#48 of 49 Cape San Blas Restaurants

Sparks Bar-B-Q and Brew

Sparks Bar-B-Q & Brew in Port St. Joe: Topnotch Forgotten Coast BBQ
Local Expert's Rating:
5.0 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Combine your Forgotten Coast seaside R&R and on-the-water adventures with some grade-A barbecue courtesy of Port St. Joe’s Sparks Bar-B-Q & Brew, keeping its “Ole Hickory Pit” busy to churn out fabulous smoked delicacies. The brisket, ribs, pulled pork, chicken, and other meats are the stars of the show, but the sides—and the dessert!—are also well worth celebrating.

- The FloridaPanhandle.com Local Expert Team

Barbecue is one of the great American culinary traditions, most intrinsically associated with the American South. It may not necessarily be the first cuisine that pops to mind when you envision the sugar-sand beaches and world-class sportfishing of the Florida Panhandle’s Forgotten Coast, but as it happens you can indeed track down some topnotch BBQ here, not least at Sparks Bar-B-Q & Brews in Port St. Joe.

The heart of the operation is the “Ole Hickory Pit,” expertly overseen by the Sparks pitmaster in order to churn out some mouthwatering smoked meats: from ribs, beef brisket, and pulled pork to whole smoked “yard-bird” (aka chicken). 

Said meats are the main attraction on the BBQ plates that anchor the Sparks menu. Choose a particular protein—other options include smoked sausage and smoked pulled chicken—or go for the combo approach. Your plate comes with a choice of two sides, and, as is true of many a fine barbecue joint, they’re really just as soul-satisfying: baked beans, collards, coleslaw, smoked mac-and-cheese, Brunswick stew, Texas caviar (aka fresh veggies and bean dip), and others.

The Sparks Bar-B-Q & Brews menu also includes sandwiches—ribs, sausage, brisket, pulled pork, and pulled chicken—available on Texas toast, a toasted bun, or whole wheat. You’ll also find some downright decadent “Stuffed Bakes”: baked potatoes laden with BBQ sauce, sour cream, cheese, butter, and fresh chives, and including plenty of meat-enhanced versions.

Portions are generous, which makes the prices at Sparks kind of a steal-of-a-deal situation. The aforementioned combo plate should hit the sweet spot for two diners, for example.

What do you have to, crucially, wash down all of that pit-smoked and home-cooked goodness? Well, no worries on that count: From fountain drinks, lemonade, and iced tea to wine and beer—including as delivered in pitcher or bucket form—you’re totally covered at Sparks. (It comes by the “Brews” in its name honestly, with local suds among the offerings.)

The ambiance at Sparks Bar-B-Q & Brews does a good job setting the stage for some down-home Ole Hickory Pit eating, with a blues-heavy soundtrack and a nice outdoor seating area that takes full advantage of the Forgotten Coast’s friendly Gulf Coast climate.

Now, how about a closer look at a few of the genuine menu showstoppers at Port St. Joe’s Sparks Bar-B-Q & Brews? Here we go:

Beef Brisket
It’s mighty hard to narrow down a top dog among the Sparks smoked BBQ meats, but the Beef Brisket just might stand a smidgen above the rest. Served in half-pound portions, the brisket comes in your choice of Lean or Fatty Cut, and is going to hit all the right marks, regardless…

Pulled Pork Sandwich
Another heavenly offering on the Sparks Bar-B-Q & Brews menu? The Pulled Pork Sandwich, regardless of whether you go with the whole wheat, the Texas toast, or the toasted bun for your bread…

Banana Pudding
Beware on a Sparks Bar-B-Q & Brews visit: Don’t overload on your main course and sides. You’re definitely going to want to save room for the housemade dessert: an absolutely knockout Banana Pudding.

It turns out that authentic BBQ cookery goes swimmingly with the sand, surf, and sunshine of the Forgotten Coast. Steer your way toward Port St. Joe and Cape San Blas when lunchtime hits, and enjoy the moist, tender, outrageously flavorful productions of that Sparks “Ole Hickory Pit”

Insider Tips:
-Most definitely shell out the extra dollar to add coleslaw to your BBQ meat sandwich…
-Service is occasionally on the slow side at Sparks, but believe us: It’s worth the wait.