Florida Man Smokehouse opens in Pinellas Park

If I had to describe Thomas Geer, owner of Florida Man Smokehouse and Deli, in one word, it would be passionate. And not just because he told me to say it.

“I love barbecue,” Thomas said as he welcomed me to his modest new Pinellas Park restaurant. “I love the product, I love the preparation – I absolutely love what I do.”

We sat down at a polished wooden table. He moved a cup of slow-roasted meat seasoning to me.

“Here,” he said. “Get a chest shot.

Twenty years of grilling passion

Thomas opened Florida Man Smokehouse a few months ago on the 4th of July, but his love of barbecue is nothing new.

“I got into cooking about 20 years ago,” he said. “My ex-wife Lorrie – who is now my head chef – and I used to own a house in Montana until we moved here ten years ago. I spent years making jerky and playing with smokers, but I always knew I wanted my own restaurant in Florida. I love Florida.”

I fired. The brisket was tender and tasty.

“I love this community,” he continued, his eyes lighting up at the sight of the two regulars approaching. “I love Pinellas Park. I love people.”

I held back a laugh. “Is there anything you don’t like?” I asked.

His smile disappeared. “Dishes. I absolutely do hatred dishes.”

High quality food “cooked with love”

There’s something to be said for talent, but food “cooked with love” always tastes better. So after a few minutes of hearing about Tom’s undying passion for barbecue, I knew his food would be good – and it was.

In addition to being simply delicious, the items on Thomas’ menu are innovative, creative and sourced from the highest quality ingredients. None of this comes as a surprise, however, given the amount of pride and time he puts into his work.

Wondering what some of these unique scratches are? Don’t worry — I won’t leave you alone.

It’s time to look at the best.

Offer

Philly smoked brisket

A clear example of Florida Man’s barbecue innovation is the restaurant’s play on the Philly Cheesesteak. Instead of serving his smoked brisket on a “two-side” plate, Thomas piles his slow-cooked, hand-pulled meat onto a roll (with house-made cheese sauce) in an ode to the traditional Northeast favorite.

Chest Ruben

The Brisket Reuben isn’t just the most popular item on the Florida man’s menu, it’s also Thomas’ personal favorite.

With USDA prime meat, sauerkraut, and gooey pepper cheese, it’s no surprise, though—especially since it’s served on hot, buttery marble rye.

Pulled Pork Sliders

The best-selling secret menu item, Florida Man’s pulled pork sliders are next level. The sweet rolls are grilled and buttered, the pork is smoked with hickory and cherry, and each mini sandwich contains crispy fried chips.

To top it all off? Guests can choose to have their meat marinated in any of Thomas’ homemade BBQ sauces.

BBQ smoked chicken wings and ribs

Chicken wings and pork ribs are barbecue classics. Juicy, tender and topped with a spicy dry spread, these bad guys won’t be found in your backyard.

And the pro-tip? You can also order ribs fried in panko breadcrumbs and smothered in Asian BBQ sauce. Just ask Thomas for “fried smoked ribs.”

He pulled out a Pork Po’ Boy

Another innovative way to serve barbecue, this sandwich is stuffed to the brim with pulled pork, baked beans and coleslaw. If you have a big appetite but a tight budget (think $11), this sandwich was made for a “Po’ boy” like you.

New cue style

As a food writer, I am well versed in the various areas of barbecue. Memphis is dry, the Carolinas love their vinegar, and everything in Alabama is smothered in that delicious white sauce. However, my visit to Florida Man Smokehouse was the first time I had ever heard of a “Florida” style cue.

“I don’t know how to describe it,” Thomas said of the genre. “It’s just Florida.

He thought for a second and finally gave up.

“Yeah, it’s just Florida.

So if — in a hundred years — “Florida” becomes the fifth official style of barbecue, we can thank Pinellas Park and Thomas’ creativity and passion for it.

Florida Man Smokehouse and Deli is located at 9721 66Thursday N in Pinellas Park. To learn more about the restaurant, diners can visit the spot’s official website, Instagram or Facebook.

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