Newberry's Backyard BBQ
Newberry, Florida, is a miniscule town near Gainesville with a business district a mere two or three blocks long. There's a hardware store, a gunsmith, a nail salon. There really ain't much to Newberry, which just makes it more delightful that Newberry is home to some of the best barbeque in the area: Newberry's Backyard Bar-B-Q.
While growing up in Gainesville, I'd always been ambivalent about the local BBQ. Certainly, Gainesville is home to Sonny's Real Pit BBQ, which offers competent ribs. Sonny's dieter's plate (endless chicken, salad bar) is a real boon to those of us who "pig in" too often. But Sonny's is a chain, the biggest southern BBQ chain in the whole universe. I feel that BBQ isn't about big business; it's about a lone man with a smoker, a mess of pork ribs, and a vision. Also, there's David's Real Pit BBQ, "the best BBQ in Gainesville." Sadly, David's really ain't all that good. This is all the more lamentable because David's BBQ is so darn conveniently located, within spitting distance of my parent's home.
Anyways, for the best BBQ in Gainesville, you need to hop in the car and drive 20 minutes, through horse pastures and fields, to Newberry. My family orders the Family Feast, and there's no describing the feeling of elation when your server finally deposits, at your table, a double-decker serving tray loaded down with smoked pork ribs, smoked chicken, smoked beef, corn-on-the-cob, baked sweet potatoes, french fries, and texas toast. Plus peculiar little packets of cinnamon butter (for the toast), and all the beans and slaw you care to eat. You can also order onion rings by the half-foot (the rings come stacked on a dowel). The meat comes without sauce, and there are squeeze bottles for regular and hot sauce, plus that peculiar mustardy stuff that only South Carolinians care for. Accompanied with a tumbler of sweet tea or your favorite Budweiser product, the Family Feast is a sure-fire way to achieve meat-induced, hickory-smoked bliss.
To be fair, my brother, who spent a good chunk of his life in Austin, Texas, turned his nose up at the beef. "Jungleball," he declared. But the beef tasted fine to me, and really, this ain't Texas, with its fancy-schmancy brisket and sausage. No, this is North Florida, and he should feel lucky to get any beef at all. Get over it!
Perhaps the best part of the meal comes at the end, when you survey the remains and slowly realize that the Family Feast--"sized for a family of four"--actually yields leftovers for a whole 'nuther meal!!! Bless you, Newberry's Backyard Bar-B-Q!!
Newberry's Backyard Bar-B-Q 25405 West Newberry Rd. Newberry, FL 32669 http://backyardbarbq.com/