Smokin’ D’s BBQ

There are BBQ places and then there are local haunts you’d never know about that close early some days because they only serve what is smoked fresh each day. Smokin’ D’s is the second kind of BBQ joint. Cash only. Take out only. Fresh only. Real, affordable, old-school BBQ.

St Augustine BBQ Smokin D's

We had driven by “that BBQ place with the pink pig out front” dozens of times but never at dinner time. The perfect opportunity to visit came when we stayed at a nearby Crescent Beach Vacation Condo {review coming soon} and I decided beach time > cooking dinner. We ordered out, which was a good choice on all accounts!

"Vegetarian Recovery Center" the Smokin' D's sign touts. As a former veggie, I attest to their claim... it's darn good BBQ!

“Vegetarian Recovery Center” the Smokin’ D’s sign touts. As a former veggie, I attest to their claim… it’s darn good BBQ!

Smokin' D's opens at 11:00 am and closes when the food runs out. You can call ahead if you're worried you'll miss a favorite!

Smokin’ D’s opens at 11:00 am and closes when the food runs out. You can call ahead if you’re worried you’ll miss a favorite!

Smokin D BBQ St Augustine

My kiddos got a kick out of the signs in- and outside Smokin’ D’s building.

I knew it was gonna be good when I pulled up to see some guys unloading firewood. I could smell the smoke from the moment I stepped out of the van and it made me huuuuungry for some BBQ!

We went twice that week. The first time, we ordered the brisket ($16/pound), smoked beans ($4.50 for a pint) and cole slaw (all sides are same price- you can also get smaller amounts than we bought). I watched as the guy? chef? smoker? smokemaster sliced through the brisket with ease.

We tried brisket, cole slaw & smoked beans on our first trip with three of their 4 sauces... sweet, hot & mustard. I <3 the sweet.

We tried brisket, cole slaw & smoked beans on our first trip with three of their 4 sauces… sweet, hot & mustard.

You know I’m all about honesty here… I have to tell you, the brisket wasn’t as tender as I’d hoped. When I asked on facebook, the consensus was that Smokin’ D’s brisket’s tenderness is inconsistent. I’m not sure if it needed more time or if the challenge lies in the meat itself. I do know the flavor was great and if it’d been more tender I would’ve loved it.

Speaking of flavors… their made-in-house BBQ sauces are fantastic! Smokin’ D’s offers 4 sauces: Sweet, Spicy, Mustard & Alabama. Our whole family loved the sweet. We’re normally Sweet Baby Ray’s fans so that was no surprise. I did use a bit of the spicy & I enjoyed it but I loved the sweet so much I stayed with it. The Alabama is a unique, vinegar based white sauce. Fun to try & they have many fans who are devoted to it- but I still love the sweet!

I mentioned we went to Smokin’ D’s twice that week… the second time we bought a whole smoked chicken ($9.75). In a word, it was PERFECT! I would go back for the chicken any day of the week. It was amazingly moist, tender and the smoke had plenty of time to saturate the meat, not just the skin. Perfect, perfect, perfect.

Smokin' D's BBQ takeout is quick, freshly prepared daily and delish!

Smokin’ D’s BBQ takeout is quick, freshly prepared daily and delish!

Unfortunately, we don’t live close enough to Smokin’ D’s to make their takeout a regular part of our menu. But with tasty food and amazing prices, if you haven’t been it is definitely worth the drive!

Smokin’ D’s BBQ
110 State Rd. 206 East – at the corner of US1 & 206
(904) 797-2050

Smokin' D's BBQ on Urbanspoon

10 MUST TRY Food Experiences in St. Augustine

So you’ve eaten at Columbia and Collage and think you know St. Augustine… but how well have you experienced the unique flavors St. Augustine has to offer? Without further ado, I present to you my 10 MUST TRY foodie experiences in St. Augustine. In no particular order… because they’re all my favorites.

1. Catch 27’s Minorcan Chowder

Catch 27 St Augustine Minorcan Chowder

Catch 27 St Augustine Minorcan Chowder

The Minorcan people came to St. Augustine from Spain in 1777 and many locals still celebrate their Minorcan heritage today- Minorcan Chowder is a big part of the culture they celebrate. Several restaurants on the First Coast serve this tomato-based chowder but none do it as well as Catch 27.

Fresh clams, chunks of potatoes and St. Augustine’s famous Datil B Good hot sauce set this bowl apart. After this appetizer, order the Catch Rustica. Not only is this fish dish locally caught, your fish will be less than 24 hours out of the water! Minimal seasonings & handling allow the fresh from Florida fish to shine!

2. Hot Shot Bakery’s Chocolate-Dipped Datil Pepper Challenge

Hot Shot Bakery was the first to sell Chocolate Dipped Datil Peppers- it's now a St. Auggie tradition!

Hot Shot Bakery was the first to sell Chocolate Dipped Datil Peppers- it’s now a St. Auggie tradition!

It’s small but ooooo-weeee is it spicy… it’s a datil pepper. These peppers are only grown in St. Johns County- so don’t be surprised when you see datils listed on menus all over town.

Chocolate Dipped Datil Pepper St Augustine

Yep. They were right. It’s hot!

Hot Shot Bakery bottles award-winning datil sauces and includes the perky little pepper in many menu options. So it comes as no surprise that this is the home of the chocolate dipped datil pepper. Owner Sherry Stoppelbein dipped her first datil 15 years ago to creatively top a chocolate birthday cake. “I never, never, never dreamed it would be as big as it is…” she shared with me. Hot Shot Bakery’s wall is now papered with over 1,800 photos of people who have accepted the chocolate-dipped datil challenge- my son and I are up there!

You can pop in any time to be added to the Wall of Flame but if you really want to experience the heat, join Hot Shot Bakery’s Annual Chocolate Dipped Datil Competition.

3. Beef on Weck at Ann O’Malley’s Deli & Pub

Beef on Weck St Augustine

Comfort food at its best.

Every Sunday, Ann O’Malley’s serves up beef sandwiches on kummelweck rolls. It’s a staple in Buffalo, New York, and an appropriate specialty for the local Buffalo Bills Backers hangout. It’s not supposed to be a gourmet sandwich (like Cafe Alcazar’s Veggie Panini- don’t miss that one either!), it is comfort food Ann O’s style. You just don’t see something this meaty, perfectly jus’ed and tender often!

4. Present Moment Cafe’s Samosas

Present Moment Cafe St Augustine

As delicious and healthful as they are beautiful- Present Moment Cafe’s Mango Samosas are incredible.

The Present Moment Cafe is one of the most amazing restaurants I’ve dined in. Ever. First, the staff is friendly without exception. Second, the food is creative and flavorful. Third, almost everything on the menu is raw. As in uncooked. They don’t even have a stove, oven or microwave in the kitchen!

Mango Samosas stand out to me because of the brightness of the mango and peas, subtle heat and gorgeous presentation. This dish is pleasing to all the senses and never disappoints.

5. GAS’ Jalapeno Popper Burger

GAS’ Jalapeno Popper Burger is memorable to say the least!

It’s massive. It’s spicy. It’s two patties surrounding cream cheese and jalapeños battered and deep fried. It’s amazing.

All of GAS Full Service Restaurant’s burgers are hand pattied from regionally pasture raised beef- this local love is just one of the 2 dozen reasons I love GAS. {That’d make a good post! I need to remember that… 2 dozen reasons to have GAS. Haha} Anyways, this massive burger is everything a fun, quirky, local favorite should be. Feel free to share with a friend- maybe you’ll have room for one of their homemade sweet treats afterward!

6. Collage anything

Sorbet Palate Cleanser at Collage

Sorbet Palate Cleanser at Collage

This might sound like a cop out because I can’t pin one thing down… {ahem} but, seriously, everything is amazing at Collage! From the roasted bulb of garlic served alongside freshly baked bread to the palate cleansing sorbet you’re offered to a perfectly seared side of foie gras alongside a perfectly prepared filet… Collage is an unexpectedly refined fine dining experience in St. Augustine. Set aside a few hours and enjoy a gourmet meal at the leisurely pace it deserves.

7. Burrito Works UFO

Photo Cred: Yelp

Photo Cred: Yelp!

The Mexican UFO is 2 crunchy tacos stuffed with goodness enrobed in a layer of molten cheese all wrapped in a tortilla. Have you ever seen anything like this at Chipotle?!? {correct answer: NO!} You choose between fish, chicken or beef and then customize your UFO so it’s an Unparalleled Food Occurance. I just made that acronym up. Anyone know what the UFO stands for? Well anyways, you can’t go wrong at Burrito Works Taco Shop.

8. Bistro de Leon’s weekend goodies

Bistro de Leon, French Restaurant St Augustine

Brioche, toasted and served with homemade preserves and Bistro de Leon’s chocolate croissants are worth the trip!

Every weekend, Chef Poinard bakes chocolate croissants, brioche or some other amazing French breakfast treat. They sell out in the first few hours of opening, so don’t expect to order these for dessert in the evening. One of my favorite fall memories included a stop by Bistro de Leon before we boarded the Trolley for a St. Augustine staycation. You can enjoy breakfast in the restaurant, but there’s something special about grabbing a great breakfast treat to-go and enjoying amazing flavors while strolling. Grab your coffee from Kookaburra next door- they’re my fave.

9. Popsicle from the Hyppo

The Hyppo Gourmet Popsicles St Augustine

The coconut popsicle is one of my favorite Hyppo flavors.

The Hyppo has a cult-like following- it seems that no matter what popsicle flavors they churn out, people line up for a taste! My personal favorites are the coconut (dip it in chocolate!), the strawberry datil (dip it in chocolate!), and the pineapple cilantro (don’t dip this one). Don’t try the lavender. Here’s another place you should take it to-go… along with some extra napkins. Enjoy this refreshing treat while walking around downtown!

10. O’Steens for Local Shrimp


photo cred:

Like The Columbia Restaurant, O’Steens is a St. Augustine landmark. Save your calories- all the good stuff there is fried! There’s always a line, it’s cash only and it’ll probably be full of more locals than visitors. For a taste of North Florida, order their Fried St. Augustine Shrimp and a couple of southern sides- make one of them the Squash Casserole.

O'Steen's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

10 Must Try Food Experiences

You know coming up with JUST 10 food experiences is quite a challenge… many of my favorites (Claude’s gourmet, hand crafted chocolates) didn’t get (Cold Cow!) the attention (The Floridian) they deserve (Yard Bird Cafe). So join the chat on facebook and subscribe below for regular updates with what’s worth exploring in St. Augustine: