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Anybody got suggestions on good BBQ in the DC area? Looking for ribs, mostly. Beef or pork.

I've got to feed a group of folks from Kansas City, Texas, and North Carolina so the level of BBQ knowledge is extremely high. Plain Jane, watered down, ho hum BBQ just ain't gonna cut it. HELP!

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  1. Why on earth try to feed these people barbecue while they're here? They can do much much better at home most likely.

    Best ribs around in my opinion are at Dixie Bones in Woodbridge, but I mean, they aren't about to impress anyone coming from KC.

    Why not feed them one of the many things that DC actually has above-average offerings for?

    1. On top of which, there's no BBQ restaurant in the COUNTRY that will please a crowd with such differing BBQ styles as KC, Texas, and NC. If it's not beef ribs or brisket, the Texas contingent will object. If it's not pork ribs, the KC people freak out. And if there's vinegar involved, the Texas and KC people will stone the NC crowd.

      Take them all to Etete on U St. for some Ethiopian instead.

      1. The trouble with feeding BBQ to a group of people from Texas, Kansas City, and NC is that no matter where you take them, two of the three won't even recognize what they're served as barbecue.

        Take them to Tony Cheng's Mongolian Barbecue or Fogo de Ciao. OK, there's at least one mongolian BBQ in Kansas City and a Fogo in Dallas, but people who are into barbecue are very particular - and a Texan won't appreciate even great NC BBQ. Heck, down there they barely recognize the pig as fit for humans to eat. That's a bad way to start out.

        1. Okay, okay! I see what you're saying. :) Just humor me on this request.

          These folks are willing to try other forms of BBQ and have respect for the various styles of BBQ.

          Do you think there's anything even halfway decent around here?

          2 Replies
          1. re: CapitolHill

            Dixie Bones. They cook their meat slow and low over actual hickory logs for 12-14 hours. They have a variety of sauces made in house. Their pies are good too. Best you can do in this area in my opinion. I am by no means an expert but I lived in Eastern NC for five years and Austin TX for one, and have visited KC a good deal, so I at least have a frame of reference. Like I said, its not going to impress anyone from any of those places, but it is the best I have tried around here.

            1. re: CapitolHill

              Forgot a couple. If you are willing to haul out to Leesburg, Mighty Midget has really good ribs but they are only offered a few days per week.

              Willards has "St Louis style" ribs and no shortage of sauces to choose from.

              But please remember I'm still recommending no local BBQ for this group.

            2. I don't think there's anything that comes close to the best KC/SC/Texas barbecue. What you have around here is either drowned in vinegar or catsup or not smoked low and slow over wood.

              I'd go with the Korean option. Bulgogi, bulgalbi, or even beef tripe, roasted at the table. Or take them to Pulaski Highway in Baltimore and get them some pit beef sammitches.

              1. Urban Bar B Que in Rockville has ribs, pulled pork, brisket and the best Frito pie (known there as the Urban Legend); something for all! They have several different sauces to add from a thick tomato based to a light vinegar based. Don't count on their sweet tea, though. It's no good.

                1 Reply
                1. re: rkduggins

                  Your guests are likely to find that the "atmosphere" at Urban BBQ borders on condescending (i.e. the "inner redneck" bit). I've only been there once and thought it was fine but nothing special. From what I have read about it, the owners have a really good sense of the regional barbecue-related sensitivities and flavors, but admittedly cater to a clientele with loosely-defined pan-regional notions of barbecue. All of your guests are likely to consider their cuisine comprimised here, but I think I am more turned off by the decor than by the food.

                2. It ain't gonna happen, you will not find BBQ remotely passable in the DC metro area if these are real BBQ folks coming from the Capitals of Regional BBQ. Forget it, have thai, veitnamese or indian food, we've got some of the best here in DC and these folks will have nothing to compare it to back home so its a win-win.

                  Smokin Joes in Gainesville of Rt 29 before you get into Warrenton runs an open pit. He describes his style of Q as "Virginia", his bbq is real and he'll be able to talk the talk, but I don't think you agre going to impress you friends by driving an hour out to Warrenton for that Q.

                  1. Or take them for a crab feast.

                    1. You can try Lefty's in Waldorf, but I would only recommend the baby backs if they want ribs.


                      1. Your best bets are probably a long way from DC, but still in the area. I'd suggest either one of the Southern MD rib shacks (Lefty's, Bear Creek, Randy's, Johnny Boy's) or go up to Andy Nelson's in Cockeysville, north of Baltimore.

                        1. Urban BBQ just got a 24 in the 2007 Zagat's guide for the food.