Some of the best boating in Jacksonville happens when it’s chilly outside. We love to bundle up in sweaters and blankets, pour a cocktail and cruise the Intracoastal. If you’ve never hit the water when the heat is gone, this holiday season is your opportunity to try something new. The Valley Smoke crew has been water-lovers for decades. Here are a few of our top tips to keep it safe and fun on the water this winter. 

Plan Your Outfit Accordingly

If you’re a boater who loves to cruise, make sure you bundle up to protect yourself from the wind. Take some extra precautions even though you think you won’t need it. High-speed boating will cool you down faster than you know. 

Pack a blanket, gloves and a hat that you can easily grab if you start to feel chilly. Depending on the temperature, it could be smart to bring hand warmers and a carafe of warm coffee. 

Get Creative With Your Plans for the Day

Think beyond wakeboarding and sunbathing. While certain boating activities are great in the summer, others are even better in the fall. Just imagine the joy of casting a line or sipping a beer without dripping in sweat. 

One of the best cold weather boat outings is a trip to your favorite waterfront restaurant. Valley Smoke and Palm Valley Fish Camp are just two of the amazing restaurants that line the Intracoastal. Pop in for a hot meal to refresh before you head back out on the water. 

Check the Boat Before You Launch

The health of your boat varies greatly when the temperature drops. Important factors like the battery, portholes and motor oil react differently to cold water. The Valley Smoke team has lived around water our whole lives. Here’s what we know:

Batteries drain faster in cold weather than in warm weather. Invest in a trickle charger to keep your boat charged up at all times. Additionally, it’s smart to periodically check the portholes and drains to prevent leaks. Last but not least, stay on top of the oil in your boat by bringing it to a professional. 

Visit Us for Lunch and Cocktails at Valley Smoke this Winter

Valley Smoke is the natural choice for boaters seeking a top-quality meal in Ponte Vedra. Full bar? Check. Elevated BBQ? Yup. Gorgeous atmosphere with even better views? We’ve got that, too. Call ahead to reserve your table or place a to-go order today.

People don’t typically think of whiskey when ordering a cocktail on a hot day. We’re here to tell you why (and how) whiskey is the perfect order next time you’re out for dinner. While many people are partial to vodka and white rum to cool them off, certain approaches to dark liquor can give drinkers the same sensation. Here are our favorite ways to relax with the right food and whiskey pairing this season:

A Few Basic Tips on How to Sip Whiskey in August

– Stone fruits are your friend: Fresh fruits like peaches, plums and apricots are in season right now. Muddle some into your cold whiskey for the perfect touch of sweetness.

 – Skip the bitters in the summer: Bitters make any cocktail more complex, making them a favorite amongst true whiskey drinkers. Try to stay on the lighter side and opt for other flavors, instead.

– Air on the side of a young whiskey: The longer a whiskey ages in a barrel, the more complex and pungent it gets. While most people crave the elaborate flavor profile of a top-quality aged option, young whiskeys are the ideal choice for a mild summer sipper.

Smoked Meat and Whiskey is a Match Made in Heaven

It’s time for the food pairings. When you pop into Valley Smoke, you can expect a few things: top-quality meats, delicious sides and a never ending whiskey wall. When you follow the summer whiskey recommendations above, you’ll have a hard time finding a meal at Valley Smoke that doesn’t pair well.

– Carolina Style Chopped Pork: The mild flavors of our house prepared pork beg for a whiskey cocktail on the lighter side. If you ordered something stronger, like an Old Fashioned, the fresh pork flavors would fall to the wayside.

– Churrasco Steak: Okay, this one isn’t smoked but it’s definitely worth mentioning. Our churrasco steak is served with a specially prepared chimichurri sauce. Consider a Backwoods Bourbon Punch to highlight the exotic flavors of the dish.

– The Sliced Brisket Sandwich: As one of our most popular lunch specials, it’s not often we see it paired with whiskey. Next time you pop in for a long weekend lunch, venture into the idea of a dark liquor with your meal. Ask about our seasonal cocktail on tap!

Come Eat and Drink with Us at Valley Smoke this Summer!

It’s hard to beat Intracoastal views, great food and an impressive bar. If you’re unsure how to pair your meal with a whiskey cocktail this season, chat with one of our bartenders. We train our team members on the art of food and cocktails to make the most of your dining experience.

Place your take out order here or book a reservation for your next trip in. We can’t wait to see you!

We’re not here to steer you away from the classic ‘que options. From ribs to ribeyes and everything in between, old fashioned southern BBQ is as good as it gets. Although, there’s something to be said for the mouthwatering recipes that have come from the BBQ evolution. If you haven’t ventured outside your comfort zone recently when dining with us, we have a few Valley Smoke favorites that might just tempt your palate:

PV Yacht Club Sandwich

This loaded-up Valley Smoke favorite isn’t for the faint of heart. It all starts with an outstanding six ounce beef tenderloin. Not sure it can get any better than that? Our chefs kick it up a notch with a toasted brioche bun, jack cheese, grilled red onions, arugula and house-made steak sauce.

Locals and visitors alike choose this sandwich year-round. It’s substantial enough to share and totally acceptable for lunch or dinner. If you opt to split this sandwich, balance out your meal with a couple of our fresh sides. Our favorite pairings include a mixed green salad or yuca fries and lime.

House Made Hot Links

This is one of those BBQ staples that doesn’t get its time in the spotlight. We like to look at hot links as the perfect accompaniment to your other meat choices. That’s where the ‘Que for Two comes in. Hot links add a pop of sweetness and a little spice to traditional choices like brisket and chicken.

Of course, hot links are tasty enough to be the star of their own show. Our house-made hot links platter comes with pickles, house garlic toast and your choice of two sides. Complement the flavors of the meat with sides like poblano creamed corn or mac ‘n’ cheese.

Valley Smoke Reuben

A great Reuben is hard to come by. You’re in luck because the Valley Smoke chefs and pitmasters have taken this classic sandwich to a whole new level. We thinly slice our house pastrami onto a thick piece of marble rye. Next, we top it off with sauerkraut, baby swiss and Russian dressing.

It’s really freaking good — and even better with a strong Roscoe Sunset. This specialty cocktail combines Elijah Craig small batch bourbon, Pama pomegranate liqueur and fresh lemonade.

Come Explore Your BBQ Options at Valley Smoke

You’re seriously missing out if you haven’t tried these three Valley Smoke staples. Our team consistently works to keep our menu fresh, our ingredients top-quality and our meat out-of-this-world.

Is your mouth watering yet? We don’t blame you! Head over to our website to make a reservation for your next visit.

Nothing says Valentine’s Day like a sweet treat at the end of your multi-course meal. When you join us for a meal this season at Valley Smoke, you’ll instantly feel at home. From the elegant whiskey bar to the waterfront backdrop, we built our restaurant to welcome every single guest with open arms. After you enjoy some of the best smoked meat on the planet (in our humble opinion…), the natural next step is to order one of our swoon-worthy desserts. Here are a few of our favorites:

Keep it Classic with Old Fashioned Banana Pudding

There’s nothing boring about the way our banana pudding comes together. Every southerner knows how to perfectly prepare some homemade bread pudding, and our expert chefs are no exception. Of course, we add our special touches to take it to the next level. Don’t worry — you’ll still get all the ‘nilla wafers your heart desires!

If you’re one to indulge in an after-dinner drink, this dessert pairs particularly well with a glass of Chenin Blanc or Prosecco. Banana pudding is the perfect nightcap to a meal of smoked meat and down-home southern side dishes. Trust us, you can’t go wrong with this order. 

Indulge in a Decadent Chocolate Caramel Brownie

You simply can’t go wrong with the rich mixture of white and dark chocolate, salted caramel and luxardo cherry syrup. Each brownie is baked to perfection. You know what we mean — chewy and soft on the inside with a little bit of crisp on the exterior. Make it even better with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Share this dessert with your date over a glass of something strong. The fall flavors of the Rock & Rye pair particularly well with the sweetness of our brownies. 

You Simply Can’t Go Wrong with a Slice of Hummingbird Cake

You know you’re in the south when hummingbird cake is on the menu! It might sound fancy or totally foreign, but the ingredients of a hummingbird cake bear a slight resemblance to carrot cake. We prepare every cake with a dash of cinnamon, crushed pineapple, pecans and vanilla. Each slice is generously slathered with homemade cream cheese frosting. 

We love this dessert because it doesn’t leave you walking out of the restaurant with an uncomfortably full stomach. Of course, we always recommend ordering one or two different desserts and sharing with the whole table. 

Skip the Calorie Counting and Spend Your Valentine’s Day with Us

Our meat is wonderfully prepared, cocktails expertly mixed and desserts baked to perfection. Between the waterfront views to the intimate atmosphere, Valley Smoke is a no brainer for your Valentine’s Day plans. 

Book your reservation with us here. We can’t wait to help you celebrate this season!

If you have the lucky job of writing, blogging or posting about the food you eat or restaurants you visit, it’s worth putting in the effort to get A+ pics of your plate. Even though there may be a bit of a learning curve to master the lighting, you certainly don’t want to spend more time staring at your food through your phone than actually enjoying it. You know what they say, phone eats first. Here are a few tips for the perfect food photo opportunity:

Natural Lighting is Key

One of the most critical pieces of advice we can give you is to use natural light when taking a picture of your meal. Let’s be real; bright yellow lighting doesn’t do any favors for perfectly cooked fish and sauteed collards. Whatever you do, don’t use the flash! You’ll end up with a washed out picture that entirely doesn’t capture the meal how you want it to look on Instagram or your blog.

Close-up Frame

That beautiful piece of fish on your plate is just dying to be featured on your Facebook, and Valley Smoke would love a shout-out, too! In today’s day and age, it’s pretty standard to see our guests try to get the perfect shot of their delicious broiled oysters before taking that first bite. If you’re trying to show off the size of the meal instead of snapping a close-up, take a step back and maybe even fit in some of the pretty scenery!

Food Focus

We know it can be hard when you’ve got a great meal in front of you, but don’t lose focus. By this, we mean that your camera shot should focus solely on your food and none of the surrounding distractions. If you have a nice camera, try to get everything out of focus in the background, so the viewer’s eye draws right to the meal in the foreground of your snap. This will make your primary object, that delicious meal, really stand out.

Experience Exposure

Don’t just snap a photo and leave it at that. When you share your image on your social networks, tell your followers why! Was it the best meal you’ve ever had, was that salmon something special or was the soup just like your mom used to make? Tell everyone why the meal deserved a post, and don’t forget to tell your followers where you had that excellent meal!

Taking a picture of your food for social media can be a tough task, especially when your stomach is rumbling. If you spend this much time focusing on how to take the perfect picture, imagine how much time we spend perfecting the taste and quality of our food. Come to Valley Smoke, take some pictures, have a great meal and share your experience with your friends. We can’t wait to see you!