4th of July Barbecue – Smokin’ in Eustis

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Pulled Pork from the Pulled Pork Sandwich at Barnwood BBQ
Pulled Pork from the Pulled Pork Sandwich at Barnwood BBQ

Ahhh… 4th of July barbecue at its finest. I took my kids over to Eustis, Florida for the Red, White & BBQ Independence Day celebration today. We enjoyed good food, listened to great music, then enjoyed their fireworks display out over the lake after sunset.

There was a barbecue cookoff earlier in the day, judged by the public, but we didn’t have time to attend. I had a hunch they would have plenty of BBQ available during the evening activities, though, so we headed over later in the afternoon. A quick survey of the grounds revealed the following barbecue just waiting to be enjoyed:

2 Guys BBQ
The 2 Guys BBQ smoker
The 2 Guys BBQ smoker

We stopped  by 2 Guys BBQ first, and took a long look at what they had to offer in the way of 4th of July barbecue. Their smoker was up and running, smelled great, and they were kind enough to let me snap these photos.

We weren’t quite ready to eat yet, and hadn’t checked out their competition, either, so we moved on.

Later, I looked for their website but couldn’t find one. They must be new. There were two reviews on Yelp, and two on Urban Spoon, though, with ratings of 4.5-5 stars on each, so I wouldn’t hesitate to try them sometime.

Smoked Meats in the 2 Guys BBQ Smoker
Smoked Meats in the 2 Guys BBQ Smoker
Black Bear Smokehouse

Our next stop was Black Bear Smokehouse. I liked their presentation, with a steam table right out in front so I could see what they had to offer. The smoked beef brisket sandwich sounded good, and the pan of chopped brisket looked nice and juicy, so we ordered a sandwich to split.

Beef Brisket Sandwich at Black Bear Smokehouse
Beef Brisket Sandwich at Black Bear Smokehouse

Farther down their table was a row of sauces numbered from one to twenty-something, and labeled with different barbecue regions around the southeast US. What a great approach to take with sauces.

Knowing this vast sauce selection must seem overwhelming to some patrons, they ask what kind of sauce each person normally likes. I said “sweet,” so they recommended three of the numbers. We loaded up a small pile of each on our plate, and moved to a bench to give it all a taste.

Black Bear Smokehouse
Black Bear Smokehouse

Overall, I enjoyed the flavor. Smoke was there. The brisket wasn’t quite as soft and juicy as expected, though – and nowhere near as tender as I was able to achieve with my own Smoked Brisket Recipe (click here). The sauces were all good, but the Memphis style sweet sauce, was outstanding – as in “can’t get enough of it.” I think they hit the jackpot with this sauce.

Barnwood Bar-B-Que

Barnwood had an impressive trailer for smoking their meats and housing a kitchen with serving windows. After carefully surveying their menu choices, we decided to try a pulled pork sandwich. Actually, for just over half the price of a regular sandwich, they offer pulled pork sliders, so we opted for two of those and a side of slaw.

Pulled Pork Slider and a Side of Slaw from Barnwood Bar-B-Que
Pulled Pork Slider and a Side of Slaw from Barnwood Bar-B-Que

There were no questions about sauces, and no sauce table. Each sandwich was instead served pre-sauced. I would have preferred having a choice of sauces, and to make my own decision about quantity applied.

However, after taking one look at the end result, I was convinced I wouldn’t be disappointed. They were beautiful, not only because the pork looked great, but because they set the bun top off to the side and let your eyes go right to the meat. A very nice touch.

Barnwood Bar-B-Que's pulled pork was oh, so tender
Barnwood Bar-B-Que’s pulled pork was oh, so tender

We found a seat and dug right in. It was perfect. Just as pulled pork should be; Moist, tender, delicious. There wasn’t an excessive amount of smoke flavor, but it was present. I even liked their sauce and the quantity they applied. It was a great sandwich, and well-represented 4th of July barbeque.

Their slaw was course-chopped and mildly seasoned. Very tasty.

Winding Down…

Between our barbecue sampling time and the evening’s fireworks display, we enjoyed some great music by the band Tobacco Road, tried Hawaiian Shaved Ice and a soft serve ice cream cone, then sipped a cold Vernor’s Ginger Soda while sitting along the lakefront. The setting sun provided a beautiful display of colors before slipping below the horizon, and fireworks soon followed.

Sunset over Lake Eustis as we waited for the fireworks.
Sunset over Lake Eustis as we waited for the fireworks.

This 4th of July barbecue trek made for a great evening with my girls. We’re all vowing to go back next year.

By the way, Eustis is just a few miles south of Umatilla, where you’ll find Old Crow Real Pit Bar-B-Que – a restaurant that’s doing it right. Read about them by clicking here.

Bart's Signature
Bart

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10 thoughts on “4th of July Barbecue – Smokin’ in Eustis”

  1. Great post! I hope you and the kids enjoyed your time and didn’t too much BBQ sauce on your shirt. Very nice venue for the holiday, as there were a lot of options to try out. I wouldn’t know where to start myself but the 2 Guys BBQ looked like they had some awesome ribs. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.
    Michael

    1. They all looked good, Michael, and I didn’t know where to start, either, so we just picked one. We plan to try 2 Guys BBQ sometime.

      Bart

  2. What a yummy niche you have chosen! I love your pictures! They really bring the food to life and by the way you describe everything I could almost smell that delicious BBQ! Keep up the delicious work!

    Wishing you the best of success!
    -Michelle K.

  3. Hey, I was in Eustis on the 3rd…I should have stayed over another day! Great reviews on the celebration and the food! Can’t wait to get back there and find 2 Guys restaurant.

    Margot

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