From years of touring farmer’s markets, chili cook-offs, and wing cook-offs, Pig Floyd BBQ has found a place to call home.
“Years ago Pat started to BBQ and really knocked it out of the park,” said Marc Buoniconti. “It’s the best BBQ I have ever had.”
Marc Buoniconti and Pat Sheehy have been best friends since the first grade when they met in 1972 at Epiphany Catholic School in South Miami and then continued on to Christopher Columbus High School.
Growing up and pulling inspiration from both of their mothers’ home cooking, Pat took an interest in culinary and Marc found himself becoming Pat’s taste tester.
“We’ve been friends for a long time, and have done a lot of business together,” said Buoniconti. “And when Pat started Pig Floyd BBQ, I knew he was on to something big and suggested we try to find a permanent location, a place to call home.”
After some property searching, they settled their sights on a historical piece of land in Palmetto Bay, Florida.
“This location has been vacant for almost twenty years, but it used to be the home of the Old Cutler Inn, and before that, it was the Snowden property,” explained Sheehy, Pig Floyd’s Chef, and Pit Master.
The duo reached out to Eric Haas, the current owner of the historic land and owner of Sports Grill, a family sports restaurant with several locations throughout Miami, Florida.
“Eric loved the idea, and here we are,” said Buoniconti. “We are looking to create that same kind of legacy on this sacred land.”
It’s a unique outdoor space, with the BBQ pits off to the left, a large bamboo dome covering the seating area, custom made for the space by Distinctive Domes, and the new branded Pig Floyd food truck parked in the backdrop. There is music, TVs, a fire pit and yard games to play, including corn hole.
“The Palmetto Bay community doesn’t have anything quite like this,” explained Buoniconti. “A family place where you can just hang out, have a beer, listen to good music, watch the UM game, let your kids run around outside and enjoy some good old BBQ.”
The grand opening was the weekend of August 24th, when the Miami Hurricanes took on the Florida Gators. With over 250 people in attendance, the smokers were dishing up BBQ.
“You wouldn’t believe me even if I told you – Every new restaurant should have this problem,” said Sheehy. “We have had a line of about 70 people before our gate even opens.”
Pig Floyd BBQ is open Thursday through Sunday, starting at 4 p.m. until, as they say, ‘the meat is gone’ – and sometimes it’s gone in less than three hours.
“On Thursdays and Fridays we go through about 500 pounds of meat per day and then on Saturdays and Sundays about 1,000 pounds per day,” explained Buoniconti. “At a busy weekend farmer’s market we would go through about 350 pounds of meat per day, so that puts it into perspective. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”
With that comes what has been described as ‘insane’ preparation. Every day around 4 a.m. is when the fires are set and the meat goes on, and Pat wakes up every few hours by the sound of a temperature probe telling him to load more wood. Having started as a one-man band and working 18-hour days, Pat thankfully now has a great crew supporting him.
Pat challenges anyone if they want to come work at Pig Floyd BBQ, to come on over and try it out for 48 hours, and if you can hang, you will win yourself a t-shirt.
“It’s a process not done in Miami. We use what is called a stick burner, and burn only quality proprietary wood from a local distributor,” explained Sheehy. “The wood is the key to our BBQ. No gas, no propane. No sauce, dry rub only.”
Inspired by the likes of Pitmaster Aaron Franklin in Austin, Texas, Sheehy cooks on an open wood fire pit that warrants a lot of control, stabilization, and monitoring. And just like it is in Texas, when they run out, that’s it, they’re out.
“We are Texas-style, artisan wood fired BBQ. Nobody here does it like we do.”
And don’t be fooled by the name, there is something offered for everyone, even if you happen to be vegan.
“Our portabella burger is too good,” said Sheehy. “We make sure to cook the portabellas and any of the seafood we prepare on a different part of the grill, away from the meat.”
In addition to the portabella burgers, Pig Floyd BBQ prepares fresh seafood, including cedar plank salmon, and plans to host crawfish boils and a Friday fish fry.
The family environment offers ample parking and is even golf cart friendly. It currently operates as BYOB, and the near-future plan is to sell beer and wine.
“The plan is to keep it simple and keep our BBQ here in Palmetto Bay, and hopefully one day when my grandkids are running around, I can sit down and have a beer,” said Sheehy. “That’s the goal, to leave a legacy here.”
Pig Floyd BBQ is located at 7271 SW 168th Street, Palmetto Bay, Florida. For more information and hours of operation, please visit www.pigfloyd.net and follow on social media.