JD's Smokehouse - Canton, Baltimore
Agreed on the brisket. I like JD's for brisket and they serve a terrific Reuben.
I think it's a better-than-average bar but a worse-than-average BBQ place.
I'm an Andy Nelson's girl, myself. Definitely worth the drive to Hunt Valley. If you want to make a foodie field trip of it, you can go to Andy Nelson's and then to Wegman's and/or the Amish market.
Working in Owings Mills, we've been trying to decide between Mr. Chelsea's and Famous Daves. There are more choices at Dave's, but Chelsea tries harder.
JD's is good for some ice cold Natty Boh's, watching an O's game, and having some decent brisket. You should go elsewhere is cue is your focus.
If you want BBQ close to downtown in a bar atmosphere, you are better off going to Rub. JD's can be a fun bar (until around 10pm on weekends when it gets packed), but I wouldn't go just for the food. At least Rub puts an effort into their BBQ.
The easiest way to describe JD's brisket and pulled pork is BBQ as bar food. Instead of taking a mediocre burger and disguising its lack of flavor with heavy sauces, fried toppings and cheese like a typical bar, JD's does it with brisket and pulled pork (they do have burgers and other bar food, as well). For example, when a "smokehouse" has a pulled pork sandwich with General Tso sauce, it's pretty obvious they don't take the BBQ very seriously. You can get the sandwiches plain, but the flavor just isn't there. Some people like the mac and cheese wedges, I think they are interesting, but disgusting. But they do make a good cheesesteak.
It seems like they picked a name for a bar first and then decided they had to add something to the menu to justify it rather than building the bar and restaurant around their BBQ.
While General Tso's BBQ doesn't sound too appetizing, I really can't get excited about Rub.
Frozen foodservice fries that were undercooked and soggy - Ranch Hand Fries that were sloppily prepared, slathered with white and yellow cheddar then stuck under a salamander before being served with a side of canned ranch dressing. It had a weird pineapple sweetness and was generally disgusting.
The main meal was even worse: "cole slaw" that tasted like shredded cabbage with only mayo, green beans for an extra buck that were cooked until soggy, beef brisket that was cooked until dry and tasted like cardboard and ribs that were cooked until dry and seasoned with a lame tasting rub. Horrible.
The upside? The corn pudding was pretty good and a mac n cheese that had a very Kraft under a broiler kind of flavor, While it may seem odd, my happy childhood memories of eating kraft macaroni and cheese prevent me from really hating on that flavor.
In a word, it was horrible. Some of the worst bbq I've ever tasted and the service on a slow and rainy Sunday night was inexcusable. It was bad enough that I don't think I'll ever go back.
If you're looking for tasty BBQ, my bet is on Kloby's just south of Columbia.