Our Story

Born & Raised in Lakeland, Florida

The Beginning of an obsession

Firstly, I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for the help, love, and support from my family and incredible partner, Erin. I can't thank them enough.

I've always loved barbecue but it wasn't until watching some of Aaron Franklin's videos in 2015 that I became fully obsessed with the craft. I resigned from my career of over five years and dove in head first. I called my dad and said, "Hey, let's cook some barbecue!" He was immediately on board and that stoked the fire that is still burning today.

From the beginning, I knew I wanted to make this a business. This had to work. From custom-fabricating the best equipment to perfecting our craft, we weren't going to accept anything less than the best.

At the time, I was working as a retail manager and I knew that wasn't a career that was going to fulfill me professionally. I needed a challenge—something to pair my passion with my profession.

When I put in my resignation, the first thing I did was contract my cousin to fabricate an offset smoker. The night I brought it home I couldn't sleep, so I went outside and started a fire in it. I watched those logs burn until almost three in the morning. 

Brisket by Blue Dog
Max Miller Founder of Blue Dog
Lakeland Craft BBQ
How We Started
Blue Dog Smokehouse
Blue Dog BBQ
Building A Business

A Dedication To Smoke and Craft

A year after getting my smoker, we had the confidence we needed to get our product out there. Starting at farmers markets in Winter Haven and Lakeland, we quickly became regulars, cultivating a small cult following and selling out most days.

It was about another year until we started to outgrow our 10x10 tent space and started looking for a kitchen. That's when we found Catapult, a startup incubator that provided us the resources and tools we needed to start an entire barbecue catering business—serving at pop-ups and breweries around the area. Our following continued to grow. 

A short time after, we came across the Joinery on Lake Mirror. We contacted the owner about doing a pop-up and he replied, "Well, how do you feel about moving in?" We've been here ever since.

With our first brick-and-mortar location, we've been able to grow our team of craft barbecue professionals and continue to hone our craft, bringing authentic Texas-style barbecue to the folks of Central Florida.

We pride ourselves on the quality of customer service, quality of product, and passion for the craft of barbecue.

The greatest compliment is when our barbecue reminds you of home. Whether it's pulled pork or brisket, smoked turkey or ribs, swing on by and give us a try. We're looking forward to hosting you.