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Jan 25, 2007 06:53 AM

Ribster vs. Red Hot & Blue

Was watching a show on BBQ with the kid this week when both started screaming that they wanted BBQ. So on Saturday, I'm going to give mom time off and I'm taking kids to BBQ. I was thinking Ribster's in Annandale or RHB (which I've gone to a lot).

I know exactly what to expect at RHB but how is Ribsters? Any insight would be appreciated.


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  1. Ribster's is one of our absolutely long-term favorites in this world!

    I've always gone long for either their prime rib or their beef ribs, and the prime rib, for as sensational as it is, comes in a pale second to the beef ribs, which have never been less than excellent. I'm no fan of pork ribs, so my expertise is limited to the beef, but I am told by everyone else that their ribs are out of this world.

    Great sides, by the way, especially the fries, and if you really want to get a laugh, ask what the vegetable of the day is - it's usually "mixed vegetables in a can." That's about right, don't you think?

    At the same time, keep in mind it's quite the family place. You'll see, on Sunday afternoons, large groups of families in all age ranges, just come from church, having their traditional Sunday dinner. It's just great.

    You're going to have a wonderful dining experience. I do hope it's as good for you as I am making it out to be, but Ribster's is like part of our family.

    Enjoy .................

      1. Another winner, according to friends and family who love the traditional ribs. I can't say, but I do know their sauces and sides are terrific. I'd say Rockland's for real barbeque, but Ribster's for excellent barbeque and the true dining experience of a Southern joint.

        I gotta get myself some Rockland's. They're just down the road here ...........

        2 Replies
        1. re: Atlantis

          And they are going to be reopening in Arlington soon I hear.

          1. re: jpschust


            Says here they're opening in March on Washington Blvd. right across from the Giant. Not bad at all, but we're still just up the road from the Quaker Lane location, which is wonderful.

            I still love the beef ribs at Ribster's, though...........

        2. I think Famous Dave's bbq beats Red, Hot & Blue any day...RH&B has gone down hill in the past couple of years. Ribster's just sounds ridiculous to me so I will probably never take the advice of other's that posted before me. However...if you are truly looking for great ribs then I would say go to Boulevard Wood Grill in Clarendon...they have the BEST woodgrilled molasses & rum brushed baby-back ribs I have ever tasted and I lived in Alabama for 4 years and never had ribs this good (not even at Dreamland BBQ)!

          1. Okay, enough talk about family-friendly barbecue in clean, politie suburban neighborhoods. Where can you find REAL barbecue around here? I mean places that are in frequent risk of health dept shutdown, where the building has been rebuilt several times because the shack keeps burning down when the fire in the open pit gets out of control. Where the owner is a grouchy old guy (grouchy because he's been up all night watching over a slowly roasting pig) who was a master sergeant cook in the Army. Where the only "side" is a couple slices of Wonderbread and you have to bring your own beer. Where the seating consists of overturned paint buckets pulled up against a sheet of plywood on two sawhorses. Red Hot and Blue? Rocklands? Ribsters? Puh-leeze. Why not add Chilis and Applbees? (But in the interests of science, I will check out AlliantK's recommendation in Clarendon.)

            6 Replies
            1. re: Gonzocook

              The places you seek don't exist in great abundance (or maybe at all) around here, and certainly not in the city or suburban areas. That said, Smoky Hollow in Howard Country serves up very good authentic Q., although it doesn't look the part (it's in a random strip mall, not a broken down shack, although it *is* in the middle of nowhere).

              I'd be extremely skeptical of the Famous Dave's rec, btw. It isn't very good.

              1. re: Gonzocook

                Well, since you've been sucked into believing that old chestnut about how 'que places are supposed to look, there's always the good old Dixie Pig down on Powhatan in Alexandria. You'll get all sorts of atmosphere,especially if you like Italian restaurants.......

                1225 Powhatan St
                Alexandria, VA 22314-1305
                Phone: 703-836-0605

                1. re: Gonzocook

                  There used to be a place just like that in Baltimore called Leon's Pig Pen. Actual health dept shutdowns, horrible neighborhood (even by Balto standards), Wonderbread on the side, owner was a bad man with a long rap sheet, etc. I used to go for takeout with my college gf -- she would run in for the food while I waited with the car running.

                  But it's long gone. Finally shut down for good by either the cops or the health inspectors, I don't remember which (it's been over 20 years).

                  Ahh memories. This place would have tested the mettle of you cue loving hounds.

                  1. re: Gonzocook

                    For chopped pork shoulder, you should head to the Mighty Midget in Leesburg, VA. As good as it gets and will have enough of the requisite vibe you are seeking. They also have ribs, of which they always run out, so you have to get there early enough or call and tell them you're coming from afar and ask if they will hold some for you. But I think they take second place to the sandwich.

                    1. re: Steve

                      Those venturing to the Mighty Midget for the first time should note that there's no indoor seating. It's just a kitchen and counter, in what is alleged to be the nose from a World War II vintage bomber. There are a few picnic tables for al fresco dining. It's been featured in a Zippy the Pinhead strip:

                      On a sad note, I read in one of the local fishwraps last week that the young child of the Mighty Midget proprietors is suffering from a rare form of leukemia, so they could surely use some strong support from the chowhound community.