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BBQ DC BEST??

  • j

where is best homey BBQ in Dc...preferablt a lillte grungy? or even roadside like mr.P's?? thx

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  1. Asking for the best BBQ is like asking whose Mom makes the best meatloaf. That said, I prefer Rockland's. Perhaps not grungy but good (to me).

    6 Replies
    1. re: Dakota Guy

      Capital Q in China Town

      1. re: Hooffy

        There's a place I like called Willards out in Chantilly VA. Not grunge funky but kind of cool.

        1. re: Smokey

          I live near Willards and i really wish it was good. I have been 2 or 3 times and am just always terribly disappointed right down to the sweet tea that isnt very good. The sauce is odd, the sides are bad, the meat isn't great. It's a cool looking place with lots of style and great ideas but the flavor just isn't there.... for me. I usually end up going to Famous Daves when i need a quick fix.... wishing i could support the local boy.

          1. re: mrpoole

            We live out by Willards too. They have a huge menu for a bbq joint. I go for the brisket or the KC burnt ends. I'm not a beef bbq expert so maybe that's why I think Willards is good. I think the pulled pork is decent but I've had such good barbecue in North Carolina that I rarely order pulled pork anyplace north of Richmond.

            Not sure what you mean about the sauce being odd. As for the sides, the greens are very good, the beans are weak, the mac cheese is good. Slaw and potato salad also good. I like the cobblers too.

            Finally, I like Willards sweet tea! I've had some really bad sweet tea in NC -- Parker's in Wilson, for example. It's sugar water with barely any tea flavor. I am a big Parker's fan but their tea sux.
            As for Famous Dave's, we tried it once. So very meh. Minnesota bbq -- that says it all to me.

        2. re: Hooffy

          Capital Q, seconded.

        3. re: Dakota Guy

          I don't care much for Rocklands compared to many other places, but you are right, bbq seems to be very subjective, even more than most foods. I think that's because there are no objective standards, and various styles, and any kind of well-cooked and seasoned bbq meat is at least edible.
          The food snobs all argue about it, ever since Calvin Trillin wrote about KC bbq. There are a lot of wannabe Trillins (including at least one local professional critic) who take his light humorous approach and translate it into seriousness and snobbery.

        4. If you mean IN DC, like you asked, there is not much here but the Rib Pit @ 3903 14st NW is the real deal that youre looking for, grungy store front, whole smoked racks of ribs or pulled pork. Get the sauce on the side.

          Forget about Rocklands, Red Hot & Blue, Memphis BBQ (most closed)--these are wanna be bbq joints with mediocre flavor best masked with a few pints of draft beer up front (and are out in the suburbs, not in DC). Can't speak as to Capital Q's food, but it aint a hole in the wall...more like corporate Q for ambiance.

          If you venture out to burbs, try Boss Hogs in McLean--they say its Carolina style but its really far from that--but tasty pork and smoked brisket in any event. BBQ Country in Vienna smokes over real hickory. Willards is out Rt 28 by Dulles airport and although I've tried all the Q on the menu, I can only grade it as passable in flavor. Boss Hogs is the best bet by far IMO for location closest to DC. Some other good places out in VA but they're weekend trips.

          1. If you mean IN DC, like you asked, there is not much here but the Rib Pit @ 3903 14st NW is the real deal that youre looking for, grungy store front, whole smoked racks of ribs or pulled pork. Get the sauce on the side.

            Forget about Rocklands, Red Hot & Blue, Memphis BBQ (most closed)--these are wanna be bbq joints with mediocre flavor best masked with a few pints of draft beer up front (and are out in the suburbs, not in DC). Can't speak as to Capital Q's food, but it aint a hole in the wall...more like corporate Q for ambiance.

            If you venture out to burbs, try Boss Hogs in McLean--they say its Carolina style but its really far from that--but tasty pork and smoked brisket in any event. BBQ Country in Vienna smokes over real hickory. Willards is out Rt 28 by Dulles airport and although I've tried all the Q on the menu, I can only grade it as passable in flavor. Boss Hogs is the best bet by far IMO for location closest to DC. Some other good places out in VA but they're weekend trips.

            12 Replies
            1. re: v-man

              thanks all for bbq help..i have carolina friends that are lamenting the lack of real bbq...maybe unrequited for awhile in DC...

              i'mold but does anyone remember the beloved Arbaugh's in DC? connecticut ave. at woodley metro..it was yummy..

              1. re: jenten

                thanks all bbq lovers...trying ot guide lamenting Carolina friends to good eats...they continue to lament

                1. re: jenten

                  Lamenting the lack of BBQ in DC? They've got plenty of company. Honest-to-God real barbeque is at the top of the list of things that are so rare in this town as to be non-existent. Add to the list pizza, a good hotdog or a decent cheap breakfast. They're all hard to find. Fortunately, there is plenty of world-class Asian and other ethnic foods that are relatively uncommon in other places. On the whole, I find I can live with it.

                  1. re: flavrmeistr

                    I'll put Breadline's chopped pork up against any and all comers.

                    Yes, I would prefer it was smoked on site. And chopped to order. But for the finished product, there is none better. As good: Mighty Midget in Leesburg.

                    1. re: Steve

                      Might be enough for me to give Breadline another try. As for Mighty Midget, the last two times I went out there, the pork was long gone. Had to console myself with a burger. Seriously, the best I've had north of Weldon, NC is at The BBQ Man on Muncaster Mill Rd. in Derwood. A big ol' boy from Indiana smokes it up out back. Also the only place around that passes the Smell Test.

                      1. re: flavrmeistr

                        Get the BBQ on a ciabatta this Friday and tell me what you think.

                        Two hints about Mighty Midget:

                        You can call in advance and if you tell them you're coming from DC, they'll offer to hold some ribs for you.

                        Also, I realize they run out of ribs, but I much prefer the chopped pork sandwich, which they usually have a good supply of.

                        But I know how you feel, I went out of my way to have bbq at that place in Florida on US1, north of Jupiter, and they were out of everything except chicken and bologna by 2pm. Aargh! I'm calling in advance from now on.

                        1. re: Steve

                          Mmmmmm...CW Barbeque in Hobe Sound. The memory of their Friday night smoked prime rib is enough make my eyes tear up. See you at Breadline tomorrow.

                    2. re: a1234

                      BBQ
                      Wood + smoke+ time =bbq. Many devoted bbq afficianados have stricter standards than the general population. Just as someone who follows fashion may not want to be seen in public with my wardrobe. I hope that make sense to you.

                      1. re: Steve

                        Stricter standards? You mean it must taste good? Does it matter how that taste is achieved?
                        How long do you think Breadline smokes their bbq and do they use wood? Does it matter?
                        (I like Breadline, though I have never had their bbq.)

                        1. re: a1234

                          Breadline does not make their bbq. I do not know exactly how it's made, but I would say it is smoked for quite a while using a combination of charcoal and wood.

                          Yeah, I think it matters that you use wood. I believe I can tell by biting into bbq if it is only using charcoal. I can also tell if it hasn't spent enough (or any) time in the smoker.

                          By stricter standards, I think you already understand that people who are lining up for the bbq at Applebee's are not getting the same bbq as Buz and Ned's in Richmond.

                          Here is what I like to have in my bbq. I can only rarely get all these qualities, so compromise is necessary:

                          Wood smoke bite penetrating the interior
                          Crunchy exterior
                          Soft, pink meat that needs some pull.
                          A bit of fat, but most all of it rendered making the meat juicy
                          Porky flavor with a hit of spices

                          If you're talking about ribs, then I think most people are looking for char and an inoffensive tasting bbq sauce. And that's about it. That's why many people love them "baby back, baby back, baby back ribs..."

                          1. re: Steve

                            Steve for some folks, a trip to Fresh Fields, or Whole Foods hot bar IS enough. They too sell pulled pork, and ribs by the 1/4 slab, along with brisket.
                            The old guy, or gal, that does it the old fashioned way is getting rare as heck. Most study online or buy a plan from a business guy, because it works for folks that really don't know any better. But it works for them. Savor the real good stuff, while it last.....

                  2. re: jenten

                    Bless you, Jenten! I DO remember Arbaughs and a friend and I have been trying to think of the name for a week now! I can't believe the name doesn't just pop up when one googles "dc barbecue". It should. It WAS yummy. And all we had... :(

                2. There is a place in Burke called BBQ World which I consider more than pretty good. They use real wood, a rarity in urban settings (one look at the vent system in that place shows why). It's in the shopping center at Burke Center Pkwy and Roberts Rd (there is a Wal-Mart there too).

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: pelican

                    I've heard this is good, but that the sides are not. Jammin Joes out on 29 has some of the best beans, but only so so bbq.

                    1. re: Dennis S

                      I agree Jammin Joes has tasty beans but so-so bbq? I think the pulled pork sandwich is one of the best in the whole DC area, but would agree that the other bbq offerings are just ok.

                      If we're talking about driving out that way, we've been eating at Docs all summer. They've got 3 locations now on Rt 50, Doc's the Aldie Country store in Aldie, the Doc's Diner about 4 miles west of Paris, and Docs @ the Barn Door in Boyce, about 8 miles west of Paris on Rt 50. Docs makes "Carolina Pulled Pork", "Texas Pork" and "Texas Beef" sandwiches and smoked ribs, all of which techinically should not exist at the same BBQ joint, but nonetheless the food is quite good.

                  2. There is a place up on Capitol Hill, near RFK, I think, called Ken's or Kenny's Pit BBQ. Pretty good stuff. I like their brisket. And, they have crinkle cut french fries which are cooked to order. YUM!

                    I also like Capital Q, but the pain of trying to find parking and then the lack of seating is a bit of a hassle. I like their meat, but I think their sides leave a lot to be desired.