for something a little different, don’t miss the 4 Rivers Cantina Barbacoa food truck at Disney Springs! You’ll find the same incredible smoked meat served Tex-Mex style in birria tacos, burrito bowls, a jaw-dropping taco cone, and more.
Related: Must-Try Disney Springs Snacks
336 Moore Rd, Ocoee, FL 34761
Ellie Lou's promises to “rub you the right way,” and with mouthwatering platters, several delectable BBQ sauces, and a growing list of locations, you're sure to leave this family-owned restaurant satisfied. Pair St. Louis style ribs, chopped BBQ platters, sandwiches and more with southern specialties like corn muffins, fried green tomatoes, and 3 cheese mac. If you're lucky enough to visit on a Sunday, try the Gospel Grits, cheddar and smoked gouda grits made with tomatoes, corn, green onions, and special seasoning. Inject a little regional flair with Kansas City, Memphis, Carolina Gold, Alabama White sauce, or Mississippi Comeback Sauce, or spice things up with the habanero and ghost pepper infused Southern Lava sauce. Visit Ellie Lou's in Ocoee and Clermont, and keep an eye out for a potential third location in Flamingo Crossings!
Date night tip: Head to the Clermont location and take dinner to-go for a delicious picnic date at Clermont Waterfront Park. Round out date night with craft beer from Suncreek Brewery or dessert from Montrose Street Market.
5818 Conroy Rd, Orlando, FL 32835
Stop by one of Bubbalou's two Central Florida locations for award-winning, always-delicious Southern-style BBQ with a laid-back vibe. You'll find smoked Texas brisket, pork, and chicken on the menu, as well as more unique Southern specialties like gizzards, catfish, and even gator meat. Baskets come with fries and baked beans, and combos also include coleslaw and garlic bread. Everything is super affordable, so you can splurge on extra specialty sides, dessert, and beverages. Keep things simple with mustard or mild, sweet, hot, or killer BBQ sauce, and bring that Southern flavor home with a chilled beer or wild cherry Cheer Wine.
Date night tip: get out of your comfort zone and try something new together, like Bubbalou's fried gator bites or chicken gizzards.
Southern and Soulful BBQ
2037 Hempel Ave, Gotha, FL 34734
Another hidden gem in Gotha, Munchie's serves grilled and smoked BBQ in an idyllic lakeside setting. More than just another spot for BBQ in Orlando, you could make a whole afternoon of your visit. Complement juicy, flavorful Memphis and North Carolina style BBQ with classic BBQ sauce, mac and cheese, and cornbread, or go island style with jerk BBQ, yellow saffron rice and black beans. All sauces, sides, teas, and lemonades are made fresh in house. Relax in a hammock, play a game of Jenga, and enjoy the breeze across the lake as you wait for your food to cook. They even have kayaks, if you want to get out on the water! Munchies is open Thursday through Sunday from 11am-7pm.
Date night tip: If you want something specific, like the brisket, call in an advance order at (407) 879-6761 so you don't miss out!
2516 Sanford Ave, Sanford, FL 32773
Head out to Sanford for some traditional Southern soul food, from BBQ chicken and pulled pork to smothered pork chops with candied yams. Don't sleep on the desserts, like peach cobbler, banana pudding, and butter pound cake. Portions are huge, so you get plenty for your money and can try even more tasty sides!
Date night tip: Fort Mellon Park and the Sanford Riverwalk are just a couple of miles away. Take your food to go and enjoy a quiet picnic and waterfront stroll with your meal.
Unique and Creative BBQ in Orlando
1326 North Mills Avenue, Orlando, FL 32803
This buzzworthy smokehouse in Orlando's hip Mills 50 district serves more than your grandma's classic pulled pork. Pig Floyd's combines traditional fire, smoke, and pit cooking methods with globally-inspired flavor influences to create an all-new kind of smokehouse – one that satisfies BBQ purists and gastronomes alike. Sure, you could order the Plain Jane sandwich, with oakwood smoked brisket or pulled pork atop a sweet roll, and pair it with hot or sweet BBQ sauce. Better yet, dress up a classic BBQ platter with fresh, house made chimichurri or honey sriracha sauce, or go all out with local favorites like the Banh Mi pork belly sandwich, topped with lucky dragon sauce, pickled veggies, jalapeño, and garlic ginger aioli on a toasted baguette. Enjoy mouthwatering shareables and sides, like Mexican street corn and sticky ribs, and round out your meal with a crisp draft beer. Keep an eye out for a second location opening later this year!
Date night tip: Keep an eye out for upcoming Pig Floyd's date night kits, which include four BBQ-inspired tacos (yep, tacos!), three sides, two beers, and dessert from a local bakery. Read our review here.
1236 Hempel Ave, Windermere, FL 34786
Not a traditional spot for BBQ in Orlando, Yellow Dog Eats is not strictly a BBQ restaurant – you'll find tons of inventive sandwiches, wraps, salads, and deli-style sides here. That said, the craft BBQ section of their menu is not to be missed! Everything starts off with a base of tender pulled pork and signature Fish's Gold BBQ sauce on a fluffy bun. From there, pile on sweet or savory toppings like gouda cheese, spicy pickles, pecan-smoked bacon, or even thick cut brie for a meal that will tease your taste buds. You can also get a full or half rack of baby back ribs, doused in Fish's Gold sauce and served with kettle chips and slaw. Everything is served inside a historic home in downtown Gotha, making Yellow Dog feel like a delicious locals-only secret. Plus, it's pet-friendly, so you can bring the whole crew!
Date night tip: Impress your date with off-menu specials that showcase Yellow Dog's culinary creativity. Specials are posted daily on Instagram. Enjoy your meal on the patio or in the garden for a chill backyard atmosphere, and enjoy live music when it returns.
1536 Buena Vista Dr, Orlando, FL 32830
This Disney Springs quick service staple has a local flavor you might not expect. It's owned by James and Julie Petrakis, the team behind local restaurants The Ravenous Pig and Cask & Larder, as well as by Brian Petrakis of Greens & Grille. The menu highlights the seasonal flavors of Florida for a fresh, modern take on BBQ. Savor a mouth watering array of wood-smoked or grilled BBQ sandwiches, platters, fried chicken, and market sides, washed down with craft beer, small batch cocktails, or one of 60+ selections from the bourbon bar. All draft beers are from The Ravenous Pig Brewing Co. – order the $10 beer flight to sample four bestselling brews!
Date night tip: Try the butcher board! It's made for two people, and includes pork, smoked chicken, prime brisket and cheddar sausage, paired with slaw, pickles, cornbread, and two market sides for just $44. If you want even more variety, add an additional three market sides for $16. After dinner, take a stroll around Disney Springs and catch a live performance by the water.
BBQ in Orlando Food Trucks & Pop-Ups
609 Irvington Ave, Orlando, FL 32803
This family-owned food truck combines the best of both worlds: savory smoked BBQ and sweet handmade donuts. What's not to love? Order your donuts separately if you like, or go all in with brisket sliders served on vanilla and Mediterranean sea salt donuts. And the fun doesn't stop there. Husband-and-wife duo Ian Russell and Juliana Peña plan on testing even more playful combinations when they open their first brick and mortar location in the Milk District later this year.
For now, visit Smoke & Donuts at À La Cart, where you can savor smoked meats and sweet treats alongside a rotating selection of craft beer, wine, soda, and cold brew coffee. Try the 1,121 Mile Road Trip, a brisket and pork sandwich inspired by a ten-month motorcycle journey Ian took through the U.S., stopping at Southern roadside BBQ joints along the way, before enrolling in culinary school. Grab several donuts for your own journey home – once you see all the varieties up for grabs, you won't be able to choose just one! We're especially enamored with The Lou, a hybrid donut topped with Maker’s Mark® Bourbon & maple glaze, Hershey’s chocolate chips, Heath bar, and brisket burnt ends. Want something lighter? Try the Sun & Moon & Stars, featuring candied lemonade, blueberry compote, and ginger snap dust.
Date night tip: Check out the À La Cart event calendar for fun ways to elevate your Smoke & Donuts date night. They have weekly movie and trivia nights, special brewing events, and more.
Smokemade might be a more elusive spot for BBQ in Orlando, but if you can find them, you're in for a treat! Everything here is seasoned with salt and pepper and wood-smoked for up to 16 hours, allowing the flavor of the meat to speak for itself. Keep it simple with Central Texas-style ribs, sausage, brisket, pulled pork or turkey by the half pound, or try to contain your excitement with a smoked sandwich. Complete your meal with scratch-made apple coleslaw, jalapeño cheddar grits, pinto beans, or potato salad, plus brews and more from other local makers. Find Smokemade at pop up events throughout the city, hosted by local favorites like Hourglass Brewing and Redlight Redlight.
Date night tip: Since Smokemade is a pop-up concept you may find them at places you've not been to before. Make it a fun date night by exploring someplace new. Get there early to avoid long lines, and keep an eye out for secret menu items on social media.
Another hard-to-find eatery with a tasty payoff, Up in Smoke serves small batch Memphis style BBQ in Orlando and beyond. Try hearty BBQ bowls and sandwiches like the Macdaddy (pork topped with mac and cheese) or the Huckleberry (chicken topped with blackberry dijon and fried onions), plus classic sides like cole slaw, baked beans, and potato salad. Find them at local food truck fairs, and stay tuned to social media to see where they'll pop up next.
Date night tip: Find a food truck event near you and meet some friends for a fun food truck group date!