TAMPA — Pitmasters from two Tampa-area barbecue spots went head-to-head on Good Morning America Friday morning.
The showdown marked the fourth and final stop of the ABC morning show’s “United States of BBQ tour” — a search for some of the country’s best barbecue spots.
The competition, broadcast live from Old McMicky’s Farm in Odessa, pitted the owners of Jazzy’s BBQ in Town-N-Country against the owners of Station House BBQ in Lutz. Moderated by GMA’s Sam Champion, a trio of celebrity judges provided the final judgment on who made the best ‘cue: WWE star Titus O’Neil, chef Joe Isidori (of Tampa’s JoToro restaurant), and pro football Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks.
Jazzy’s BBQ owners Johnny Ray Smith, a former defensive back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and his wife Pamela (a former cheerleader for the Bucs), prepared their signature baked beans and ribs with a spicy barbecue sauce. Station House BBQ, led by owner and firefighter Anthony Fonseca and his wife Allison, prepared the spot’s popular 14-hour smoked brisket and apple slaw.
It looked like a tough call, and both teams received high praise from the judges, but ultimately Jazzy’s smoking skills took home the win — the judges loved their beans, ribs and scorching hot barbecue sauce.
Prior to Friday’s taping, the morning show crowned winners in Dallas, Chicago and Washington D.C. The four local champions are headed to New York City on Monday, where they’ll compete for the title of GMA Ultimate Pitmaster, plus a $10,000 prize.
Want to see for yourself how both spots measure up? Jazzy’s BBQ is located at 5703 W Waters Ave. in Tampa and Station House BBQ is located at 16319 N Florida Ave., in Lutz.
5 other Tampa Bay barbecue spots to try
4 Rivers Smokehouse
623 S MacDill Ave., Tampa. 14330 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. 844-474-8377. 4rsmokehouse.com
Al’s Finger Licking Good Bar-B-Que
1609 Angel Oliva Senior St., Tampa. 813-956-0675. alsybor.com
1101 1st Ave S., St. Petersburg. 727-443-7227. drbbqs.com
Smokin’ J’s Real Texas BBQ
5145 Gulfport Blvd. S, Gulfport. 727-329-8624. facebook.com/SmokinJsRealTexasBBQ
The Deviled Pig
3307 S Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. 813-766-1188. deviledpig.com