Lord knows Miami could use some serious barbecue in a fun atmosphere that doesn’t involve wagon wheels or fly swatters. And I can see why Myron Mixon was tagged to head up just such a joint in Wynwood. From humble beginnings helping his dad run a barbecue sauce business, the white-bearded fireball went on to win hundreds of awards on the barbecue circuit.
The thing is, Mixon and his Miami backers have gotten a bit too ambitious with an encyclopedic menu loaded with every Southern snack or fixin’ and then some. They would have been wise to heed Mixon’s own advice: “Barbecue is a simple food. Don’t mess it up.” Still, after some weeks of tweaking, Pride & Joy has proved pretty darn good at serving up nice slabs of smoked meat, coleslaw and cold beer.
Ambience: They got the look right, with chandeliers of vintage beer cans, saddle-backed booths and well-worn wooden tables. Neon lettering and kitschy signs lend a city edge. B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Led Zeppelin on the playlist make for a fun, if somewhat deafening, time, and staffers have been genuinely friendly on our visits.
- Tender, glossy baby-backs ribs with just a hint of smoke
- Meltingly soft sweet, meaty pulled pork
- A bowl of “worth the trip” burnt ends – crispy-edged nibs of moist beef that go down like movie popcorn
- Gently toasted white bread that made for a good sandwich
- Hickory-smoked barbecue sauce
- Four house-made sauces in plastic squeeze bottles range from a sweet vinegar to spicy mustard
- Cooling, creamy Mama’s Coleslaw – an addictively tangy-sweet combination of shredded green cabbage and tomato
- Sweet as candy, soupy baked beans
- Over a dozen brews on tap and twice as many in the bottle
- Banana pudding that tastes like it’s straight off the back of the Nilla Wafer box – creamy, butter-yellow custard that gets extra pop from a shatteringly crisp, brulee coating on the slices of sugar-ripe banana
What Didn’t Work
- Dry St. Louis-style ribs
- Smoked brisket that could use a bit more smoke
- “Drier than crackers” jalapeño cornbread with peach butter
- Mixon’s chicken cupcakes – boneless thighs shoved into a cupcake tin, cooked until the skin is melted and slippery and coated in sweet, slightly spicy and overly buttery sauce
- Too heavily breaded & greasy fried chicken
- Disappointing side dishes
- Mac and cheese in a milky orange sauce that resembles school cafeteria fare
- Heavy fried pickles and french fries
- Tasteless collard greens dotted with shredded pork