ADDRESS: 401 Florida Avenue, Cocoa, FL 32922
My friends at work are very much in the know about me moonlighting as a food blogger when I’m not an engineer. Because of this, I often ask around for local recommendations to check out, and my friend Jared mentioned to hit up Crydermans Barbecue up in Cocoa.
Up until this past weekend, The Broken Barrel down in Palm Bay was home to some of my favorite barbecue in the local area. But a stop at Crydermans before my haircut appointment definitely changed my mind to take the top spot.
When it comes to barbecue, my #1 and #2 items that I’m usually looking out for are brisket and ribs. Lucky for me, Crydermans seemed to specialize in both of those. The restaurant layout is relatively simple: covered outdoor seating and a small area inside the building to order your food. I got there around 11:45 a.m. on Saturday morning and the crowd was pretty light. But by the time I left about a half hour later, the line was already out the door with people waiting outside.
Inside the building, you’re first welcomed by the smoky aromas of the barbecue followed by some members of the restaurant staff. Behind the counter, they are hard at work cutting up the meats and dishing out the sides. You put your food order in by the pound, like a meat market style, and then slide down the counter where your side items are plated and your tray of food is ready.
Naturally, I wanted to get a good sampling of the menu in preparation for this blog post, so my picks were the sliced brisket, St. Louis style ribs, and house-made sausage. With each portion of meat weighing in a 1/4 pound, I was definitely going to be primed up for an afternoon nap after that tray of food. To help complement the meats, I also decided to go with side orders of their dirty rice and smoked beans.
One bite is sometimes all it takes to give you a sense of how good the food is, and boy, did this barbecue deliver. I went straight for the brisket, which was served without any sauce and up to you if you’d like to add some. For me, I’m more about how well the natural flavors can get infused into the meat during the cooking process, so I went in without sauce. It didn’t need it at all.
The brisket was still moist on the inside, and the bark on the outer edges provided those great smoky, peppery, and slightly sweet flavor notes that resonated through the rest of the meat. The ribs had what appeared to be a pepper rub on the outside, and was served brushed on top with a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce. The meat truly fell off the bone, keeping nice and tender while also retaining a lot of that smoky flavor during the cooking process.
With the house-made sausage, I was impressed that they were able to capture a lot of the smoky flavors into each bite. The texture of the sausage itself had almost a rough ground meat consistency, not like the dense texture you’d normally expect. It was more of an interesting observation, but didn’t detract from my enjoyment of downing all the pieces off the tray.
If you’re planning on focusing on the other meats for your main order, you can still sample the sausage in the dirty rice side. Coupled along with red peppers, onions, and jasmine rice, the sausage did bring that same savory flavor and slighty spicy kick to the dirty rice.
Don’t think to miss out on the smoked beans, either. I’m pretty sure that it was cooked with some brisket bits, because each bite was just a great fusion of savory, sweet, and smoky flavors. The great thing about the single portion of either of the sides was that it felt like just the right amount to complement the meats, which were the stars of the show.
It just so happened that the weather turned out to be a fantastic day to eat outdoors, being mid-70s and the humidity was low (by Florida standards). Jared mentioned to get here to the restaurant earlier in the day, and he wasn’t kidding about the line forming real quick. Crydermans Barbecue is certainly worth a wait, no question about it, and my mouth is already beginning to water just thinking about the next time I can hit up that barbecue.
Let’s now take a look at the Crydermans Barbecue Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
** Dirty Rice **
Jasmine rice cooked with red peppers, onions, and chunks of house-made sausage.
** Smoked Beans **
Slow smoked baked beans in a barbecue sauce mixture with brisket bits.
And finally, here are my rankings for Crydermans Barbecue:
Food: 5 / 5
Hands down some of the best brisket and ribs that I’ve had in the local area. I’m impressed with how much flavor is packed into the meat, even to the point that you don’t really need to add on any sauce. You know the barbecue is in high demand when their sign doesn’t mention a closing time, but instead just says “TILL SOLD OUT.”
Atmosphere: 4.75 / 5
I enjoyed the open-air outdoor seating arrangement, which also caters to the relatively nice weather in Florida (when the summer heat isn’t melting you). There are quite a few long, wooden benches that make up the seating, which can accommodate groups both large and small.
Service: 4.5 / 5
The restaurant staff were very friendly, and at one point, one of the owners (I think) came outside and started making the rounds to the various groups, checking in to see how the food was.
Price: 4.5 / 5
At face value, the barbecue might seem priced a bit on the high side. But after tasting just how good the quality of the food was, I am more than happy to pay that extra amount and support their business.