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Sep 23, 2006 03:22 AM

Good barbecue in Northern Virginia brisket and chicken

with good sides. TIA

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  1. Not too many choices, assuming you're talking about "metro" Northern VA and not 50 miles or more out.

    I've always found the bristket at Famous Dave's in Vienna/Oakton (a chain with a few locations in the area) to be tasty and tender and not dry. Red Hot & Blue's brisket is dry more often than not. I usually go with someone who usually has chicken and she likes Famous Daves's chicken better than RH&B.

    A couple of other BBQ places worth trying (at which I've had excellent pork but not brisket or chicken) are Dixie Bones (Woodbridge) and Bubba's (Merrifield). Rocklands (behind Quaker Lane near Duke St Alexandria soon to open another one in Arlington) is another possibility. But understand that barbecue is a very personal thing and other than the meat being dried out or having no smoky taste at all, what's good or best varies widely with individual preferences.

    1. I would suggest Dixie Bones. I may be mistaken but I don't think Rocklands has brisket. If you're open to chains like famous dave's, you may also look in to Red Hot and Blue, which I know also offers brisket and chicken.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Lowbar

        The brisket at Rocklands is not bad, better than the pork.

        1. re: flavrmeistr

          Rocklands has gone through many phases over the years. There was a time at the old Arlington location that they were keeping pre-chopped pork in a drawer with lots of water (judging form the flavor) to keep it moist. If you ordered it, they would open the drawer and wring it out like a dish rag.

          The new Arlington location has always been solid for chopped pork. Lately, it's been at its best, which is pretty darn good.

          1. re: Steve

            Nasty! I've only eaten at the location on Wisconsin Ave. Had a fleeting thing for their brisket sandwich a few years back. Didn't like the look of the pork. Now I know why.

      2. My favorite BBQ in the NoVA region is Willards BBQ in Chantilly, VA (4300 Chantilly Shpg Ctr # 1A Chantilly, VA 20151; (703) 488-9970 They have a bunch of different styles of BBQ with their pulled pork, brisket, and sausages being excellent. The ribs are solid as well. This isn't earth shattering BBQ, but it is damn good compared to the rest of the options in the DC metro area. There are a couple types of sauces, hot is my favorite, and there are plenty of tasty sides (great beans and corn bread). I generally like to order ahead for office lunches here so that I can mix up a bunch of different Q options and get a taste of everything. The standard pulled Q sandwich is great though, make sure to get it with slaw.

        Also try Three Pigs BBQ in McLean (1380 Chain Bridge Rd McLean, VA - (703) 356-1700‎), they have decent prices, good pork and lots of sauce varieties. Its not the best BBQ I've ever had but its better than Rocklands in Arlington and way better than Famous Dave's or some other chain. Having lived all over the South East I generally favor Eastern Carolina sauce with a sharp vinegar bite and plenty of smooth heat. Needless to say Three Pigs gives it a decent go and you shouldn't be disappointed.

        8 Replies
        1. re: devaney22

          I find WiIlard's and 3 Pigs lame for pork, but I haven't had brisket or chicken. Hard for me to imagine any of the food is good after my latest experiences at either of those. By default, Rocklands in Arlington has to be better.

          1. re: Steve

            Beef is the meat to get at Willard's -- either brisket or burnt ends.

            I'd rather get pork (chopped or ribs) at one of the Route 50 barbecue trucks.

            1. re: Bob W

              What's this year's Rt 50 truck lineup?

              1. re: chowsearch

                The guy at Pleasant Valley Rd (next to Moore Cadillac) seems to be back. There's also a Latino food truck there. Based on something I read on, I think the barbecue guy at Gilbert's Corner (should it be now called Gilbert's Roundabout?) is also back but I haven't been out that way yet during his usual business hours.

                There's plenty of room for more barbecue trucks on Rt 50, if any aspiring barbecuers are reading this!

              2. re: Bob W

                Agree with Bob here. The brisket and burnt ends are good. The pork is weak. I think I've had the chicken but can't remember it.

                1. re: Bob W

                  Unfortunately, I had the burnt ends which were as dry as wood chips.

                  1. re: Steve

                    Was there a time factor, etc.? For instance - the only bad dish I know of from Nam Viet were the twice cooked pork chops a date got my first time there. It was near closing time and the crew was anxious to leave. I got one of the dishes that relied on one of their sauces, so it was good.

                    Maybe the twice cooked chops aren't good ever, but in that instance I believe it was her choice at the wrong time. I've only had the burnt ends 3 times, which barely qualifies for a real stake on it, but they've been good all 3 times - and one was a company outing in bulk (where again the pork was awful).

                    Nam Viet Restaurant
                    3419 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., washington, dc, DC 20008

                    1. re: Dennis S

                      It's quite possible I just got unlucky. I'm not so much worried about the burnt ends, but the pork tasted like it was baked.

            2. I ate at Rocklands two Saturday's ago and the brisket was very tough (like cheap pork at a chinese restaurant) and the sauce was tasteless. The cole slaw was terrible, but they had great Mac & Cheese. the Pork and Chicken were very unforgettable.

              I would vote for Red, Hot & Blue as the best meat in the northern va. area (with the exception of the Manassas Drive Take out which sucks). Very good Pork, Beef & Ribs. However the Hoochie Coochie sauce is not that great.

              Famous Dave's meats are much more dry (on average) than others, but their Devil's Spit sauce is the best in the area.

              The best barbecue sauce and restaurant in Va. is the Silver Pig in Lynchburg though I haven't eaten there in 15 years. Another great one is Pierce's Pitt barbecue in Williamsburg, Va. you won't regret the out of the way drive to eat there.

              Famous Dave's
              10500 Owings Mills Blvd, Owings Mills, MD 21117

              3 Replies
              1. re: mdreyfus88

                I heartily second the Silver Pig in Lynchburg.

                1. re: mdreyfus88

                  Also, Q Barbeque in Richmond is fantastic. Again, not really northern virginia, but if you're up for a drive ...

                  1. re: hppyheather

                    What are the best local Q places in Richmond?

                2. In reference to a previous post, 3 Pigs closed about a year ago.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: beanodc

                    It was no big loss when it closed. I tasted the absolute worst--bar none--pork barbeque ever from there not long before it's demise. There is another place in McLean called "Boss Hog" that doesn't sound promising, but you can never judge by the name alone. Has anyone ventured there?

                    1. re: Exploremore

                      Do not go. It is not serious or even anything at all. It's as close to bbq as McDonald's

                      1. re: Steve

                        Yikes--that is saying something. You know, the empty building across from it used to be a McDonald's. What about Backyard Barbeque on Sycamore, in Arlington? I know one person who claims to have gotten a good pulled pork sandwich there.

                        1. re: Exploremore

                          I only had Backyard once and thought it lacked flavor or even the hint of smoke. But I'm willing to try it again.

                          1. re: Steve

                            I'll take a chance on it, and maybe we can compare notes.

                    2. re: beanodc

                      3 Pigs had been there for a long time. I remember it from before college, and that was 1960. Back then there wasn't much to compare BBQ to around here except maybe Dixie Pig south of Alexandria. It's been through a few different owners and you know what happens when that happens. For the last few years, I tried it every few months and didn't get excited, nor did I mourn when it closed.

                      Any opinions of Bubba's on Lee Highway near where Rt. 66 crosses over? I liked it when it first opened, now it's just ordinary, but OK for a sandwich. Also a change in ownership or management at some point.

                      1. re: MikeR

                        Bubba's is nothing to get excited about.

                        1. re: Steve

                          Did I sound excited? ;)

                          Probably the most positive thing I could say about Bubba's is that it's just steps away from Myanmar. But for just a plain ol' pulled pork sandwich, it's OK.

                        2. re: MikeR

                          I was told that the owner was a relative of the man who owned the strip mall where the Three Pigs was. They didn't have to make much of a profit, because the rent was not high. I think the quality reflected that, and I clearly caught them on a serious low point.