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  1. My lunch crowd from Bethesda likes to go to Rocklands (north georgetown/rockville) and Urban BBQ in Rockville.

    2 Replies
    1. re: neutro410

      Tried Rocklands after hearing it named so many times. Very disappointed.

      1. re: wayne keyser

        The best part about Rocklands is the Texas corn pudding. Wow, that stuff is good! The meats - not so much.

        But they also have a very good catering staff.

    2. You're going to get a lot of answers. Dixie Bones, Rocklands, Red Hot & Blue, and a lot of other personal favorites.

      Mine is Willard's in Chantilly. Check it out -- http://www.dcbbq.com/

      1. I'd second Urban Barbecue and also recommend KBQ in Bowie, Willard's in Sterling, and Capital Q near the Verizon Center. Dixie Bones and Rockland, I think, are both pretty mediocre. Of the two chains with a decent presence in the area--Red, Hot and Blue and Famous Dave's--I prefer Famous Dave's by a significant margin.

        1 Reply
        1. re: dr3rdeye

          Urban BBQ is the only place I've tried that I could honestly recommend.

        2. I've never used them for catering, but we've taken our family here many times over the past 20 years.


          Same for this place. Eaten here many times but have never used the catering.


          2 Replies
          1. re: anni

            Where is the pig-n-steak? Believe it or not, their Web site doesn't give an address!

            1. re: Lori D


              If you go there to eat in, please opt for the older section at the front. Altho they allow smoking in that part, there are ceiling fans. (I don't like smoke and have never been bothered.)

          2. Williards in Chantilly VA near the Expo Center. Excellent. I rate it over Famous Dave's also nearby and Red Hot and Blue. More authentic and has all the sides you expect at a local bbq joint. Fast, large servings and inexpensive.

            1. You won't be sorry using Willard's in VA. Probably the best overall, when you consider meats and sides and deserts. And I've tried most of the BBQs in town (except that good one in Bowie). Urban BBQ in Rockville is probably second best and then Rocklands in Rockville. (Of course tastes vary widely.)

              Red Hot & Blue and Famous Dave's I don't even consider real barbecue.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Transplanted Texan

                "Red Hot & Blue and Famous Dave's I don't even consider real barbecue."

                That's because you're a Texan. Different meats, different sauces, different style. Capital Q does brisket close to what I've had in a couple of places in Texas, but then I've had some pretty mediocre BBQ in Texas, too. One of these days I'll have to try Willard's, but it's a pretty good haul from my house and I rarely have an excuse to get out that way for something other than lunch.

                1. re: MikeR

                  Red Hot & Blue: city-boy yuppie barbecue in every way.

                  1. re: MikeR

                    Yeah, I don't get out to Willard's much either, but haven't been disappointed yet. I had Capital Q several years ago and was SO disappointed. Maybe just an off night? Guess I should take RobertM's advice and head to KBQ in Bowie! It just seems so FAR away.

                    But not as far away as going home to Texas! :-)

                  2. re: Transplanted Texan

                    I agree with Willard's as a good choice and they do catering also. They have wonderful soups that change daily (the Gumbo is excellent).

                    The place gets very busy if there is something going on at the Dulles Expo Center which is just next door.

                  3. My belief is that what the original poster is after does not exist. Mediocre BBQ is easy to find. But great? The only BBQ I have had in the DC area (including out of the way places like Johnny's in Charles County) that even approaches great is stuff that I have made myself and my stuff is a pale shadow of the really good BBQ that I have had in the South.

                    As an example on my first and last trip to Dixie Bones, the fried catfish was recommended to us (yeah, yeah I know it is not BBQ, but it IS quintessentially Southern as with BBQ). The reason for the recommendation being that a) it was a fillet and not a whole fish and b) it did not taste "muddy". IMO, a or b alone disqualify the dish if they are shooting for southern cookin, which they claim to be. We tried 4 different meats (pulled pork, chicken, brisket, and ribs) all were quite dry with gloppy sweet sauces and no smoke flavor to speak of.

                    Willard's is to BBQ as Chipotle is to Mexican, a sterile barely acceptable shadow of the real deal.

                    Red, Hot and Blue is the worst of the lot that I have had. It is in no way acceptable.

                    Famous Dave's used to be able to make an OK brisket but they lost that one redeeming fact several years ago. The last few times I went the Brisket was loaded with fat veins and gristle. If you properly smoke a brisket for 8 or so hours the fat should melt away. There is a reason that no one (at least of sound mind) eats brisket as a quick-cooked steak! The gristle problem seemed to have stemmed from their cutting the brisket with the grain rather than against.

                    So to "help" the poster of the original question, smoke your own or road trip to Southern Virginia or North Carolina. Then again most people are not crazy like I am so you could probably satisfy most people (especially if they have never even had real BBQ) with any of the previous places that I panned! :)

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: jeffc666

                      Wipe away the tears, save gas, go to KBQ in Bowie.
                      Head home happy.
                      There is nothing else even close unless you want to drive past Baltimore, or down to NC.

                      1. re: jeffc666

                        This is all so amusing. If this subject were to be posted to a Chowhounds board that covers southern VA and NC, I'll bet we'd see practically the same words, only the names would be changed to protect the innocent.

                        Has anyone tried that experiment just in case someone DOES decide to head south in search of good BBQ? I used to stop at a highly recommended roadside place between DC and Williamsburg some 25 years ago, back when BBQ was a sloppy joe lunch counter sandwich and this was very different. But I never got to liking the vinegar-pepper sauce that they used on pork.

                        1. re: MikeR

                          Mike I agree with ya on the results of travel to find legendary Q.
                          N.C. to S.C. down thru Alabama to Florida. Mythology and subjective bellowing mostly. Everybody has their "mouth watering" paradise. Along with those lines I have used Chow Hound to find BBQ rec's across the U.S., San Diego, L.A. to San Fran [That is burger land, not Q] And Although I have not been to KC or Texas, yet, I have found it, as you say, hit or miss coast to coast. Some rave, others swear that is slop. Ya tend to find some of what you can stomach, some of the time, but even that changes week by week. So great Monday may be twisted Saturday. And add to that some places give you different quality stuff depending on who you are as well. Rant and rave rec's on Chow hound about a Q place in Winston Salem NC a few years ago turned into a very bland tasteless plate of meats. I think some would adjust to soft wood chips as long it keeps others away. But if you had a chance to savor some good stuff, it sticks with you, and thus prolongs these, has any body found Q around here postings. You end up at a place where you feel relatively save, or some crummy looking but great shack. You take your chances driving to, or some spic and span joint where you get Disneyland flavor or wood chips for food. For now, IMHO KBQ ribs, new, great decor, safe area, consistent flavor. I have no idea about brisket, I like sliced not chopped, although those Boog Powell pit beef sandwiches are very tastee, pulled pork, or chopped pork I'm still looking. The most odd thing I have found so far was that S.C. mustard seasoning on ribs and well everything down there. They call some other stuff hash but it was tastee. Been thinking of getting one of those mustard BBQ's Ham's for the holidays? Unless anyone knows of a place that cooks em in the DC area?
                          Here we go again.....

                          1. re: RobertM

                            You can find good BBQ in CA. Santa Maria is known for their tri-tip, which is quite good.

                      2. Willards is amazingly inconsistant. I have had 1 great meal. 2 ok meals there and 2 horrible meals there. I would rather go to Dixie Bones.

                        The Whole Foods in Fairfax has suprisngly solid BBQ. I would rate that over Willards.

                          1. I was sorry to see that Ribster's in Annandale closed. We went there about a month ago and were shocked to find it was no longer in business. It had been there for years and did some good bbq. As for Red Hot and Blue---it varies from boring to bad. I've tried it a different locations with the same result. Recently, we tried Famous Dave's. My husband had the brisket and the meat was of good quality. I had to point that out because someone mentioned that they had bad brisket there. What I like is their combo platters offer more combinations than other places. For example, I had bbq chicken and catfish--both were good. In DC, we've liked Old Glory in Georgetown. They have fried green tomatoes as a appetizer and you can get a quarter rack of ribs--which is unusual. All that said, my husband says the best brisket he ever had was in a bbq place in Van Horn, TX, which sadly has since burned down :(

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: MizYellowRose

                              Ribsters closed? I hadn't noticed, nor have I been there in a few years. When they first opened, there were hardly any local places that served barbecue, and they had a good run.

                              As the years went on and more BBQ restaurants opened, there were some better, and many different, but Ribsters was always dependable and did what they did consistently. I guess I won't miss it, but not because I didn't like it.

                              1. re: MikeR

                                Yeah, I was really surprised to find that Ribster's is gone. I wonder if it was a victim of the economy but yet it did weather other recessions. You're right--they were always dependable.

                            2. I've lived in TX and AL and love my BBQ. Carolina Brothers in Ashburn does a really good job and they cater too(actually more caterer than restaurant). Great BBQ doesn't exist in the area. Their beans and cole slaw are very respectable. The ribs are very good as is the chicken. It is however NC style with a vinegary sauce. I personally Iove all types of sauces but not everyone does. Theirs is very good. I've had them cater parties before and it has been very successful. I don't think Willard's is that great. Good Luck!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: kldrohan

                                I'm glad you mentioned Carolina Brothers since I neglected to do so in my response. Thanks for the feedback on the ribs and chicken. I've only had the pulled pork sandwich and thought it was good. Also, the prices are very reasonable--no doubt due to the cafeteria-like set up. The smell from the meats in the smokers outside is hard to resist!

                              2. I live in Leesburg and agree that there is no great barbeque in the area. When BZ's was at the Mighty Midget, he had great ribs. He is out in Paeonian Springs now, but I don't think he does ribs any more. His pig is not as good as it was. Willards is okay. Red Hot and Blue has great sides, potato salad and the beans are favorites.

                                1. For the most authentic, vinegar based NC BBQ in the area, try Garrett's in Georgetown. A place not necessarily known for its food, but the pork there is the real deal.