Harry & Larry's Smokes It

Steve Blount
Chow Baby Orlando

Continuing my quest for more and better smoked pig, I recently stumbled on a small restaurant in Winter Garden that's making a serious run at my established favorites. Harry & Larry's is a little different from the other barbecue places in that it's owned by a couple of young women - they named the place for their grandfathers - it's located in an authentic 1920s building in downtown Winter Garden, and the smoker is right up front behind the cashiers counter.

If you walk down Plant Street, Winter Garden's main drag, your nose will lead you to Harry & Larry's. Anytime it's open, there's the sweet smell of hickory smoke floating about.

The long, narrow space has a counter up front. A big steel-doored smoker unit just behind the counter stays busy cranking out smoked pig. You place your order and they hand you one of those stands that normally holds an order number to place at your table. Only instead of order numbers, the stands hold a playing card.

So, with an order of ribs and a pulled pork sandwich in place for the Jack of Hearts, I moved back to the tables and made myself a drink at the fountain.

There are some antique commercial signs on the exposed brick walls, and the space is bright and pleasant - an enjoyable place to chow down on what turns out to be some very good barbecue.

The ribs were dry-rubbed, mopped and smoked and turned out juicy and flavorful. The pork sandwich, too, was plenty juicy. The sauces offered are Carolina-style mustard based. Honestly, being from Florida, I'm a tomato-based guy through and through, but these sauces were very good. Not too vinegary (a fault with too many mustard sauces).

Unusual, also, for this area, Harry & Larry's offers smoked beef brisket. So all you Texas ex-pats, this could be the place for you. I haven't tried the beef brisket yet, but I plan to soon - if I can keep my hands off those ribs!

Prices are very friendly: a sandwich combo with fries and a drink is under $8, the St. Louis ribs are $10.75 and meat by the pound is $10 - nice to know if you're planning a party. Sides include baked beans, their version of Brunswick stew (called "Q" stew) and sweet potato fries.

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