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Uncle Charlie's Backyard Barbecue - Darnestown, MD

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On a strangely warm Saturday afternoon in February, a chowhound's thoughts turn to...barbecue.

Located in what was formerly a small convenience store (beer & live bait), Uncle Charlie's Backyard Barbecue is on Seneca Road about 100 yards off of MD Route 28. The place has about four or five tables that share space with a small model railroad layout and a foosball table.

I tried the 1/2 slab of ribs platter for $14.99 (includes two sides). Now I can only speak for what I ate of course, but the ribs are VERY VERY FORGETTABLE - barely warm baby backs with no smoke flavor or evident smoke ring. They were simply grey pork without taste. The slaw was rough cut cabbage with a sweet dressing - passable but unremarkable, and the baked beans were luke warm, sweet, with bits of shredded pork worked in. This was not money well spent.

And the quest for genuine BBQ in Montgomery County continues...And please don't talk to me about Urban BBQ, Rocklands, or Red, Hot & Blue because they don't come close to passing muster as real barbecue.

My BBQ roadtrips down to Charles County, Maryland will continue...

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  1. What is your current Charles County lineup?

    1 Reply
    1. re: chowsearch

      Over the past year or so, tops for me has been Dale's Smokehouse down on Indian Head Highway. For years, I've also been a fan of T&J's, but Dale's began to edge them out in the qualty of the pork ribs. Then of course, T&J's was reduced to blackened rubble. Do you know if they're up and running again? The last time I passed by in the fall, the shack seemed to be in mid-construction. When T&J's was on top years ago, the ribs were great and the smoked chicken was amazing - so good, it challenged the ribs if you can believe it!

      Haven't been in many years, but the Texas BBQ place inside the St. Charles development made some decent brisket even if the place seemed a bit hokey inside as I remember it.

      Johhny Boy's was only so-so on my last visit. There was also a guy doing some nice work down near Newburgh next to a baseball diamond and a fraternal clubhouse (Elks?). I'd bet he's a summer-only option, but a fine one on the way to Captain John's Crab House down at Cobb Island!

      Can you recommend anyplace I'm missing? I've hit other joints down there, but I'm sure there are places I've missed...

    2. You need to try Urban BBQ again, they upgraded their smoker. Tim Carman from the City Paper raved about the ribs and brisket.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DC TOOL

        Thanks for the tip. I'll have another go and keep my mind open...

      2. Anyone tried Randy's on MD 5? Is it still there? I had a tip a few years ago on it. Followed other tips from the same person, which did pan out - just never made it to Randy's.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Dennis S

          I've tried Randy's twice over the years. Both times I found the ribs quite tough and without much smokey flavor. It could be my bad luck, but I know I've given them at least two shots.

        2. If you're willing to go to VA, Williard's BBQ next to Dulles Expo Center will not disappoint. Signs from "real" joints like Dreamland, etc, good sauces and sides go with brisket, ribs, burnt ends, and sweet tea. www.dcbbq.com/menu.htm

          1. Did they have ribs other than baby back? I never order baby back ribs as BBQ, they cook too quickly.

            There is nothing wrong, and plenty right, about Urban BBQ's ribs. I'm not saying they are my favorite in the world, just a very good choice for BBQ fans.

            1. I looked at the posting etiquette and the rules encourage an exchange so I do not know why my posts were removed!?!?!?

              So I again have to say:
              To claim RH&B does not pass muster, and then claim another BBQ place does not cut it because of a lack of smoke flavor, gray meat, and no smoke ring equals a continuity error because RH&B meat has a great smoke flavor as would be expected from meat with such a strong red smoke ring.

              I am, right now, eating Urban BBQ. It is NOT BBQ! The ribs are very good but they are not smoked :( The pulled pork and the brisket is also totally void of any smoke ring or smoke flavor. This is from their Silver Spring/Hillandale (rt 650 and 495) location - maybe they were upgrading their smoker at that location last night???