“Barbecue should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein
Crydermans Barbecue is simplicity at its best. Owner, Chad Cryderman, hailing from Michigan, began his barbecue adventure in his own backyard. When a neighbor allowed Chad to borrow a smoker, his obsession with barbecue grew.
In July 2017, the Crydermans transformed the old 1930 historic gas station in Cocoa Village into a modern rustic establishment inviting you to experience a back woods or roadside dive in the midst of the city. But long before they transformed the gas station, they were serving Space Coast locals through his wife’s catering business.
As you walk up, a few key things will catch your attention. First, the glorious smell of oak fired barbecue. Second, the wooden fence indicating the hours of operation as: “open Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. until we sell out.” Best believe they will sell out! Third, the unique wooden tables. Last, the ever common long line which reaches the sidewalk. However, this is a good time to practice patience because what is waiting inside is literally a taste of outstanding, central Texas inspired barbecue.
I arrived right as the doors open at 11 a.m., and sure enough, I was the tenth person in line. Being that this was my first time, it gave me time to look over the menu which is cleverly hand written on a brown paper bag. Small and straight to the point, the menu features organic, non-GMO meats such as brisket, turkey, pulled pork and ribs, all sold by the pound and smoked outside in a 500 & 1,000-gallon smoker. Sandwiches, sides and specials are also available. A self-serve soda machine which features North Carolina’s great Cherrywine soda along with tea and Crydermans’ Hawaiian Sweet Tea.
My only problem was I wanted it all! What a conundrum, right? I decide on the brisket sandwich which I ordered at the deli style counter and then watched as the meat was cut and weighed in front of me. They asked me if wanted lean cut or fatty cut. I figured I couldn’t go wrong with a mix of both fatty and lean. I accompanied my sandwich with a side of the smoked-out beans, a soup, the dessert of the day and Crydermans Hawaiian tea.
Ready to get down to eating and taking my meal out to the dining area I was pleasantly surprised at the sight of family style tables and benches (which I learned were reclaimed wood from Hurricane Matthew). This is what barbecue is all about, pulling up a seat next to a friendly face and agreeing on one important thing at the moment, “Darn, this barbecue is lip smacking good!”
I began with the soup of the day, sausage cheese and potato with homemade croutons. The layers of flavor were harmonious. It started smoky and peppery, followed by a cheesy, creamy, velvety feel and finished with a hint of thyme. Then the smoked-out beans were calling my name. The beans were perfectly baked with chunks of onions, red pepper, bacon, and pork bits all left in the smoker just long enough to allow the smoked oak aroma and flavor to infuse itself within. I really appreciated that the beans were al dente and not overly sweet like most baked beans served.
The star of lunch was without a doubt the brisket sandwich. Six ounces of brisket seasoned with only salt and black pepper, quarter inch vibrant pink smoke line, juicy with meat butter (fat) that melts in your mouth, piled in between a Kaiser potato bun. Immediately, you can taste the high quality of the meat and the attention and care put into making it. As owner, Amy puts it, “We let the meat do the talking.” And it was definitely speaking my language. While they offer two barbecue sauces, sweet and hot, I chose to eat this outstanding smoked brisket sandwich unaltered.
By this time, my full meter was over the top but that did not discourage me from having dessert. Crydermans offers two desserts: banana pudding and bread pudding and the flavors changes regularly. Today’s special was PHAT Elvis’s bread pudding! Moist banana bread pudding, peanut butter chips, topped with bacon strips and homemade peanut butter glaze drizzled. Super tasteful collision of sweet, salty and smokiness.
While Cocoa Village continues to transition into a modern-historic town, Crydermans Barbecue is an excellent addition to a town that was lacking an outstanding barbecue place. Owners Chad and Amy really make you feel at home as they take a moment to visit the tables to greet you and share a laugh or compliment. This is a great reflection on the whole experience at Crydermans. Friendly staff, family style atmosphere, positive vibe and most of all awesome made from scratch barbecue. Visit Crydermans for some of the best barbecue on Florida’s Space Coast.
Crydemans Barbecue Wood Fired
401 Florida Ave.
Cocoa, Florida 32922
Wednesday – Saturday
11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. or Until Sold Out