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May 7, 2008 06:19 PM

Rocklands - 'meh' says this Southern boy.

I've seen Rocklands Barbecue spoken of with moderate praise here. Lunch today was my first time.

My sliced pork sandwich had enough well-barbecued (though not fabulous) meat and a polite amount of a sauce I didn't much like. I want sauce on the table, preferably a selection, so I can have no sauce at all or take a bath in it depending on my reaction to the meat. Can't say I've had a sauce this annoying since the abominable Allman's in Fredericksburg.

Two sides: good beans, a sizeable portion of slaw (that's a rarity - take THAT, Red Hot & Blue with your thimbleful-size sides!) but ... WHY are there green peas in my slaw?

The atmosphere: faux. Just faux. Almost as precious as Red Hot & Blue. A yuppie's idea of a barbecue place.

Sorry to be so negative, I'm just working off my disappointment.

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  1. Nope I agree with you their ribs were cooked well, but their sauce just doesn't have a good taste and they put way too much on. It is really tangy in an odd way. I also had some bbq chicken that just didn't taste as good as you can even do at home on the grill. The sides are good and of good size, I thought the coleslaw was ok at least it wasn't a ton of mayo, the red beans and rice was really good. It smells so good when I drive by I wish it tasted better. I think if they left the sauce off it might be a lot better. You are right I would rather have some sauce choice and not their tangy odd sauce.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ktmoomau

      The pea's in the coleslaw is a dealbreaker for me - as is their no-smoke flavor. BBQ there has always seemed bland and over cooked to me. I prefer Urban BBQ in rockville (I hate driving out there, but every once in a while I need a hit). Great slaw and cornbread. Nothing compares to Buzz 'n Neds in Richmond though.

      1. re: beauxgoris

        I second Urban BBQ. Rockland's BBQ has sort of a liquid smoke-y flavor to it that I find less than pleasing. I think Urban BBQ does pretty much everything better (well, except for the beans). Plus they have soul rolls, which are just heart-stoppingly tasty.

    2. I eat there b/c it's close and I love BBQ, but I agree that the sauce isn't great.

      I don't quite understand your complaint about not having access to extra sauce. The Arlington location has a huge vat of sauce. Did you ask for more sauce?

      And what's the big deal about green peas in the slaw?

      I agree that the atmosphere is a little too much TGIF.

      2 Replies
      1. re: jaydreb

        For me and the OP I believe the complaint wasn't more sauce it was that we would have preferred to have out meat unsauced after the cooking and then would like to add the sauce we most liked like the hot sauce or bbq sauce they have in the vat both of which seemed to be different than the sauce they put on which I didn't care for.

        Urban BBQ is much better, but a pain to get to when you live in Arlington. I am still eagerly awaiting a chance to eat at Buzz and Neds next time I am close to Richmond.

        1. re: jaydreb

          I don't want to have to go up to the front like Oliver Twist and say "please sir, can I have some more?" Like I said, maybe I'm just entirely too Southern (Texans, North Carolinians, Memphis-ians, back me up here please) but I want my sauce on the table. Big ol' squirt bottles full. Plus catsup for the fries, and plenty of all of it, not piddlin' little pill-cups.

          The big deal about peas in the slaw is - cole slaw ain't s'posedta have peas in it! Next thing they'll be shaving truffles on top!

        2. My husband an I went to Rocklands about a month ago. It was terrible. His ribs were undercooked and really tough. He could hardly get the meat off of the bone. I had their macaroni and cheese and pulled pork. It was te worst mac and cheese I have ever had.

          On a good note though, it was the first coleslaw that I have ever liked. Maybe, becuase it wasn't really coleslaw at all though.

          We love bbq and it is close to our house so we were bummed!

          2 Replies
          1. re: sarahkt99

            Did you go to the Rockville Rocklands? The same exact thing happened to me two weeks ago. I spent over $70 on take out for some friends who were helping me plant my garden. I got two kinds of ribs, the baby backs (they were ok) and the beef ribs which were horrible. Undercooked, tough, full of fat. No one could eat them. I actually brought them back because they were so incredibly awful. I also got the spicy chicken wings and they were terrible, these big joints, looked like turkey wings with no flavor whatsoever, the fried okra, and corn pudding were just so dissapointing. All in all, it was the biggest waste of money and I will never go back there. It's too bad, cause they were pretty good when they first opened there.

            1. re: susabella

              This mirrors my experience at the Alexandria location. Expensive take out, first of all. Chewing the ribs made my jaw hurt. Collards were cooked to death.Coleslaw was fresh and had much potention-and no favor.
              Meh, me too.

          2. Wayne: have you tried Willard's in Chantilly? More faux atmo, but I think some of the cue is very good. They have a broad menu, and do better than I expected overall.

            1. I know this isn't super close, but I like Jammin Joes near Warrenton. Whenever I am out that way (usually on the way to the shenandoah or winery tours), I stop by. Its a smoker/shack on wheels with a bunch of outdoor tables.


              Anybody try Mighty Midget Kitchen in Leesburg (I know it was supposed to have moved)?

              14 Replies
              1. re: chaojareon

                Jammin Joes has great beans. The pulled pork left a little to be desired, imo. I haven't tried anything else - what are the recs? We used to get out that way more, but haven't in a couple of years.

                I'm interested in hearing about Mighty Midget also, and the new locale.

                One place I haven't made it to that hasn't been mentioned is Randy's on MD Rt 5 on the way to PAX NAS. It looked like a place worth checking out, but when I did I was more on target for Thompson's Seafood Corner, which I loved. I'm aiming to make a day trip some Saturday soon out that way (though membership in a CSA will have us going West most weekends).

                1. re: Dennis S

                  The ribs are are really solid at Jammin Joes in my opinion. The pulled pork I think would be better if they went easier on the sauce as its too sweet for my taste. Overall though pretty decent for DC metro as far as I have tasted.... A place I wanted to like is Carolina Brothers in Ashburn, but their pork had the consistency meat soaked in water from being in the steam bin too long. Their ribs didn't look or taste like they were smoked very much if at all.

                  I haven't seen any mention of Dixie Bones or Johnny Boys Ribs, or Virginia BBQ. What do you all think about those places (as I have yet to visit)?

                  1. re: chaojareon

                    Chao, I am a big fan of Johnny Boy's, delicious, meaty, slightly smoky flavor with very little to no sauce on them but with big bottles on the side. Randy's used to be my favorite, but the last two times I have been there have been kind of off, under done once and overly dry the second time. That having been said, I would still drive from Arlington to Hughesville to eat at Randys rather than eat at Rocklands or Red Hot and Blue, and Johnny Boys is much better than Randys is now.
                    This subject has come up before and I still want to get down to Buzz n Neds in Richmond, because there were some serious compliments heading their direction on this site.
                    I liked Johnny Boy's so much I even took a picture of the place and attached it below, but I only got one or two of the picnic tables, which are on of the things about Johnny's that I really like.

                    1. re: Ziv

                      Where is Johnny Boys? I liked Dixie Bones, but I only had it once, and it was pulled pork.

                      1. re: Dennis S

                        It's in La Plata Md. I do need to get out there and try it.


                        1. re: chaojareon

                          Try KBQ in Bowie before you haul out to La Plata. You may be pleasantly surprised.

                          K B Q Restaurant
                          12500 Fairwood Pkwy Ste B1, Bowie, MD

                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                            Awesome... thx for the tip! Always ready to try a new BBQ place.

                2. re: chaojareon

                  I thought Mighty Midgets closed? I would love to hear that is untrue and they found another space.

                  Also haven't had Carolina Brothers (leesburg area) ribs, but I had their pulled pork sandwich it was a little too runny, but tasted spot on like NC BBQ as opposed to other types. I wish they had fries though. The meat was smokey and tender. I would really like to try their ribs.

                  1. re: ktmoomau

                    According to Mighty Midget Kitchen's website they moved to a market type place:


                    It says they should be open in march... hopefully its true!

                    1. re: chaojareon

                      FYI it looks like they are open and BBQing except monday and tuesday:


                      1. re: chaojareon

                        Oh thanks you, man the good BBQ places are so far from the city, anyone know how far from say like the outlets or downtown leesburg this place know is?

                        1. re: ktmoomau

                          I think its about 5-10 min away. Not too far. From the outlets that is. :)

                          1. re: chaojareon

                            Oh thank you so much for your quick response. I am so glad they found a new location as they might be the best pulled pork sandwich I have had in this area, and I would love to try their ribs!

                            1. re: ktmoomau

                              I just visited B'z today in Leesburg. Sounds like they change what they make on a day-to-day basis. Today they had Pulled Pork and Beef Brisket. Both were very good and very fresh. We tried the coleslaw and baked beans and they were pretty good. The sauce for the pork is tomato based, and if I'm going to nitpick, was a little more "tomatoey" than I usually like it. Also nitpicking, on both the pork and the beef there was a little more excess fat than there should be.

                              Overall though on freshness alone it gets high marks from me.