Git-N-Messy BBQ has certainly had a head-spinning trajectory in its relatively young life.
Started in 2019 by Chuck Cobb in a Sanford gas station, it moved to another gas station on Hall Road in Orlando last year before partnering with Red-Eye Sports Tavern in late 2020 and moving to that Winter Springs location.
Cobb and his barbecue gained a loyal fanbase that willingly followed, and he earned national attention, appearing on the ABC talk show “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” preparing his outrageous concoction of Southern poutine.
Then, in April, Cobb was killed while riding his motorcycle. The tavern’s management announced that even before his death, Cobb was looking into pursuing other projects and had been grooming William O’Neal to take over as pitmaster at the renamed Red Eye’s Git N Messy Smokehouse & Tavern.
I set out a few times to try Git-N-Messy’s barbecue but there was always an issue – it was in the process of moving; Cobb was away working on another project; or a signature item wasn’t available. Not to mention all the Sturm und Drang that came with the pandemic.
But I was determined this week to get to Winter Springs and order some barbecue, and I was finally successful.
Of course I had to have the Southern poutine. Poutine, of course, is the Canadian that generally includes cheese curds and brown gravy over french fries. Cobb Southernized it with a generous topping of pulled pork, cheese sauce instead of gravy, a drizzle of sweet barbecue sauce and coleslaw to top it all off. The cheese curds were supposed to be there but I could not detect them. I found the thicker fries to be too potatoey and the cheese sauce negligent. I enjoyed the pulled pork by itself and wrote the rest of it off as the gimmick it was undoubtedly meant to be.
I also got a two-meat dinner combination, choosing ribs and brisket. (Brisket was another of Cobb’s specialties.) The brisket had a nice smoky flavor but the meat had an unusually high percentage of pure fat. Half of the ribs were more tender than the others, which required a bit of gnawing. The rub was over salted.
There was nothing special about the baked beans, but I liked the fried okra, which I got as one of my two side selections for a buck-fifty upgrade.
Red-Eye does not make it easy to phone in an order, though I will say the young woman who took my phone order was one of the most pleasant people I’ve placed an order with for quite some time.
Quite surprisingly, an online menu does not exist, not even on the business’s Facebook page, which would be one of the easiest things to do. I accepted an offer to have one emailed to me, but it never came. I found a photo of one on a foodie site and managed to order off of that one. And here’s a PDF of the menu I grabbed on my way out of the tavern. (There are outdoor tables in front of the restaurant; there is seating inside, too, but it was uncomfortably crowded when I visited.)
Red-Eye recently announced that it would open a barbecue outlet in Henry’s Depot in Sanford, taking Git-N-Messy back to its roots, in a way.
I concluded that if it were in my neighborhood I’d probably order from it again. But I didn’t find it worth the hour-long round trip drive from downtown Orlando.
Red-Eye’s Git N Messy Smokehouse & TavernRed-Eye’s Git N Messy Smokehouse & Tavern is at 855 State Road 434, Winter Springs (map). It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-542-7728.