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Nancy Krohngold dishes out secret behind her mouth-watering BBQ

The signature barbecue at Nancy’s continues to win the hearts of regulars and the raves of reviewers. Her famed barbecue recipe was first born on her backyard Weber grill.


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  • | 5:00 a.m. November 18, 2022
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Though restaurateur/chef Nancy Krohngold has served in many professions throughout her career, including insurance, graphic design, sales and industrial maintenance, cooking was always her passion.

Now Krohngold lives her dream daily as the chief behind Nancy’s Bar-B-Q in Lakewood Ranch, where her signature barbecue continues to win the hearts of regulars and the raves of reviewers.

Born near Cleveland, Ohio, and raised in Sarasota, Krohngold holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from George Washington University. But her passion for food runs deep, and her now-famed barbecue recipe was first born on her backyard Weber grill.

Krohngold went from serving her barbecue dishes at casual potlucks to developing a cult following and staging culinary popups around town. She opened Nancy’s Bar-B-Q — a casual restaurant and catering company — in downtown Sarasota in 2011. She opened an outpost called Li’l Nancy’s at the Ranch on Lakewood Ranch Main Street in 2015 before moving to the current 5,500-square-foot Lorraine Corners location in 2019.

The locale’s kitchen also fulfills thousands of catering orders annually, from small office lunches and intimate dinner parties to church and corporate meals for upwards of 1,400 people. She shared some tips, witticisms and insights with us recently.

 

My culinary inspirations/heroes are…

Julia Child, Chris Schlesinger and Ray Lampe.

 

The best barbecue I ever tasted outside of my own restaurant was at…

Hill Country Barbecue Market in New York City — an outpost of their Texas store.

 

The top three U.S. barbecue venues I dream of visiting are…

Arthur Bryant’s in Kansas City, Missouri; Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous in Memphis, Tennessee; and Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas.  

 

This upbeat, cafeteria-style joint draws crowds for house-smoked BBQ that’s enjoyed at picnic tables. (Photo by Lori Sax)
This upbeat, cafeteria-style joint draws crowds for house-smoked BBQ that’s enjoyed at picnic tables. (Photo by Lori Sax)
The secret to an amazing barbecue sauce is…

Flavor characteristics that you love but can’t be described with just one word. An amazing sauce has to be
multidimensional.

 

One barbecue food cliche I would like to refute is…

Fall-off-the-bone ribs. Smoked ribs should release from the bone with a gentle tug. If the meat “falls off the bone,” it’s probably been boiled.

 

Preparing the food at the Van Wezel for President Bill Clinton for Ringling College of Art and Design’s Town Hall in 2009 was…

A confirmation of my legitimacy as a barbecue cook!

 

If you grill at home, you absolutely have to…

Have patience. Think about the fire the same way you do the temperature dial on your stovetop. Control the heat for the best outcome. Faster and hotter is NOT better!

 

The best way to eat barbecue is…

Outside on a picnic table in clothing you’re not worried about staining.

 

My favorite cut of meat to smoke is…

Hands down, a bone-in pork butt (it’s actually the shoulder of the hog, but pork butt or “Boston butt” is the name butchers have given it, and how it’s labeled in retail outlets). This is what I first fell in love with and, unlike brisket and ribs, it doesn’t require much nuance to have it come out right. Just don’t rush the cooking time, meaning smoke it long enough and you’re guaranteed a tender and succulent outcome. We smoke our pork for 12 to 14 hours.

 

My favorite kind of customer is someone who…

Enjoys eating smoked meats in a barbecue “joint.” No authentic barbecue smokehouse ever provides a “fine dining” experience.

 

The top faux pas that a customer can make is…

To drown the meat with sauce. If barbecue is any good, it stands on its own. Let its flavor shine through by adding sauce judiciously.

 

When I’m not working, I’m…

Supporting the local food scene, and my appetite, by figuring out where I’m going to eat my next meal. And then I’m sharing my experience in conversations and on social media. I love sharing the next new great local restaurant or hidden gem with others.

 

My new go-to cooking book is…

“Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin’ in New Orleans” by Mason Hereford. When Hereford opened his restaurant by that name in New Orleans in 2016, Bon Appétit named it the best new restaurant in America.

 

If You Go: Nancy’s Bar-B-Q: 14475 State Road 70 E., Lakewood Ranch, 941-999-2390; NancysBarBQ.com.