Make us your home page

Slow-smoked barbecue packs 'em in at Largo's Smokin' Rib Shack BBQ

The aroma from the Smokin' Rib Shack BBQ is unmistakable. For the last five years, the sweet smell of Curt Luke's barbecue has enticed the workday lunch crowd, commuters heading home and spectators on their way to Largo High School football games. The business cooks up Southern-style barbecued ribs, chicken, pork and beef sandwiches. And if the crowd around lunchtime is any indication, the restaurant is doing well. The meat and poultry are cooked in huge, custom-made smokers. Luke starts the fire with a mix of charcoal and oak. He pairs the barbecue with cole slaw or baked beans. Perhaps Luke's success boils down to a secret family recipe. It comes in hot, medium or mild. "My grandfather, Johnnie Mack, taught my father, who taught me, to barbecue," said Luke, 39. "We call it the Grandpa Johnnie Mack's Famous Barbecue Sauce because that's what it is, my grandfather's sauce.'' Luke, who graduated from University of South Florida with a business degree, first started the business in the Ridgecrest section of Largo about seven years ago. He focused on takeout. With the help of Corey Miller, a friend and cousin through marriage, Luke expanded to a larger takeout location on Walsingham Road. He wanted to grow the business further, however, and he opened the sit-down restaurant in Largo's downtown district in the summer of 2004. When Luke first graduated from USF, he envisioned owning several locations. "But over the years, I've realized bigger isn't necessarily better,'' he said. "Our success is consistency. Our customers come in here, and they know what they want, and we're able to give it to them.''

If you go


Rib Shack BBQ

Where: 600 W Bay Drive, Largo

Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday

For more information: Call (727) 501-9090

Slow-smoked barbecue packs 'em in at Largo's Smokin' Rib Shack BBQ 12/01/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 1, 2009 6:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Shares in Tampa's Health Insurance Innovations rebound from stronger earnings report


    TAMPA — After a sharp drop in its stock price in August and September, Health Insurance Innovations on Monday announced strong revenue and net income gains in preliminary numbers for its third quarter of the year. The company also announced a $50 million stock buyback over the next two years meant to bolster its …

    After losing more than half its market value between August and September, shares in Tampa's Health Insurance Innovations are rebounding."The new share repurchase program underscores our confidence in our business strategy, financial performance, and the long-term prospects of our company while also allowing us the financial flexibility to continue to invest in our business," company CEO Gavin Southwell announced Monday. [Courtesy of LinkedIn]
  2. Trigaux: Campaign aims to leverage tourism ads to recruit millennials, businesses

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay's unleashing one of its best weapons — a cadre of successful entrepreneurs and young business leaders — in a marketing campaign already under way but officially …

    Erin Meagher, founder of Tampa coconut oil products company Beneficial Blends, is part of a group of business savvy millennial entrepreneurs and managers who are helping to pitch the work-live-play merits of the Tampa Bay market in a new marketing campaign called Make It Tampa Bay. The campaign is backed by Visit Tampa Bay and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. and aimed at recruiting more millennial talent to relocate and stay in the Tampa Bay area. [Courtesy Tampa Hillsborough EDC, Visit Tampa Bay]
  3. Florida gas prices drop 25 cents on average over past month


    Gas prices are on a downward tear post-hurricane. Tampa Bay fell to $2.34 per gallon on Sunday, down 10 cents over the week, according to AAA, The Auto Club Group. Across the state, gas fell 7 cents over the same period to average $2.47 per gallon.

    Gas prices across the state fell 25 cents over 31 days. | [Times file photo]
  4. Entrepreneur expands interests with Twisted Crafts


    SOUTH TAMPA — Playgrounds of Tampa owner Mike Addabbo is expanding into the do-it-yourself industry with his new endeavor: Twisted Crafts.

     Jennifer and Michael Addabbo pose in their latest entrepreneurial enterprise: Twisted Crafts. Photo courtesy of Twisted Craft.
  5. Amazing Lash franchise expands to South Tampa


    SOUTH TAMPA — Jeff Tolrud opened the doors to his third Amazing Lash Studio franchise earlier this month, this time in South Tampa.

    When customers walk in, the studios have the same look and feel throughout the country, operator Jeff Tolrud said of Amazing Lash Studio. Tolrud opened his third in Hillsborough County earlier this month. Photo courtesy of Amazing Lash.