Review: I’ve seen the light — Fat Boyz Barbecue in Coral Springs is smoked meat done right


Crow is not on the menu at Fat Boyz Barbecue in Coral Springs, but after I enjoyed just about every smoked morsel in the place — ribs, brisket, pastrami, chicken and turkey — I will gladly eat it. Proverbially speaking, of course. Fat Boyz Coral Springs, which opened in July 2018, may well be the best barbecue joint in Broward County.

It is clean, spacious and comfortable, with a recently-annexed second room raising capacity to 100 seats. Smoke perfumes the air and workers greet customers with smiles and cries of, “How ya’ doing?” The brisket is Texas-style and the hospitality is Southern. Dry-rubbed ribs, kissed with hickory and spice, have proper smoke ring and firm meat that falls off the bone the old-fashioned way — through low-and-slow cooking, not cheap shortcuts like parboiling. Chicken has glazed dark skin crisped to perfection.

So raise a piece of jalapeño corn bread and a glass of birch beer and say, “Here’s to redemption.”

When I reviewed Fat Boyz Barbecue’s Deerfield Beach flagship in September 2017, I liked the vibe and back story of husband-and-wife owners Jarael and Yolanda Holston-Jones, locals who started with a food truck and quit other jobs to pursue their barbecue passion. But the food? That I did not like so much. Most of what I ate tasted mediocre, either soggy, salty or too sweet. The ribs — St. Louis spare ribs and baby backs — looked good but were lifeless.

There were extenuating circumstances, however. It was a couple weeks after Hurricane Irma, and Jarael explained at the time that the head cook was sidelined dealing with hurricane damage at home. Still, the eatery was open for business. In the minds of editors and me, that made it fair game for review. But I don’t know if it was an entirely fair review, given the wallop South Florida had just taken. I described the pulled pork as “a mushy bland mess, a brown heap tinged with Carolina mustard sauce that … looked like some of the Irma debris sitting on my block.”

Jarael Holston-Jones, a church pastor, U.S. Army veteran and Ely High graduate from Pompano Beach, took the negative review admirably, with turn-the-other-cheek understanding and humility. He admitted some things needed improvement and went back to work. Then, he says, something heartening occurred: Fat Boyz’s large and loyal fan base rallied around the eatery. Business actually improved. Jarael and Yolanda persevered through other trials, including a vandalism incident at the Deerfield location.

The Coral Springs outpost, in a Sample Road shopping center just west of State Road 7 and the Seminole Coconut Creek Casino, gave the couple a chance to win new converts. And it gave me an opportunity to give Fat Boyz a long-awaited second chance.

The results in Coral Springs say no. These smokers are on fire.

Fat Boyz Barbecue

6192 W. Sample Road, Coral Springs


Cuisine: American/Southern barbecue

Cost: Inexpensive-moderate. Sandwiches cost $7.99 to $12, platters (with two sides) $11.99-$23.99, sides $1.50-$5.25, rib racks and meats by the pound available

Hours: 11 a.m.- 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-8 p.m. Sunday

Reservations: No. First come, first served

Credit cards: All major

Bar: No alcohol yet, but beer and wine coming soon. Specialty soda machine (locally made birch beer, cream and strawberry soda) and tubs of sweet and unsweetened iced tea

Noise level: Mellow with occasional bursts of chopping and hacking of pork and rib racks. Live music and karaoke coming soon to annexed room

Wheelchair access: Ground level

Parking: Free lot, 954-356-4508. Follow my food adventures on Instagram: @mikemayoeats. Sign up for my weekly dining newsletter at Join the conversation at