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. In your 20s and living with mom and dad? In Florida, you're not alone.

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — After graduating from the University of Florida in 2015, Gabrielle Piloto jumped on the highway and headed south to Tampa.

    Gabrielle Piloto, 22, moved home to live with her grandparents in West Tampa after graduating from the University of Florida in 2015. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]

  2. Senate leaders unveil bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act


    WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans, who have promised a repeal of the Affordable Care Act for seven years, took a major step on Thursday toward that goal, unveiling a bill to cut Medicaid deeply and end the health law's mandate that most Americans have health insurance.

    U.S. Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The bill's chief author, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has said "Obamacare is collapsing around us, and the American people are desperately searching for relief." [AP]
  3. Southwest Airlines to offer flights from Tampa to San Diego


    TAMPA — Southwest Airlines will offer new nonstop service from Tampa International Airport to San Diego International Airport beginning Jan. 8, 2018.

    Southwest Airlines is planning to launch service from Tampa to San Diego.
[Times file photo]
  4. Tampa Bay homes values continue to rise along with sales prices

    Real Estate

    For the second month in a row, Tampa Bay had one of the highest year -over-year increases in home values in May, Zillow reported today.

    For the second month in a row, Tampa Bay had one of the highest year -over-year increases in home values in May, Zillow reported Thursday.
[Times file photo]
  5. Busy start has Florida Hospital Center Ice dreaming big


    WESLEY CHAPEL — Opening day brought 600 doctors, administrators and their families from Florida Hospital. Soon after that, the facility hosted its first junior league game and a collegiate showdown. A few weeks later, 200 kids, ages 4 to 9, participated in national Learn to Play Hockey Day.

    Alex Senushkin and his grandson, Styopa Kulshyn, 3, of Lakeland, skate at the Florida Hospital Center Ice rink in Wesley Chapel.
[CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]