Cole’s BBQ in New Tampa

UPDATE: Sadly, delicious Cole and his delicious barbecue have closed.

So I’m a big fan or barbechu. It’s one of the ultimate ways to enjoy meats. So simple, yet so brilliant. Devastatingly, it’s been quite some time since I’ve had some decent barbecue, so I set out to resolve that issue.

cole's bbq

We hit up Cole’s BBQ on Palm Pointe Drive, just south of I75 and Bruce B. Downs. My friend has been there many, many times, and highly recommended it. It’s a little place, looking fresh and new among the rest of the ever expanding plaza, and it just recently opened in April. There are a few tables and chairs, seating about thirty inside, but they do carry out and catering. It is family owned, which is always nice to hear. The staff is really friendly and helpful. There are some televisions set up around the inside, playing football games, football games, and football games. But honestly, I don’t care about any of that. I just want some barbecue!!!

And barbecue they had. They had a good menu of just about every type of barbecue you could want – turkey, chicken, beef, pork. They had wings and ribs, and sandwiches. And they had a few combo meals, and a lunch special. Also: SWEET TEA. So I ordered up some sweet tea, and we got started out on some of their wings (of course!).

cole's hot wings

Cole’s offers either smoked or fried wings (we opted for fried at my friend’s request, although I certainly would have liked to try smoked), and you can get it with their sweet barbecue sauce, hot barbecue sauce, or mild barbecue sauce. We went with the hot sauce, which turned out to be a great choice – it was hot enough to want to have a drink after finishing with one, but not so much that it inhibited the experience. They were nice and crispy on the outside, with a smokey flavor on the inside (I guess they smoke them then fry them). The outside had parts that almost seemed charred to me, which I liked quite a bit. And they were a decent sized wing. I really enjoyed them, although they are not what you’d think of as a traditional buffalo wing by any stretch of the imagination.

cole's bbq lunch special - turkey sandwich with potato salad, and an order of baked beans.

My friend ordered the lunch combo, which was a sandwich and a side of potato salad or cole slaw. She went with a turkey sandwich, and the potato salad, and ordered a side of baked beans. I tried the turkey, and it was really good; it was tender, like all their meats, with a rich smokey flavor. On each table are bottles of their three different barbecue sauces, and adding them to the sandwich is a must (which comes without any sort of sauce on it). But it’s just about five or six bucks for the meal, which is a good deal considering that this is REAL barbecue.

cole's bbq combo with ribs and chopped pork, and baked beans

And HERE is the main event! I ordered the two meats, one side combo. I chose ribs and chopped pork as my meats, and baked beans for my side (other options: collard greens, macaroni and cheese, green beans, potato salad and coleslaw). And the plate came with a slice of toasty garlic bread. I think I made the right choice here.

The meat, all the meat, was nice and tender, smokey, and delicious. The ribs were my favorite, having been prepared with a dry rub on the outside, giving it a nice salty taste and a rough texture. They were cooked perfectly, moist on the inside. The chopped pork was really good too, and there was quite a bit of it hidden underneath the ribs. It was a little bit dry, so it needed the sauce, but the sauces were all so good you wouldn’t be eating without them anyway. I kept switching between the sauces, each with their own unique qualities. Near the end, I just started mixing them all together, so I could get a nice combination of the hot and sweet, along with the savory flavor of the mild.

The baked beans were also REALLY good, nice and sweet and thick. I wish I had gotten a full bowl of them like my friend had… I could have kept eating them for a while. And the garlic toast was actually really good too! I wasn’t expecting much from it, but it was perfectly toasted and had a great buttery garlic taste.

This place is spectacular. It’s not really the greatest hangout in the world, but their food is the best barbecue I’ve had from a restaurant. I will no doubt be returning to sample the rest of their menu.

1 comment

  1. Pingback: Top 5 Wings of 2010 « Tampa Bay Food Monster

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