Son of a Brisket offers Texas-style BBQ right here in Tampa Bay

Narja ‘Slim’ Campbell is serving up Texas-style barbeque realness at the Saturday Shoppes.


ST. PETERSBURG — Narja “Slim” Campbell said growing up in Texas, barbecue is in his blood. After moving to Florida, he said he searched for a good barbecue restaurant, but it just wasn’t like home.

“No offense to Florida,” he said. “But it just wasn’t the same. And if you can’t find what you are looking for, why not make it yourself?

Campbell had his first taste of brisket as a young child in Texas.

“I thought it was amazing,” he said. “Barbecue is my jam; I eat it almost every day.”

‘The meat should be able to stand alone; the sauce should be a complement,” said Narja ‘Slim’ Campbell.

As he got older, he began to realize that it wasn’t just barbecue in his blood; it was cooking too. When he started working, he found himself in the food service industry. It began in high school and continued after a stint in the military. At first, it was just a job, but then he realized he had a knack for cooking.

“People really encouraged me and suggested I try culinary school,” Campbell said.

He continued working in the industry, tried his hand at a catering business in Tallahassee for a while and received his culinary degree from Lively Technical College along the way. He even did a stint as a sous chef at the governor’s mansion.

“That was a great experience,” he said. “I learned a lot. The executive chef was Persian, so I learned how to make great new dishes. And I got to see a lot of behind-the-scenes in politics and how events are set up. It helped me to realize that I needed to really be intentional about how I set up and execute events.”

Then, he moved to Tampa Bay and began the search for some good brisket. After realizing he couldn’t find a taste of home, he decided it was time to start a new catering business, including an arm of the company dedicated to barbecue – that was four years ago.

His barbecue business, including a food truck set up on Euclid Avenue in Tampa, is called Son of a Brisket, and it’s all about making barbecue the way he fell in love with it in Texas, including a surprising take on barbecue sauce.

“The main thing is everybody puts the sauce on everything,” he said. “If you have to put sauce all over it, I feel like you are covering up something. The meat should be able to stand alone; the sauce should be a complement.”

The father of two said his sauce is always on the side with a brisket with a good dry rub full of flavor and smoked with his favorite wood, hickory, and mesquite.

Campbell said running his own business has been rewarding in many ways. Not only does he have the opportunity to make the cuisine he loves most, but the business also gives him a chance to provide generational wealth for his daughters.

“There may be a lot of wealth in communities, but very little of it is ever in the Black community,” he said. “I grew up watching my mom and dad struggle. It was an uphill battle for most of my life. I don’t want to see my kids have to struggle like that. I want to leave a heritage for my children and my children’s children.”

Along with his food truck’s primary spot on Euclid Avenue, Campbell participates regularly in the Saturday Shoppes.

“I started with the Saturday Shoppes earlier this year,” he said. “It’s been really great for my business. I’ve had a few people reach out to me for catering after meeting me at the Shoppes. It can be very lucrative, but you have to put yourself out there, talk to people and have confidence in yourself.”

Along with Son of a Brisket, which includes a menu of ribs, brisket, chicken, and sausage, the catering business is full service with a host of main courses and appetizers.

To find out more about Son of a Brisket, visit Also, drop by the Tropicana Field and Grand Villa Markets to pick up some finger-lickin’ barbeque and visit the more than 1,000 vendors as they sell their wares.

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