When the urge to indulge in some good ol’ southern bar-b-que hits, there’s never a “Plan B.” So when we recently had an itch for some BBQ, you can’t imagine how thrilled we were to learn that Stottlemyer’s Smokehouse was opening that very night! Perfect! We’d found a salve to sooth the BBQ itch.
But first, a little back story about Stottlemyer’s. . .
Any long term resident of Sarasota will tell you this – for over 20 years the area’s best fried chicken came from the deli counter at Steve and Terry Stottlemyer’s Texaco station on Fruitville Road, about a mile east of I-75. A gas station! Take that, KFC!
Move forward 20 years of continued success, Steve and Terry decided to remedy the serious lack of places to eat once you cross the “great divide” of I-75, with Stottlemyer’s Smokehouse. And, seeing that they had the room and the resources to foray into a full-fledged restaurant operation, you had to know where there’s smoke, there’s fire. . . in the form of a red hot barbeque joint!
Maybe massive is a better word, since Steve built the most impressive Tiki hut I’ve ever seen. And believe me, “hut” is a misnomer in this case! Stottlemyer’s Smokehouse seats up to 150 people under its soaring Polynesian-style cover, with the additional space available for up to 350 people!
We get out of the car, and sure enough, the smell of smoked meats now pulls us in like a tractor beam to a dining area to the rear side of the Texaco station, and believe you me . . . the place is buzzing. This is Day 1, and the place if almost filled to capacity in the shade. How can you not be excited?
With no room at the full service bar, Jill and I are seated at one of the last empty tables, settling in to take it all in. Stottlemyer’s Smokehouse oozes of everything cool about living in the subtropics. There are friendly servers, smiling and laughing patrons, and I’m pretty sure some full bellies everywhere you look.
The menu is uncomplicated, exactly as it should be, but that doesn’t make our choices any easier.
With cold drinks in place, I choose the smoked chicken wings to kick things off. Now, I fancy myself something of a wing aficionado, so trust me when I say that Buffalo has little to do with these smoky, moist, meaty, maybe-I-should-pretend-I’m-in-an-all-you-can-eat-contest and not share with Jill; but there’s more
serious work tasty ‘que that we need to get to.
Looking at the menu, how could we not order the Beef Brisket – King of the Smoker? This baby is listed as “slow smoked for 14 hours, wrapped, finished and hand carved to order”. Add in two sides, for which I choose Mac and Cheese, and Sweet Collard Greens with Bacon (’cause I’m trying to eat healthier dontcha know), and things just got real. . . real fast.
Now I really liked that the brisket was the king of the plate. The sides were tasty, served in tidy 2 oz. ramekins, which I felt they were just the right proportion to the meat. Just a little of the house bbq sauce, and I was a happy man.
Jill was torn between smoked ribs or an order of Stottlemyer’s famous fried chicken, so . . . being the husband of her dreams, I suggested she order one of each, and I’d “help” finish whatever she couldn’t eat. I’m just nice like that.
The ribs hit the table first. Stottlemyer’s Smokehouse serve both smoked beef ribs, and baby-back pork ribs. Both are dry rubbed and slow cooked in the smoker. Jill ordered up a half-rack of the prime-cut baby backs with two sides – a creamy fresh coleslaw and some crispy onion rings.
The dry rub was so tasty you didn’t need any sauce to enjoy the ribs, but Jill added a swirl – just to shine up the photo. No complaint over the ribs! They had a nice ratio of meat to the bone, and trimmed of any unnecessary fat. Yum!
So while we were pigging out on everything else, we couldn’t “chicken out” on the fried original specialty of the house. And who could say anything but good things about Stottlemeyer’s Famous Fried Chicken! Seriously, in this case the chicken truly came before the ribs! One of the best things about their fried chicken is the ultimate crunch of the coating, the moist and delicious meat, and none of the greasy oil dripping down your arms. How do they do it? I’m sure it’s a Stottlemyer secret.
I’m pretty confident the secret that is Stottlemyer’s Smokehouse, won’t be a secret anymore. Once tourist season returns to Sarasota, I suspect we’ll see a continual line of guests from Sun ‘n Fun (and every smoked meat loving local) making this new BBQ joint their favorite local restaurant.
Way to go Steve and Terry. Way to go!