Austin pitmaster Mel Rodriguez teams up with Buffalo Bills’ wideout Isaiah McKenzie to bring Texas-style barbecue to the far-flung suburbs. Don’t fret the drive: If this place were in Wynwood or Brickell the line would take even longer than your trip to Miami Lakes. We’d call Rodriguez the Josh Allen of brisket smoking, but to our knowledge he’s still undefeated against pitmasters from Kansas City. Regardless, he’s slow-smoking his brisket as well as anyone in the game, and has brilliantly layered it with baked beans, creamed corn, and queso fresco for the Instagram sensation Brisket Sundae. He’s also a food waste savant, taking the scraps from his meats, grinding them up, and putting out one of Miami’s best burgers.
How to book: Stop in for first-come, first-served service.
It’s surprising that more of Miami’s best barbecue joints haven’t figured out what Mel Rodriguez has: Take the scraps of your slow-smoked meats, grind them up, and put them in a burger patty to end up with something pretty spectacular. La Traila’s burgers are like eating a perfectly-formed prime brisket platter, which is then cleverly topped with pulled pork, swiss, and pickles for the Bar-b-Cuban. Or kept deliciously simple with provolone and onions.
How to book: Stop in for first-come, first-served service or order online
The basics: Austin pitmaster Mel Rodriguez brings classic Texas-style brisket, turkey, and pulled pork to South Florida, teaming up with Bills wideout McKenzie for some celebrity cache. While the meats are the headline-grabbers, the half-pound Pit-smoked Burger incorporates brisket scraps, creating some of the more unique flavors you’ll find squished between a bun. Even with his mastery of Texas technique, Rodriguez also nods to local cuisine with Brisket and Queso Empanadas and a standout Tres Leches for dessert—that is, assuming you’ve still got room.
What the pitmaster says: “I like what they’re doing with brisket, how they’re keeping it true to that real, Texas market-style,” says Society’s Hales. “Though I think you can have some fusion in barbecue, I love that they stick with that.”
Most people know Buffalo Bills wideout Isaiah McKenzie for his clutch catches and high-speed kick returns. But in Miami Lakes, they know him better for his Texas-style brisket, which he’s brought to the masses through this collaboration with Austin pitmaster Mel Rodriguez. Miami-native McKenzie created a cult hit with La Traila’s food truck through frequent appearances at Unbranded and other breweries. But the brick and mortar joint has gained just as big a following with its Brisket Sundae—mac and cheese topped with layers of beans, creamed corn, and smoked brisket. What’s not to love?
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order takeout and delivery online.