If you've driven through downtown Lutz, you've no doubt caught the aroma of swine slow-cooking over oak charcoal. It's a smell that can hook you by your nose, make you pull a U-turn at the next opportunity to check out where it's coming from.
Whaley's Blazin' BBQ smokes up some of the finest barbecue in Lutz and in the whole Tampa Bay-area for that matter.
Todd Whaley owns the cooking and serving station in Lutz. He also owns the Whaley's setup in Odessa, right next to the Farmer's Market on Gunn Highway and even a weekend stand on Van Dyke Road near Lake Carlton Arms.
The Whaleys go back to 1932 doing business in Tampa. Whaley's Market first opened in 1932 and sold mostly produce. The stand evolved into a produce and meat market and then into a produce/meat/gourmet market.
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In 2002, Todd began cooking barbecue for the store. In 2008, the Whaleys lost the lease on their space in South Tampa and Todd got his barbecue license and opened the current stand in Lutz.
Whaleys relies on three rules for cooking barbecue: good meat, good sauce, and lots of time. Todd Whaley hand selects his cuts of pork for roast butt, ribs and brisket while using only locally harvested oak to smoke with.
Whaley's Blazin' BBQ sauce is a closely guarded family secret, but is so delicious that Todd claims they go through 50 gallons in a week.
The last element in his recipe for success is time. If you're in a hurry, cooking barbecue is not for you. Unless you want to just pick some up from Whaley's who have been cooking it all day for you.
"We cook the pork all night long," Whaley said. "We put the ribs on in the morning and they are done by noon."
You can pick up a 24-ounce bottle of the sauce next time you stop in. The sauce bottle can even be refilled. You can bring it back empty and they will top it off for you.
Even if you're just looking for some meat, Whaley's is gentle on the wallet, too. Todd Whaley has run the same special at the same price since he opened in 2008, $10 for five barbecue pork sandwiches. There's also half and full racks of ribs, brisket, even half chickens.
Whaley's can be found on U.S. 41 just south of Winn-Dixie.