July 24, 2018
Florida: 4 Rivers Smokehouse, Winter Park
Nobody has done more in recent years—on such a grand scale, anyway—to revive Florida’s relatively anemic barbecue culture than Jacksonville native John Rivers; it is impossible to talk about the Sunshine State without tipping one’s hat to Rivers’ very successful 4 Rivers Smokehouse, which began not all that long ago in a garage, out in the affluent Orlando suburb of Winter Park. These days, the company—as you might expect from a guy who got into barbecue after years heading up a billion-dollar pharmaceutical concern—has grown into a multi-unit chain spanning multiple states, but once you shed your prejudices against this relatively slick operation, and drill down to what really matters, you’ll find what’s technically (using the term literally) the best barbecue you can readily find in Florida right now. That includes their aged brisket, which isn’t surprising—Rivers spent enough time in Texas to know exactly how it’s supposed to be done, and it has to be said that it’s often pretty darned good.
See the full round up below: