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Big John’s has served Tampa since 1968, and it was just named the best BBQ spot in Florida

exterior of a BBQ restaurant with cars parked around the red bric building
Outside the bustling Big John's Alabama BBQ in Tampa

The best BBQ joint in Florida is in Tampa, according to survey conducted by Southern Living. That spot is Big John’s Alabama BBQ (5707 N 40th St). Southern Living Magazine states the survey was conducted by a third party and 20,000+ people weighed in between July and August 2023.

“Big John’s is new to the South’s Best list but it’s hardly new to the Tampa Bay area,” writes the Southern Living editorial team.


a chef pull a rack of ribs out of a smoker
Enjoy some of the best ribs in Tampa Bay at this local gem

The late Rev. John A. Stephens came to East Tampa from Eufaula, Alabama, and opened Big John’s in 1968. Today the restaurant is run by Stephens’s grandchildren, and though it moved into a new building in 2010, it still features splendid chicken, sausage, and ribs cooked hot and fast on an Alabama-style open pit with a giant brick chimney.

Visit the restaurant’s website to learn more about the menu, its history, and the family behind the recipes. See Southern Living’s full list of the South’s Best BBQ here.

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