Sunday, April 16, 2006

Fat Boys Bar-B-Q: Ocala, FL

Whenever I am driving from North Florida to anywhere south of there, like Orlando or Tampa - I MUST plan my trip to go through Ocala, FL so I can hit Fat Boys. It's not an option anymore. I have eaten here so many times I have actually lost count. I may have put some pics up from a couple of years ago on one of my earlier postings. Now that I have started dong official reviews of places, I knew that I had to go back and do one on this place.

If you are looking for an authentic Florida style BBQ place, then this is where the bar is held. I would say it's one of my top 5 places to eat BBQ, but number 1 for Florida. If you aren't sure what I mean, then let's do a run down. Although Florida really doesn't have a "style" like Memphis or North Carolina, it does borrow from several. Most of the places will advertise as pit smoked, and usually this is done with oak wood.

Where Florida differs is that they offer chicken, sliced pork (not chopped), sliced beef, ribs, and sliced smoked turkey where there is really no emphasis on one or the other types of meat as being the most important. The most well known place for this is Sonny's. Then there is Bono's, and Woody's. I'd have to say Fat Boy's is the best of this breed of Q style, and for some reason, the chicken is some of the best - although I like it all. It may have something to do with the fact that you can have all you want to eat for about $6.75, which is cheaper than you can cook this stuff at home. With that you will get beans, fries, slaw, and garlic toast, and you get all of those you want to eat too.

The thing about Fat Boys is that EVERYTHING is good. I even have to stop myself from filling up on slaw because its that good. The chicken taste like its been smoked, but possibly even BBQ'ed rotisserie style. Its always moist and juicy, never dry.

The ribs are so big I can eat about 2 or 3 at most. They are very meaty.

The place is non-assuming and low key. If you go at the right times you can get a seat easy. We were actually there on Easter Sunday and I could not believe they were open. The funny thing is that this place is literally next door to a Sonny's BBQ. Its proabably the best kept secret in the area. The food comes out quickly and they keep the sweet tea flowing in huge glasses with the crushed ice.

The sauces are great. They are mustard based, a hotter mustard based, and a sweeter one that is darker - but I still think it is mustard based. They are better than any sauces I have had from any of the other Florida style BBQ resurants. I even like to mix the hot and the sweet together to form the ultimate flavor sauce.

I give Fat Boy's an 8.5 (very high) because they have great overall food (meat, sides, and sauces) and GREAT prices. You can get a great meal that is sure to fill you up for less than $10 and sometimes a lot less (like a 4.75 sandwich). I would highly recommend that Fat Boys be on your list of things to do in Florida. Go check out Silver Springs and then head over to Fat Boys for a meal you won't forget.



Lance said...

Being a local, I happen to know that sanitation isn't very good there. That's the reason locals don't flock to it, and the Sonny's down the street is always packed.

Scott Moore said...

You must be joking, right? Anyone who KNOWS Q, KNOWS you don't care about sanitation!!! Man, the best places are the ones in buildings just about to be condemned, in the worst part of town, that most people are scared to go to. The ones you drive by at 20 MPH and have them just throw a sack in the back of your truck. There is no sanitation in Q!!! Burning a piece of pork in a barrel of smoke from hickry wood from 8 hours burns all the germs off of the food anyway. Go on down to Sonny's where they'll be glad to take your money for a pile of crap.

Patrick said...

Completely correct! I recently got back from a trip to Ocala, and was blown away how good Fatboy's is. Best part is I was taken to Sonny's by some locals after raving about Fatboy's, and was definately disappointed by the competition. Locals need to come out of their chain-restaurant loving world and recognize the local wonder that is Fatboy's.

John said...

Fat Boys is better and less $$$ than SOnny's. I did live in Ocala for 5 years and ate at Fat Boys all the time. Sanitation is good. You will not get sick if you eat there. There is a difference between sanitation and building appearance. Nice and clean home v. nice and clean mansion. The difference is cost of product not sanitation. AYCE Chicken for $8.25 get real. Plus it tasts very good!