I understand. But rank we must. Barbecue is such an important part of life that I must traverse the minefield.Let me say right up front, we tried to be fair. That’s why we used three methods to rank local barbecue establishments: Internet reviews, an experienced barbecue judge and the opinions of local pitmasters.
The fact that there was no consensus winner underscores the folly of trying to rank barbecuers. Ask 10 people who serves the best “Q” and you’ll receive at least five different answers.
Don’t feel bad if your favorite place didn’t top our list. In my mind, there are no losers, certainly not among us consumers. The fact that every restaurant is rated 4 stars or better shows how much great barbecue is served in Lake and Sumter counties. To me, anything over 4 stars is a must visit. The difference between a 4.2 rating and a 4.8 rating is the difference between Texas toast and garlic toast. I’m not sending either one back.
You just can’t get bad barbecue around here. That was obvious as I accompanied our judge Dolores Mann from restaurant to restaurant on a recent Saturday. I only wish we visited all 25 local barbecue establishments.
Unfortunately, less than half of the restaurants contacted expressed interest in participating in our barbecue comparison.
To those who took time to fill out our questionnaire and allow our judge Dolores Mann to rate your barbecue, I thank you. May your bark be bodacious, your ribs rambunctious and your pulled pork plentiful.
Our feature is not a paid advertising section. Every barbecue restaurant was invited to participate. And, just for the record, our judge had no idea we were also writing a story about young barbecue diva Ashley Nadeau, whose dad owns Uncle Kenny’s BBQ. Please don’t think Dolores had any bias when she ranked Uncle Kenny’s so highly. She didn’t. Kenny and his staff earned their lofty ratings.
It’s my hope that our rankings will unite rather than divide barbecue lovers. Each restaurant in our community has something to offer and it’s my hope that you’ll visit each and every one and decide for yourself who serves the best barbecue.