Random Appetites: Bono’s Barbecue

Bono’s Put Bar-B-Q
Locations in Florida and Colorado

The second husband introduced me to Bono’s in Gainesville on one of our trips down to Orlando and I have to say that might just be one of the best things to come out of that marriage ;-)

I was told they had the best smoked turkey. Ever. And I was told right. Most smoked turkey breast tends to be kinda dry, at least in my experience. Not Bono’s. I don’t know how they do it (I suspect a deal with some dark overlord), but their turkey breast is moist and flavorful, you don’t even need any sauce!

But speaking of sauces, there’s another stand-out in the Bono’s smoke pit: the Mustard sauce. Technically known as the Original 1949 Sauce, this mustard sauce is the tops, be all end all of meat condiments.

Granted, they also offer pork (tasty), chicken (standard) and beef (can be dry, needs the sauce!) along with 3 other sauces in their stable: Sweet & Tangy, Hickory Red and Smokin’ Pit Hot sauces are all available to try and bring home in bottles behind the register. Next to the mustard I’m partial to their sweet sauce, as I am with most places, but usually don’t even bother when the beloved Mustard sauce is on the table.

Side dishes range from green beans redolent with bacon (very salty so it might actually be salt pork instead of bacon), the usual fries, sweet potatoes and (Todd’s favorite) the deep-fried corn on the cob. I’ve also ordered their potato salad (which is the only side not made on the premises, according to our waitress)  and their squash casserole.

Now, at every barbecue some rain must fall. There have been a few less-than-stellar experiences at Bono’s. As I hinted above, the smoked beef was rather dry on our last visit (both Todd and I ordered it with similar results) and their Texas toast is often similarly dry (I like mine with penty of garlic butter, thank you very much, and last time there was almost no butter and definitely no garlic!). But probably the worst item we’ve ever had there were their onion rings. It’s sad, right: how can you screw up onion rings? I’m afraid they did, though. While nice and large (always a good start) they were coated with such a load of heavy, caked-on, barely seasoned batter which made the size overwhelming, and not in a good way. The sauce they came with was good, though.

So if you find yourself in one of the many cities along the Florida east coast (or Gainesville, or, you know, Colorado?) with a Bono’s and you want some good smoked turkey, Bono’s is the place to try! And if anyone is brave enough to order the “Hawg Size” portion of one of their plates, please take a picture and send it to me!