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Jan 8, 2010 08:34 AM

Parents here from Beijing, crave pulled pork, where?

I'm not well-versed in local BBQ places - where should we go (preferably in NoVA) for an amazing (is that too much to hope for?) pulled pork sandwich or platter? Thanks!

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  1. There's a decent one at Flavors in Arlington - especially when adding the vinegar sauce at the table.

    Oddly enough there's a brand at Harris Teeter that - I think - has received the most across the board praise here (full disclosure I haven't had it yet).

    1. BBQ, even pulled pork, is not a local thing for Northern VA. I like Johnny Boys in LaPlata, but that is a heck of a drive for pulled pork, and their ribs are better than their pulled pork. The pulled pork at Dixie Bones in Woodbridge/Occoquan isn't bad, and a walk around old town Occoquan after is kind of cool, though short. In Arlington there is Red Hot and Blue for thoroughly ok Q, for take out Backyard BBQ is a little better.

        1. The original comment has been removed
          1. You want to go to Rocklands in Arlington. They have been serving some mighty good chopped pork lately. You can also order it sliced, which is from the loin, not the shoulder, so it is technically not bbq, but it is quite good.

            Breadline in DC serves a rockin' sandwich, but that is limited to Fridays at lunch.

            The VERY best is at Paeonian Springs Market in Paeonian Springs, VA (Loudon County). I'm not sure if you can eat there, however.

            14 Replies
            1. re: Steve

              steve, i thought you said on another thread that bbq = meat + smoke + long-time.....
     does this quote square: ""You can also order it sliced, which is from the loin, not the shoulder, so it is technically not bbq, but it is quite good.""?

              btw, how is the smoked chicken at rocklands these days?

              btw, to the OP, the best deal is go to harris teeter, buy the brookwood farms bbq pork, get some cole slaw, and some martin's potato dinner rolls.. there's your feast (haven't had willards, ever, or rocklands in a long time).

              1. re: alkapal

                wood+smoke+time=bbq. Of course, meat is a given.

                I say that the loin is technically not bbq because it is a tender cut of meat that you do not want to cook for long.

                I don't order ohicken at bbq places, so I'm afraid I can't help you there. A lot of serious bbq places will call their chicken smoked, not bbq'd, because also it cooks relatively quickly.

                My wife's first cousin is a world champion bbq'er who twice won the Memphis in May competition for whole hog. He would start his bbq VERY early in the a.m. to be ready for the lunch rush at noon. So it takes a long time to do it right.

                The Harris Teeter option (thank you very much for discovering that!) is certainly better than any NC-style bbq I've had in DC. But it is marinated in a vinegar-based sauce, so it will have a different flavor than maybe the OP is looking for. It is delicious.

                1. re: Steve

                  harris teeter used to also offer a western carolina style, but i never bought it. don't know if they still have it.

                  you know, your point makes sense about bbq vs. simply "smoked". i love smoked mullet -- would never think of calling it bbq mullet.

                  1. re: alkapal

                    Harris Teeter has lines of specialty foods that are surprisingly good sometimes. I will have to try the pulled pork if it is vinegar based. Sweeter BBQ sauces are good as well, but the tang of the vinegar based sauces really tastes best to me. But I can never remember which type relies primarily on vinegar vs. molasses. Is Carolina the vinegar and Memphis the molasses? That would be my guess, but coming from Montana my BBQ experience growing up was completely different.

                    1. re: Ziv

                      hey ziv, yes, the e. carolina style is vinegar and chile flakes (home-made). the brookwood farms is in a tub over in the meat department -- a small tub (5" diameter?), sort of beige-y-taupe-y in color, with dark brown or black print. there is a version (lesser amount) in a clear topped takeout kind of container, usually kept near the sub sandwich station (at least at the harrison street store. you'd probably go to the duke street store, right? i envy you! they have great meat deals, you know. if something is on its sell-by date, they'll mark it down -- a lot!).

                      btw, if you don't find it, ask them to see if there is some frozen "in the back."

                      1. re: alkapal

                        I will check out both locations at Harris Teeter, but I will probably try to get the smaller size. I did my cholesterol test last month and the numbers were pretty good, for me, so I am breaking training and eating a bit more BBQ. I didn't know about the chili flakes being in E. Carolina, that accounts for some of my liking it, I imagine.
                        Harris Teeter has been my go to place for fish lately, they usually have pretty good deals on at least one fish every week. I used to live directly behind the Harrison St. Harris Teeter, I literally climbed a stile to get into their parking lot, so I ate a lot of their food, though I usually went to Giant for produce.
                        I am going to give Rocklands another try as well. It sounds like they have gotten their act together. The last two times I was there the pulled pork was thoroughly meh, but it would be good to have a cafe that is that near where I live that serves good Q.
                        Mmmm... Thinking about barbecue, I haven't had more than a sandwich or two for 6 months.
                        TastyKake, good luck with your BBQ pilgrimage, I hope the parents like the results! I think you should go on a comparative taste testing and post your results!

                        1. re: Ziv

                          at ht, red snapper is a good deal this week. ;-)).

                    2. re: alkapal

                      Yeah, fish is another item that does not really qualify as bbq in my book.

                      For Ziv: At HT, the Eastern-style bbq is not red, and looks like it has no sauce at all. It is marinated win vinegar and spices. The Western style bbq is red. They still carry both, but it is harder to find the Eastern-style and it is not labeled as such. Look for the small black trays of plastic-wrapped bbq in the deli section. It should have a label that says it was made in NC.

                      1. re: Steve

                        Since we're on a Carolina 'cue tangent: anyone know of anywhere in the area that has a good Carolina Gold (i.e. mid-state South Carolina style mustard-based) barbecue sauce? I vaguely remember them having it at Old Glory, but it's been at least 10 years since I've been there.

                          1. re: alkapal

                            Not yet; I'm out of town right now, and am trying to figure out which store (or restaurant) to hit when I get back to DC.

                      2. re: alkapal

                        If you like smoked mullet, try smoked kingfish or amberjack next time you're down in Florida.

                        1. re: flavrmeistr

                          my nephew and i (well, *he*) caught the mullet. he's also smoked cobia that he's caught before (makes a fantastic seafood "salad" btw). do you fish for kingfish or amberjack? are those deep gulf or atlantic?

                          flavrmeister, have you tried the swamp mustard yet?

                          1. re: alkapal

                            Jack and king mackerel are common to the gulf and the Atlantic waters. A cooler full of jack and kings are not what I would consider a great day of fishing, but they're good for smoking. They also make an excellent salad or spead. Red mullet are common on the west coast. They're larger and meatier than the silver mullet we have on the east coast, which we mostly use for live bait. Roughly from Cedar Key south on the west coast is the only part of Florida where you see fried or smoked mullet. It's pretty good, but when you mention eating mullet on the east coast, you tend to earn funny looks from local fishermen.