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BBQ--looking for the best

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Exploremore Sep 8, 2011 04:00 PM

I really need a great barbeque place, and will travel the VA/DC/MD area for the best! I don't care about ambiance, just the quality of the product. Even pork or brisket doesn't matter, if the pit master is right. Can someone advise?

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  1. agarnett100 RE: Exploremore Sep 8, 2011 05:24 PM

    Really great BBQ is one thing that is lacking in the DMV good luck in your search

    1 Reply
    1. re: agarnett100
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      nikki72 RE: agarnett100 Oct 9, 2011 10:56 AM

      monks bbq purcelville va at corcoran vineyards is really good. also try Q company in martinburg wva. in a pinch I get brisket at whole foods in fairfax.

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      OldSchool RE: Exploremore Sep 8, 2011 06:42 PM

      I highly recommend Dale's on the west side of Indian Head Hwy about 5 mi. north of Indian Head, Md. The ribs are smoky, moist, simply seasoned, and are carefully cut (they don't hack the ribs in such a way that you risk your cheek being impaled by a shard of bone). The sauce is nothing special but I don't think you need it anyway. A friend and I have tried most of the well regarded barbeque places in southern Md and we have found Dale's to be reliably excellent.

      1 Reply
      1. re: OldSchool
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        MDBBQFiend RE: OldSchool Sep 9, 2011 04:58 AM

        BIG ++1 on Dale's Smokehouse near Indian Head, Maryland. When discussing barbecue in the DMV, several Charles County joints are reliable sources, but for a couple of years now, it's my opinion that Dale's is the best.

        -----
        Dale's Smokehouse
        4645 Indian Head Hwy, Indian Head, MD 20640

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        Steve RE: Exploremore Sep 8, 2011 07:01 PM

        Although it is not a bbq place, you will do well to go to Ray's the Steaks East of the River. The have ribs. This is the only time in my life I have ever enjoyed baby back ribs, and they are seriously good. They also have smoked then fried chicken which is a treasure.

        My next suggestion, also a bit unusual, is Just Jerk in Lanham, MD for the jerk chicken. Yes, this is bbq, and it is excellent. Get a quarter dark spicy.

        For more traditional bbq, then I have enjoyed the ribs at Urban BBQ and the chopped pork at Rocklands.

        If you hit the moist brisket right, then Hill Country in DC is excellent for that. But it was disappointing on a return trip. Avoid the other selections, especially the pork ribs.

        In Loudon County, VA, the Paeonian Springs Market offers bbq. The chopped pork is very fine, but I would call first before going.

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        Just Jerk
        9005 Lanham Severn Rd, Lanham, MD 20706

        21 Replies
        1. re: Steve
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          erinnf RE: Steve Sep 9, 2011 09:29 AM

          I second the suggestion for the Paeonian Springs Market bbq. I think the ribs are good, and the pork. I really like their 'Hawg Dog." It is pulled pork with bbq sauce on top of an angus beef hot dog. Only outdoor seating or take away, but I like the casual atmosphere.

          1. re: Steve
            GraydonCarter RE: Steve Sep 20, 2011 11:56 AM

            I just explored the Rocklands website. They have four locations in the DC area: Wisconsin Ave NW, Arlington, Alexandria, and Rockville. I prefer pork so plan to check it out.

            http://www.rocklands.com/

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            Rocklands Barbeque & Grilling Co
            891A Rockville Pike Rockville MD, Rockville, MD 20850

            1. re: GraydonCarter
              agarnett100 RE: GraydonCarter Sep 20, 2011 01:18 PM

              I had Rockland before its okay nothing special my friend used to be the grill master for Rocklands Catering Crew and always brought use the leftovers. Not worth going out of your way for

              1. re: GraydonCarter
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                Steve RE: GraydonCarter Sep 20, 2011 07:30 PM

                Rockland has been around for a long time, and has had its ups and downs. Right now in Arlington, the chopped pork sandwich is very good at times, sometimes only good - which means its better than almost any other chopped pork sandwich around. That's the thing to get, not the ribs which have seen much better days.

                They also have a very good sliced pork sandwich (maybe not on the menu, ask for it), but it's pork loin.

                1. re: Steve
                  agarnett100 RE: Steve Sep 21, 2011 07:16 AM

                  Yes- Rocklands has been around for a while but I would not rate it the Best of DC - its decent and I personally would not make a special trip for it others may disagree but the question was "BBQ --looking for the best" - not "BBQ looking for just okay"

                  1. re: agarnett100
                    RobertM RE: agarnett100 Sep 21, 2011 08:12 AM

                    Very funny, but least we forget, BBQ historically is always ruled by the Q fates who mandate the mystical rule "If you like it, "Best" will be transformed into "OK" once you spout the words: Best BBQ I ever had in script. Once that phrase is mentioned, the clock starts and "Best" begins to turn into "OK". Bragg too much it can sink below "OK". [This is the build up the reputation, then sell out rule]
                    The fates are rather fickle though, and from time to time the spirit of "best" do return ofttimes to former Q temples for a brief reprise. Remember the rules, enjoy it while it last. Great BBQ wont last long. If it is hitting, and respected hounds rave, run, don't walk. Good is quite a compliment these days in this area. And Ok too.
                    YMMV

                    1. re: RobertM
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                      Exploremore RE: RobertM Sep 21, 2011 09:12 AM

                      I think you have found the BBQ "haystack" cycle: build it up and then it burns down! Despite that, we seek the rising places, and sometimes settle for the "best around" rather than the "best ever". I would love a consistent "best ever" place, but some days you just want "best around" to get you through. It's not a bad thing to have a few "good enough" places, as long as you go with the right expectations.

                    2. re: agarnett100
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                      Steve RE: agarnett100 Sep 21, 2011 09:22 AM

                      To me, very good bbq is a mighty fine thing to eat and worth pointing out on Chowhound. Ever since Rocklands reopened in Arlington, I have had very good chopped pork on all but one occasion. The sliced pork has always been very good - but not from the same part of the pig.

                      There was a time when the old Rocklands location in Arlington went from great to atrocious.

                      1. re: Steve
                        RobertM RE: Steve Sep 21, 2011 09:26 AM

                        Totally agree, with you both. But the rule is, build it up, not haystack style, it is an investment after all, so sell it off and let the next guy carry on. That is once we get all ready to head back we find new cooks, and changed Q.
                        We have all been down that road a time or so. But like good hounds, we keep looking. The rule of the Fate's holds true! Get it while you can.

                        1. re: RobertM
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                          cb1 RE: RobertM Sep 21, 2011 09:46 AM

                          Robert, couldn't agree more. KBQ in Bowie is a good example. Was once really good, now just ok. I don't even find it worth the twenty minute drive anymore. (although looking at yelp you would think its the greatest place ever...as Seinfeld would say "Who are these people" that give such ratings on yelp?)

                          1. re: cb1
                            RobertM RE: cb1 Sep 21, 2011 09:56 AM

                            Ha ha, check out Washingtonian Mag too.
                            Mind blowing.

                            1. re: cb1
                              DanielK RE: cb1 Sep 21, 2011 11:49 AM

                              KBQ seems to be bad at storage. When the Q is right out of the smoker, it's heavenly, but if it sits on that steam table for a while, that doesn't do it any favors. I've had really good ribs there recently, but I've also had not-really-good-ones.

                              -----
                              KBQ
                              12500 Fairwood Parkway, Bowie, MD 20720

                              1. re: DanielK
                                agarnett100 RE: DanielK Sep 21, 2011 12:20 PM

                                I think they were serving the badly stored producted at yesterdays lunch - I'm not returning - I rather spend my little bit of cash else where

                                1. re: agarnett100
                                  RobertM RE: agarnett100 Sep 21, 2011 04:32 PM

                                  Often popular places have real deal folks do the cooking, then vacuum pack, or freeze it in portions. Customers come in, and they Microwave it to thaw, then hit the grill, or microwave it to serve. You just know those lounging around the cash register have no clue. If I see a steam table, and stuff just simmering, I just bail. There are others that just try to mix yesterdays unsold with fresh they have on hand. Or you get what they could not sell, till you walked in.
                                  When you find a hot, fresh rocking Q spot, howl! Us hounds will get there before they sell out, or bring in the smile bots.

                                2. re: DanielK
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                                  Sal Gee RE: DanielK Sep 24, 2012 08:03 AM

                                  KBQ is leaving its current location. Apparently losing its lease. Columbia Heights in DC is the rumored new location. Can the dining scene get any worse in PG County?

                                  1. re: DanielK
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                                    Sal Gee RE: DanielK Sep 24, 2012 08:05 AM

                                    KBQ is closing its current location in Bowie and moving elsewhere - Columbia Heights in DC is the rumor. Too bad. Another blow to the impoverished dining scene in PG County.

                                    1. re: Sal Gee
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                                      The Big Crunch RE: Sal Gee Oct 1, 2012 11:16 AM

                                      Yes...but for us in the District, this is a very promising rumor! I was underwhelmed by KBQ's ribs the one time I had them, but thought the pulled pork was quite good.

                                      1. re: Sal Gee
                                        agarnett100 RE: Sal Gee Oct 1, 2012 11:44 AM

                                        KBQ was not really that great

                                        1. re: agarnett100
                                          monkeyrotica RE: agarnett100 Oct 2, 2012 03:53 AM

                                          I don't think anyone has ever accused KBQ of being "great." For most, it's merely adequate. But by DC standards, that's a ringing endorsement since there isn't any truly "great" bbq around.

                                          1. re: monkeyrotica
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                                            The Big Crunch RE: monkeyrotica Oct 2, 2012 11:14 AM

                                            Well, the Washingtonian has been guilty of over-praising the place for several "Best Eats" issues, but, like you said, the real issue is how it stands in comparison to other BBQ joints in the area. If it moved into DC, especially near where I live, I would probably go there a fair amount for the pulled pork.

                                            1. re: The Big Crunch
                                              monkeyrotica RE: The Big Crunch Oct 2, 2012 11:45 AM

                                              The Washingtonian isn't exactly a cutting-edge arbiter of taste. They continue to praise Five Guys long after the quality of their product/service has gone downhill.

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                        MikeR RE: Exploremore Sep 9, 2011 08:39 AM

                        Nearly everybody here hates someone else's favorite. Next time you're in the city where you think you've had the best BBQ, get some there. See if it's as good as you remember.

                        There are a few roadside places far enough outside the beltway so that they can have a real fire that have character, but whatever you consider "real" isn't what you'll find there. Too many realities for any one BBQ joint.

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: MikeR
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                          Exploremore RE: MikeR Sep 9, 2011 02:03 PM

                          Do tell! Where have you found something good?

                          1. re: Exploremore
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                            MikeR RE: Exploremore Sep 9, 2011 02:23 PM

                            I kind of liked Jack Stack in Kansas City, but it's been about 10 years since I was there. Around here, I eat Famous Dave's and don't try to compare it to something that I might have had somewhere that was better. It is what it is, and I enjoy it for that.

                            1. re: MikeR
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                              Exploremore RE: MikeR Sep 10, 2011 04:58 PM

                              For Carolina-style, there was Stubb's, just outside of Florence, SC, but I have heard that the pit master passed away, and the place just closed.

                              1. re: Exploremore
                                alkapal RE: Exploremore Sep 14, 2011 10:59 PM

                                is that the same stubbs that makes the retail stubb's sauce? i'm guessing so. but it never struck me as "eastern style Q" but i'm no expert. it is a dark sauce, transparent, but dark. maybe from worcestershire. now i have to go look! ;-).

                                1. re: alkapal
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                                  Steve RE: alkapal Sep 15, 2011 05:37 AM

                                  The grocery store sauce is from Stubbs bbq - in Texas. Not the same. it has tomato paste in it.

                                  1. re: Steve
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                                    Exploremore RE: Steve Sep 15, 2011 10:58 AM

                                    No--it is not the same at all! The commercial sauce is named for a man who sold tomato-based sauce to the rich and famous. This place was a local place, wtih South Carolina style barbeque. The eastern North Carolina style is the vinegar-dressed without pretense, while as you go more west in NC they start to add some tomato (Lexington). The South Carolna style has mustard in it.

                                    1. re: Exploremore
                                      alkapal RE: Exploremore Sep 16, 2011 01:49 AM

                                      thanks. i know the difference in styles of qs (i'm an eastern carolina fan, but love all the styles).

                                      this stubbs i'm talking about is not the tomato=based sauce -- but more like an au jus type of concentrate.

                                      maybe i'm thinking "stubbs" but it isn't….. i'll check in the morning.

                                      1. re: alkapal
                                        alkapal RE: alkapal Sep 26, 2011 08:51 AM

                                        NO, it wasn't stubb's what i was thinking of -- it was "moore's". those single syllables really mess me up. LOL. <but hey, both names did have a doubled letter>

                                        my nephew -- the hunter -- likes it and recommended it to me. http://www.mooresmarinade.com/

                                    2. re: Steve
                                      yummyummeatemup RE: Steve Sep 25, 2011 08:19 AM

                                      I think Stubb's ("ladies and gentlemen, I'm a cook") is from Austin, or maybe Lubbock.

                                      1. re: yummyummeatemup
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                                        Divalicias RE: yummyummeatemup Nov 16, 2011 06:43 AM

                                        Stubb's is from Austin,TX and I've been there. It was good BBQ. Not as good as mine, but good enough.

                                        1. re: Divalicias
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                                          NeverLift RE: Divalicias Feb 7, 2012 01:23 PM

                                          Not nearly equal to true Mississippi BBQ. Texas style, just not the same.

                                          You might try the baby pork ribs at The County Line on 2222 -- surprisingly good for it not being a shack in a small town on the edge of a cotton field -- or Rudy's. Latter is oak smoked and tastes of it, strongly -- which is not to everyone's liking. And the sauces are all a bit on the sweet side, not pungent enough. None come close to the original.

                                          Doesn't keep me from taking home the ribs about once every 6 weeks. County Line. BTW: They make a great bread pudding, like I remember from New Orleans, One chunk serves 6, take it home, heat it and the sauce, mix the sauce half 'n half with bourbon . . . yum.

                          2. alkapal RE: Exploremore Sep 9, 2011 09:30 AM

                            if you want a home-fix, go to harris teeter and buy a tub of the "brookwood farms" carolina style bbq pulled pork. buy yourself some cheap white buns, and at home warm the q in a saucepan on low-medium, then have a surprisingly good sandwich! (you can also zap it, but it is not as nice as gently heated).

                            20 Replies
                            1. re: alkapal
                              GraydonCarter RE: alkapal Sep 16, 2011 02:57 PM

                              Evidently you can also order it directly from the Brookwood Farms website.

                              1. re: GraydonCarter
                                alkapal RE: GraydonCarter Sep 17, 2011 07:01 AM

                                good to know.

                                in the store, i saw that they have "upgraded" their packaging, so -- regular buyers -- now you should look not for the simple white tub with plain old print, but look for a snazzy colorful cardboard-around-tub presentation (like the other national brand's such as lloyd's or harris teeter's own brand).

                                i haven't tried it lately, but sure hope the top quality is still there. it is so nice and lean compared with those other national brands. harris teeter's isn't bad, actually. once i bought some national brand at giant, and it had hunks of fatty bits in there. UGH!!!

                                1. re: alkapal
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                                  MikeR RE: alkapal Oct 1, 2011 04:17 AM

                                  I remembered this post when I was in Harris Teeter yesterday. I saw both the store brand in the plain package in the prepared foods section and Brookwood Farms hanging up in the deli meats sections along with the Lloyds and a couple of similarly packaged BBQs.

                                  Do you think (or know) that they're the same thing, or different? I tried the Carolina style store brand several months ago on your recommendation and liked it.

                                  1. re: MikeR
                                    JonParker RE: MikeR Oct 1, 2011 05:37 AM

                                    I also think the HT store brand in the plain container is pretty darned good.

                                    1. re: JonParker
                                      alkapal RE: JonParker Oct 1, 2011 08:44 AM

                                      jon, i suspect that the one you *think* is HT in the plain container IS the brookwood farms (the one in the deli section) -- a black plastic rectangle with a clear plastic top.

                                      HT also has truly its own "big brand type of packaged bbq" (pardon my eloquence) of its own in the meat section, where the prepared meats are.

                                    2. re: MikeR
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                                      Steve RE: MikeR Oct 1, 2011 07:26 AM

                                      They are the same. As long as it says Brookwood Farms and is not the tomato-based sauce.

                                      1. re: MikeR
                                        alkapal RE: MikeR Oct 1, 2011 08:37 AM

                                        the brookwood farms is -- i'm happy to report -- still the same great quality. and yes, the carolina Q is the original. they also have a tomato-based sauced one, but i have never tried it.

                                        and, i agree, the harris teeter's own brand is pretty good, but i don't recall them having carolina (eastern) style. but the HT brand is much nicer than lloyd's, which is not good -- not at all!

                                        1. re: alkapal
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                                          MikeR RE: alkapal Oct 2, 2011 10:22 AM

                                          What I remember buying, and it's what you recommended quite some time ago, was a package of Carolina style in a plain rectangular tray with no brand name on the package. I don't recall reading the fine print on the label to see if the origin was identified there. I'll have to take a look next time I see it. At the time, the H-T store had a pretty good stock of both Carolina and Western style but recently either I've seen none or just one or two packages.

                                          As I said, I did see Brookwood Farms BBQ in the "Lloyds" department but I didn't notice what color the tub was or whether there was any other identification other than the cardboard hang tag.

                                          But then, for $5 on Tuesday, I can get a pretty decent pulled pork sandwich with a big scoop of potato salad on the side at Red Hot and Blue. That's enough to hold my cholesterol level up for a couple of months. ;)

                                          1. re: MikeR
                                            alkapal RE: MikeR Oct 2, 2011 10:37 AM

                                            ok….good enough. that pkg. in the deli case in the black bottomed clear topped rectangular pkg. is the brookwood farms' Q.

                                            what i know is that for a 16 oz tub of Brookwood Farms real-smoked East Carolina style bbq from the Harris Teeter meat Dept. you pay $5.99.

                                            per ounce it is a lesser price compared with the smaller (8 oz.?) deli package as we just described.

                                            and for a hongry girl, that 16 ounce tub pkg. is still at least three sandwiches in my book. ;-)).

                                            as to 'tater salad,,,,well, does anyone do it right around here, except make it yourself? that being said, i think i recall RHB doing a decent tater salad, indeed. the one in the harris teeter deli case needs LOTS of doctoring. and FORGET safeway's version. yuck!

                                            1. re: alkapal
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                                              MikeR RE: alkapal Oct 2, 2011 01:59 PM

                                              Sounds like the Brookwood Farms 16 oz package is the one to get. I seem to remember the black 8 oz "unbranded" package was 5.99 when it wasn't on sale, which I suspect is why I've only bought two packages since you pointed it out.

                                              The Red Hot and Blue potato salad is pretty tasty, better than the little cup of cole slaw that they give you along with the BBQ. I have a good potato salad recipe but I only make it for parties. It doesn't work well for one or two servings.

                                              I only take a couple of bites of the bun top and don't eat it as a sandwich so I can't be critical about the bun. One of these days I'm going to have to remember if I can have a corn muffin instead of the bun.

                                              I don't care for the RH&B fries. They season them too heavily, and unless they're making a fresh batch, it's too late to get them plain.

                                              1. re: MikeR
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                                                Exploremore RE: MikeR Oct 2, 2011 03:46 PM

                                                If you are ever in the Atlanta area, there is a restaurant called Hickory House, and they have great, consistent Q, with great potato salad. Their Brunswick stew is also excellent. I miss that place!

                                      2. re: alkapal
                                        KWagle RE: alkapal Dec 4, 2011 11:29 PM

                                        I tried Brookwood Farms once and was not impressed, but that was many years ago.

                                        I've had good luck with Costco (Kirkland) brand smoked pulled pork (which is just meat, no sauce, 2# for $10.) So nice and NOT lean. Lean is the kiss of death for barbecue; pulled pork should contain a fair amount of meltingly delicious fat--that's where a lot of the flavor is.

                                        1. re: KWagle
                                          alkapal RE: KWagle Dec 4, 2011 11:34 PM

                                          by lean i mean not gobs of fat in it like lloyd's and those types of commercial q
                                          is kirkland brand an e carolina style?

                                          where did you find brookwood farms q many years ago?

                                          1. re: alkapal
                                            KWagle RE: alkapal Dec 5, 2011 07:38 PM

                                            Not sure. Possibly Giant. I think it was before I moved to Boston which would mean before 2002. I tried it under the assumption a non-national brand might be closer to barbecue than to barbecue sauce, but it was mostly sauce. As for Kirkland, AFAICT it's just hunks of smoked pork. I don't know if that makes it EC style. I really like it--nothing but meat and smoke and fat at a good price

                                            1. re: KWagle
                                              alkapal RE: KWagle Dec 6, 2011 03:20 AM

                                              oh, brookwood farms' product these days is all meat (pulled, with sometimes a smoky chunk), with barely enough e. carollna vinegar sauce (if you can call it that) to keep it moist. in fact, last time i debated making a quick mini-batch to add more.

                                              i don't recall it at giant, but…maybe so. i first found it at harris teeter about three-four years ago.

                                    3. re: alkapal
                                      Terrie H. RE: alkapal Oct 12, 2011 02:44 AM

                                      The Brookwood Farms Q was on sale at HT this past week so I tried it because of the recommendations here. It was really quite good. I would certainly get it again, especially when it is on sale. I got the eastern Carolina style, which needed just a bit more heat for me, but it had a good, smokey flavor.

                                      1. re: Terrie H.
                                        alkapal RE: Terrie H. Oct 12, 2011 07:19 AM

                                        LOL -- i went yesterday and bought two tubs, then got a rain check for later, because the two tubs i got were the only ones on the shelf (though they may've had more in the back). it was a good price, for sure. very occasionally, it is half-price (but not since the new packaging).

                                        i agree, there really is very little heat at all in their eastern carolina Q. warm it over low-medium heat and throw in red pepper flakes. i love to make little sandwiches on the martin's potato dinner rolls or king's hawaiian rolls. heck, i'll even eat it on triscuits. ;-).

                                        1. re: alkapal
                                          Terrie H. RE: alkapal Oct 12, 2011 07:27 AM

                                          The Martin's rolls were also on sale, so I did the same.

                                          1. re: Terrie H.
                                            alkapal RE: Terrie H. Oct 12, 2011 08:00 AM

                                            yeah buddy! and martin's are better than schmidt's potato rolls, in my book.

                                            1. re: alkapal
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                                              Exploremore RE: alkapal Oct 12, 2011 10:40 AM

                                              I am totally with you on that! I don't think that Schmidt's keeps the stock as fresh, and that makes a difference.

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                                      laststandchili RE: Exploremore Sep 9, 2011 09:47 AM

                                      The best I've found in MD has been at Chubbys in Emmitsburg, and Johnny Boys on 301 in La Plata.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: laststandchili
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                                        Ziv RE: laststandchili Sep 9, 2011 10:07 AM

                                        I second Johnny Boys, it isn't great but it is pretty good, and the picnic tables are pretty cool. Randys up the road is nearly as good.

                                        1. re: Ziv
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                                          laststandchili RE: Ziv Sep 10, 2011 02:47 PM

                                          Another plus for Johnny Boys is Twin Kiss across the highway. BBQ from JBs and a rootbeer float from TK makes for a nice afternoon.

                                        2. re: laststandchili
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                                          skipper RE: laststandchili Sep 9, 2011 01:39 PM

                                          I ditto Chubby's. Its really good. I also really like the brisket at Urban BBQ (at least the one on 108 in Sandy Spring/Olney).

                                          1. re: skipper
                                            kukubura RE: skipper Nov 8, 2011 06:51 PM

                                            I haven't had a comprehensive experience but Chubby's is off the wall good food. That brisket...

                                            Also, a big fan of Jake's on Falls Road just north of Padonia road near Baltimore...

                                        3. monkeyrotica RE: Exploremore Sep 9, 2011 10:12 AM

                                          Try George's or Slab O Ribs, both in Indian Head.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: monkeyrotica
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                                            MDBBQFiend RE: monkeyrotica Sep 12, 2011 05:14 AM

                                            Where is "Slab O Ribs"? I know where George's and Dale's are, but I'm not familiar with this other place - sounds interesting...

                                            1. re: MDBBQFiend
                                              monkeyrotica RE: MDBBQFiend Sep 12, 2011 07:55 AM

                                              Slab O Ribs
                                              3360 Livingston Road, Indian Head, MD 20640-3209
                                              (301) 375-6297

                                              http://www.yelp.com/biz/slab-o-ribs-i...

                                          2. o
                                            oceancrest67 RE: Exploremore Sep 9, 2011 11:47 AM

                                            We live in Upper Marlboro, MD. As stated in other postings...good bbq is hard to find in the DC metro area. The two BBQ places we go to are: KBQ Barbecue in Bowie, MD and Lefty's BBQ in Waldorf, MD. Both have good smoke and pretty good sauce if that is your thing.

                                            -----
                                            KBQ
                                            12500 Fairwood Parkway, Bowie, MD 20720

                                            16 Replies
                                            1. re: oceancrest67
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                                              MikeR RE: oceancrest67 Sep 9, 2011 02:26 PM

                                              How is KBQ these days? I went there a couple of time a couple of years ago and thought the first visit was great, the second visit only worth the trip since I was going out that way anyway.

                                              -----
                                              KBQ
                                              12500 Fairwood Parkway, Bowie, MD 20720

                                              1. re: MikeR
                                                DanielK RE: MikeR Sep 9, 2011 04:41 PM

                                                Like *every* cue place, they can have off days, and if you grab the one piece that's been sitting around too long, it can suffer.

                                                I've had 90% good experiences at KBQ, so I'd give it another shot if I were you.

                                                -----
                                                KBQ
                                                12500 Fairwood Parkway, Bowie, MD 20720

                                                1. re: DanielK
                                                  agarnett100 RE: DanielK Sep 19, 2011 09:38 AM

                                                  KBQ - stopped by for lunch order a pulled pork sandwich and mac n cheese. The pulled pork was a little dry as was the mac n cheese. Its okay if you are in the area but not worth an across the beltway trek. The best part of the meal was the bun on the sandwich

                                                  1. re: agarnett100
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                                                    Exploremore RE: agarnett100 Sep 19, 2011 01:49 PM

                                                    Oh no! The bun ought to be the least interesting (and almost flavorless) part of the experience!

                                                    1. re: Exploremore
                                                      RobertM RE: Exploremore Sep 20, 2011 09:11 AM

                                                      Whelp, a lot of these places start off with a bang, crazy good Q.
                                                      almost like they have a killer Memphis in May team that is hired on to put the place on the map. But, like KBQ, I was one of their biggest cheer leaders, they turn into a crew of warm up artist. I noticed the ribs, killer, now were ho hum, then crap. The FD's & RHB's all work like McDonald's, nothing out of the ordinary, but consistent. So, yeah, the KBQ is truly missed. If any body has found any place close to how they USED to be, post please!

                                                      -----
                                                      KBQ
                                                      12500 Fairwood Parkway, Bowie, MD 20720

                                                      1. re: RobertM
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                                                        Steve RE: RobertM Sep 20, 2011 09:17 AM

                                                        This is very true. There was a local franchise called Memphis BBQ Co. that started off with some of the best I've ever had. They didn't get much attention, though, and then started cutting corners. After a while, it became oven-roasted pork, not bbq. They folded soon after.

                                                        1. re: Steve
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                                                          Exploremore RE: Steve Sep 20, 2011 01:47 PM

                                                          I think it takes a person who is crazy dedicated to what they do, if there is going to be consistency in a barbeque place. Someone has to care about the meat, and keep watch constantly. It's not glorious, and no "celebrity chef" type would survive it because there is no direct adulation all the time. Being a good owner or business person is necessary to keep the place going, but someone has to stay in the back, and do the meat right. Given how much people love the real thing, you would think someone would get the right pit master, and do whatever was necessary to make him/her happy and productive!

                                                          1. re: Exploremore
                                                            yummyummeatemup RE: Exploremore Sep 24, 2011 03:47 PM

                                                            You're right on the money, Exploremore. That's what they seem to manage at Andy Nelson's in Cockeysville. They've been there for years, and are very consistent; maybe better than when they started. As you point out, they need a steady, watchful eye, and being a family-run affair, I guess that that's Andy's steady hand on the tiller. You know you're on the right track when you find a place that always has a mountain of hickory out back.

                                                            1. re: yummyummeatemup
                                                              JonParker RE: yummyummeatemup Sep 24, 2011 10:55 PM

                                                              I totally agree. Andy's is the best.

                                                              1. re: JonParker
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                                                                Exploremore RE: JonParker Sep 25, 2011 06:34 AM

                                                                You've sold me! Cockeysville is a run for me, but I am scheduling it now with my barbeque buddy--who also recognizes that what is great is worth a long drive!

                                                                1. re: Exploremore
                                                                  yummyummeatemup RE: Exploremore Sep 25, 2011 07:04 AM

                                                                  My favorite is the pulled pork. And I love their beans.

                                                                  1. re: yummyummeatemup
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                                                                    ekillinger RE: yummyummeatemup Sep 22, 2012 08:10 PM

                                                                    Go to Andy's frequently as I'm not that far. Second the favorite of the pulled pork and their beans. They also just added burnt ends to the menu. Were sold out by 12:30 for lunch the other day. Gotta try them.

                                                          2. re: Steve
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                                                            Tallcooldrink RE: Steve Mar 2, 2012 01:06 AM

                                                            There is a Memphis Barbeque in Crystal City in Arlington. They opened in December. I liked the food but the gentlemen I was with thought it was just "okay". As a Canadian, I've learned that barbeque is a matter of personal taste. I liked Memphis Barbeque. Their hush puppies were awesome. I've got to hand it to you Americans... You guys know BBQ and I've become a huge fan.

                                                  2. re: MikeR
                                                    yummyummeatemup RE: MikeR Sep 25, 2011 08:22 AM

                                                    we go to KBQ every now and again, just for a change. I'd rate it reliably somewhat better than mediocre.

                                                    -----
                                                    KBQ
                                                    12500 Fairwood Parkway, Bowie, MD 20720

                                                  3. re: oceancrest67
                                                    o
                                                    oceancrest67 RE: oceancrest67 Sep 12, 2011 10:02 AM

                                                    We just went to Lefty's BBQ in Waldorf, MD last Friday...now becoming something of a regular visit once or twice a month...we have tried numerous selections from the NC style pulled port, beef brisket, to the pulled chicken and my favorite right now is the quarter chicken and rib platter. There sides are pretty good.

                                                    KBQ up in Bowie, MD is pretty good and we get to it when we feel like the drive.

                                                    So yes...BBQ joints have off days...but for the most part...these two stand out for our location and opinion.

                                                    -----
                                                    KBQ
                                                    12500 Fairwood Parkway, Bowie, MD 20720

                                                    1. re: oceancrest67
                                                      s
                                                      Steve RE: oceancrest67 Sep 12, 2011 12:21 PM

                                                      To each his own; I wouldn't go out of my way for Lefty's.

                                                  4. p
                                                    pegmo RE: Exploremore Sep 9, 2011 12:54 PM

                                                    My vote goes to The Tender Rib in Temple Hills! They are family owned and everything is done right. www.thetenderrib.com I see they have 4 stars and 18 reviews on yelp, too. I've contracted with them to do multiple large festivals. You should hear EVERYONE raving about how awesome the food is!

                                                    1. a
                                                      alopez RE: Exploremore Sep 10, 2011 07:54 AM

                                                      Two more suggestions for you: Andy Nelson's just north of Baltimore and Black Hog BBQ in Frederick. I don't know if either of these is "the best" but they're both good to very good (depending on the day) for pulled pork.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: alopez
                                                        Dennis S RE: alopez Sep 10, 2011 10:05 AM

                                                        I love Andy Nelson's.

                                                        One other thing is that Smoking Joe's, if it's still there, has great beans. Good pulled pork, but great beans. It (at least used to be) on 29 South of Gainesville.

                                                        And I'm sure Williards has been mentioned. Very good burnt ends there. And you can trade the corn bread for a third side on the platters.

                                                        1. re: Dennis S
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                                                          Exploremore RE: Dennis S Sep 10, 2011 05:00 PM

                                                          I haven't had good burnt ends in at least five years. I'll have to look into this one. Does anyone know a place that also does Brunswick stew? There was a place outside of Atlanta that spoiled me badly, but it's too far for me in my current life.

                                                          1. re: Exploremore
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                                                            ekillinger RE: Exploremore Sep 22, 2012 08:12 PM

                                                            Andy Nelson's just added burnt ends to the menu. Were sold out by 12:30 for lunch the other day. Gotta try them.

                                                        2. re: alopez
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                                                          ike17055 RE: alopez Jul 10, 2013 01:34 PM

                                                          bioth these are great places and worthy of a road trip from time to time. they aqre different but I would have a very hard time picking which one I like better...

                                                        3. yummyummeatemup RE: Exploremore Sep 20, 2011 06:59 PM

                                                          I'm surprised that more people haven't suggested Andy Nelson's in Cockeysville.
                                                          Andy does it the real, slow way, smoking with hickory. I've yet to have a better pulled pork, and I consider myself to be a serious BBQ afficianado. I have a big ol' Horizon cast iron smoker, and have done whole pigs myself. The sides there are also kick-ass. Great beans, and slaw, all made on the premises. A real family establishment, closed on Sunday, much to my chagrin...

                                                          7 Replies
                                                          1. re: yummyummeatemup
                                                            RobertM RE: yummyummeatemup Sep 21, 2011 03:52 AM

                                                            Two reasons, if you live in the DC metro area: Gas prices, and the place is in Cockeysville, MD. North of Baltimore. [Often called Just too far away. Same for Buzz & Ned's down in Richmond.
                                                            I love the good stuff, and when in those area's do hit em up. Same for Chubby's. But a game day, or Saturday/Sunday or after work casual 100+ mile round trip for BBQ leaves the sane to nosh on lessor but available options.

                                                            1. re: RobertM
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                                                              Tallcooldrink RE: RobertM Mar 2, 2012 01:12 AM

                                                              I recently moved here and I agree with Robert M. I find a lot of the posts on this board are for Maryland and when you start talking Baltimore area, ya, that's a bit far no matter how good it is. I really wish there were two separate boards for MD and the DC Metro area.

                                                              1. re: Tallcooldrink
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                                                                flavrmeistr RE: Tallcooldrink Mar 6, 2012 01:05 PM

                                                                If you're on foot, yes, but.....

                                                            2. re: yummyummeatemup
                                                              h
                                                              hgil RE: yummyummeatemup Oct 12, 2011 12:09 PM

                                                              You said it..I have yet to have anything in the area that comes even close to Andy's

                                                              1. re: hgil
                                                                JonParker RE: hgil Oct 13, 2011 06:45 AM

                                                                I totally agree. Andy is the bar that others need to hit.

                                                                1. re: JonParker
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                                                                  flavrmeistr RE: JonParker Dec 1, 2011 11:04 AM

                                                                  Andy's has a bar? I'm there.

                                                                  1. re: flavrmeistr
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                                                                    ekillinger RE: flavrmeistr Sep 22, 2012 08:13 PM

                                                                    No, but you can BYO.

                                                            3. d
                                                              DC in DC RE: Exploremore Sep 24, 2011 07:21 PM

                                                              I'm not an expert by any stretch, but Dixie Bones on Route 1 in Woodbridge is by far the best I've found in the area.

                                                              10 Replies
                                                              1. re: DC in DC
                                                                monavano RE: DC in DC Sep 25, 2011 06:38 AM

                                                                I don't know authentic from nothing, as I have not traveled the country to know what authentic is, but I sure do love Dixie Bone. The sides are also very good.

                                                                1. re: monavano
                                                                  alkapal RE: monavano Sep 26, 2011 09:14 AM

                                                                  and i like to have a little of their white bbq sauce on some of my dixie bones pulled pork, too. try it, even if you think it is crazy. their sides are very good there, though i wish they'd chop their greens more finely.

                                                                  if they are offering their jezebel sauce, get some! ;-).

                                                                  1. re: alkapal
                                                                    monavano RE: alkapal Oct 1, 2011 07:35 AM

                                                                    I will! Love, love! their collards, but yes, I do get splattered when I eat them!

                                                                    1. re: monavano
                                                                      alkapal RE: monavano Oct 1, 2011 08:41 AM

                                                                      ramona, isn't it odd though that they can't do good corn bread?!?! at least i've never had it there.

                                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                                        monavano RE: alkapal Oct 1, 2011 08:49 AM

                                                                        IIRC, the cornbread is quite moist, which is how I like it. DH likes it and he's a HUGE cornbread lover. It's so simple, yet most places screw it up. If I get decent cornbread, I'm happy!

                                                                        1. re: monavano
                                                                          alkapal RE: monavano Oct 1, 2011 08:59 AM

                                                                          maybe then i've gotten bad batches, 'cause mine were dry and almost flavorless.

                                                                          1. re: alkapal
                                                                            monavano RE: alkapal Oct 1, 2011 10:30 AM

                                                                            Ack! You are right!
                                                                            My memory is so bad.... just asked DH about the cornbread at Dixie and he said he does NOT like it. It's dry and needs some sugar. He saves the calories and skips it.
                                                                            OK, now we're on the same page!!

                                                                            1. re: monavano
                                                                              alkapal RE: monavano Oct 2, 2011 05:41 AM

                                                                              yes, i skip it, too -- i'd rather eat more pork!

                                                                              i recently got my brother-in-law's cornbread recipe -- it is from his now-deceased father, a florida native who used to take hemingway out on fishing trips out of port charlotte (to give you an idea of the recipe's age).

                                                                              here is the link so that people who maybe buy bbq can have good cornbread with it.
                                                                              ;-).
                                                                              Lawrence Williams' "Old Florida" Style Cornbread -- http://www.chow.com/recipes/30165-law...

                                                                              it is very tender, but your husband may not like it without sugar.

                                                                              ~~~~~~~~
                                                                              this is OT, but -- yes -- harris teeter has a terrific little corn pudding square in their take-out section. it reminds me of the chevy's tomalito corn pudding. nice!

                                                                2. re: DC in DC
                                                                  d
                                                                  drewpbalzac RE: DC in DC Jun 25, 2012 01:22 PM

                                                                  I hit Dixie Bones for the first time this weekend. The place was jammed, so I opted for a seat at the little counter.

                                                                  They have a Sunday "brunch" which was a steal at about $14. They put out their pulled/chopped pork, chopped beef brisket, smoked sausage, chicken, and all the sides. Unfortunately I judge a BBQ joint by the ribs but given the price point ant the chances to sample across a wide swath of the menu I skipped the ribs.

                                                                  The mains were all fine. The pork wasn't particularly porky or smokey but after a dash of the vinegar sauce and some slaw it was pretty damned tasty. The brisket was fine if you are a brisket person, although purist may belittle the fact that it was all chopped up and not sliced . . .

                                                                  I thought the sides were all top notch, including the cornbread . . . .

                                                                  I would definitely give Dixie Bones a try if you are in the area. . . . Would I go to Woodbridge just for the BBQ? . . . . .

                                                                  I’m not sure I would ever make a special trip to Woodbridge.

                                                                  1. re: drewpbalzac
                                                                    Dennis S RE: drewpbalzac Jun 25, 2012 06:08 PM

                                                                    Pretty much my take on the place - and really all the Q places in the area. I was in Woodbridge once to buy something and so I stopped in. Great if I'm there, but haven't been back since. Even though I like Williards and Double D for certain things, I wouldn't make special trips for them - but I am glad each is roughly the same short distance so that if I have that calling, I can get it.

                                                                3. ClevelandDave RE: Exploremore Sep 26, 2011 07:58 AM

                                                                  I'm no expert in this area, but I greatly enjoyed a little place called The BBQ Joint in Easton, Maryland this weekend. Ribs were tender fall off the bone good, spiced just right, could get the ribs sauced or no sauce (different sauces ones, including vinegar available on the table). Also had chicken and brisket which were quite good. Sides were very good to great- particulalry liked the cole slaw. Attractive clean little place. Is it great? I know my limitations and I just haven't had enough Q to really know. Would I go to Easton from DC just for the Q? Probably not. But if you are out in Annapolis, Queenstown or going south on 50, it is worth a stop...

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: ClevelandDave
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                                                                    lawhound RE: ClevelandDave Oct 10, 2011 08:39 AM

                                                                    I agree that BBQ JOint is worth a stop, but no more than that. Everything is pretty good; nothing is actually great. What a shame, as the Inn at Easton (where the owner, Andrew Evans, was the owner and chef) was one of the great restaurants in Maryland, not just Easton/Eastern Shore.

                                                                    1. re: ClevelandDave
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                                                                      Divalicias RE: ClevelandDave Dec 2, 2011 02:09 PM

                                                                      I have family living in Easton, MD. We love this BBQ place and often pick up dinner there. Ribs are great, the pulled pork is yummy and the sides are also good, but the green beans are delectable.

                                                                      Another place we get good BBQ is the Amish Market -- it has limited hours -- only open until 3pm on Saturdays -- but the ribs and chicken are sooo good. Lots of other yummy foods to get at this market too -- it's a great place to pick up supplies for a Saturday picnic supper.

                                                                      1. re: ClevelandDave
                                                                        foster RE: ClevelandDave Oct 1, 2012 08:06 AM

                                                                        I second that, ClevelandDave. I am also not a barbeque nut & have not been to all THAT many places, but BBQ Joint blew us away last month. I would say it was the best in my memory &would definitely rather eat from there before Andy Nelsons or Big Bad Wolf - the two places I tend to frequent in the Baltimore area. And whenever crossing 50, I WILL be stopping in to pick up something from BBQ Joint, hungry or not.

                                                                      2. m
                                                                        mdfoodlover RE: Exploremore Sep 26, 2011 04:41 PM

                                                                        I just came home from a nice meal at Urban BBQ in Sandy Spring,MD.
                                                                        Had the Ribs & Brisket combo. Side of Collard greens.
                                                                        Used quite a bit of the house Hot BBQ sauce.

                                                                        Most excellent!
                                                                        Best brisket I've had since eating same in Austin, TX at the Green Mesquite 20 some odd years ago.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: mdfoodlover
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                                                                          helmswoman RE: mdfoodlover Nov 12, 2012 09:22 AM

                                                                          I've had the brisket at Urban BBQ in SSMD, and it turned this pulled-pork lover into a brisket fan. It was the best I had until a trip to Austin, where Franklin's was the best I've ever had, anywhere. Full disclosure: another visit to Urban BBQ yielded a dry version of the earlier brisket. Get in the car, head out to Sandy Spring, and hope for the best.

                                                                          1. re: helmswoman
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                                                                            The Big Crunch RE: helmswoman Nov 12, 2012 10:07 AM

                                                                            I had it once and found it dry. It looked nice and had some good smoke in it, but it was quite dry.

                                                                        2. alkapal RE: Exploremore Oct 1, 2011 08:52 AM

                                                                          clarifying Harris Teeter and Brookwood Farms

                                                                          1. IN the HARRIS TEETER DELI -- there is a clear-lidded 8 oz. black plastic container (a flat style rectangle shape) that carries BROOKWOOD FARMS bbq. There is an Eastern Carolina style and a tomato-based (do they call it Western Carolina?) style. You will know that it is Brookwood Farms Q because it comes from Siler City, NC. (There is that information on the label, for sure).

                                                                          2. BROOKWOOD FARMS is ALSO in a 16 oz tub (enclosed with cardboard labeling box) in the PREPARED meats section of the MEAT DEPT. They have two flavors -- Eastern and the tomato-based one.

                                                                          3. HARRIS TEETER has its own brand of BBQ in the PREPARED MEATS section of the meat dept. -- in a cardboard box enclosed 16 oz. tub sitting right next to the LLoyd's and the Brookwood Farms.

                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                          1. re: alkapal
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                                                                            MikeR RE: alkapal Oct 2, 2011 10:24 AM

                                                                            Ah, three rather than two. Thanks for the clarification (after I clarified what I remembered seeing)

                                                                            1. re: MikeR
                                                                              alkapal RE: MikeR Oct 2, 2011 10:39 AM

                                                                              the 16 oz. tub is a better value, if you care.

                                                                            2. re: alkapal
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                                                                              MikeR RE: alkapal Oct 5, 2011 05:14 PM

                                                                              Headzup! Brookwood Farms BBQ is on sale for $3.99 for a 16 oz tub this week at Harris Teeter.

                                                                              When I was there today, I also took a look at the unbranded "black rectangular" Carolina style vinegar sauced BBQ in the deli department. If the origin was on the label, it was covered over by the price label on every package (they must have wanted to do that) but it was $5.99 for a 12 oz. package.

                                                                              1. re: MikeR
                                                                                alkapal RE: MikeR Oct 6, 2011 05:26 AM

                                                                                thanks for the head's up!!!

                                                                              2. re: alkapal
                                                                                GraydonCarter RE: alkapal Oct 6, 2011 07:38 AM

                                                                                Thanks to y'all I went down to the Harris Teeter in Darnestown, and what a nice store. I got a small package of BBQ from the deli - - probably the store brand is what they serve unlabeled. They were out of cole slaw so I had them make up a fresh batch. Can't have one without the other.

                                                                                I've been missing Wegman's but this Harris Teeter had a pretty good selection of specialty foods, like in their asian isle there was a good selection of Thai and Indian sauces.

                                                                                You can tell Harris Teeter is a southern chain as they sold Pimiento Cheese spread. Yum.

                                                                                1. re: GraydonCarter
                                                                                  alkapal RE: GraydonCarter Oct 6, 2011 10:08 AM

                                                                                  as an aside, they have something called the "meal deal" where you can get a crabcake and two sides for $3.99. no kidding.

                                                                              3. s
                                                                                sallibee RE: Exploremore Oct 2, 2011 09:07 AM

                                                                                I wanted to add the pit beef at the JFX farmer's market. Not what people normally think of as BBQ, but it is fantastic. I know the market is starting to slow down, but we go a couple of times every summer just to get those sandwiches.

                                                                                I'v eaten a lot of mediocre BBQ around here. I would avoid the school bus in the safeway parking lot t all costs- that is the only BBQ I have ever thrown out because it was inedible. I add my votes to Johnny Boy's and Willards.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: sallibee
                                                                                  RobertM RE: sallibee Oct 4, 2011 05:52 AM

                                                                                  If you go up to the JFX for the pit beef, we do too, you will be surprised, maybe not, that a better Pit Beef, Baltimore Style sandwich is available at Beefalow Bob's on Sundays down on Mountain Road.

                                                                                2. o
                                                                                  oceancrest67 RE: Exploremore Oct 7, 2011 05:30 AM

                                                                                  A coworker of mine mentioned a BBQ place out in Manassas, VA called the Hog & Claw...anyone hear of it ? Apparently they will cater a whole hog.

                                                                                  1. Mister Big RE: Exploremore Oct 8, 2011 10:55 AM

                                                                                    I just heard of Blue Ribbon BBQ in Gaithersburg. Anyone shed some light?

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Mister Big
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                                                                                      Transplanted Texan RE: Mister Big Oct 8, 2011 12:50 PM

                                                                                      If that's the one sort of in the Muncaster area, it's missable. I went last year and wasn't impressed, although I so wanted to be. :-(

                                                                                      1. re: Transplanted Texan
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                                                                                        reiflame RE: Transplanted Texan Oct 8, 2011 06:00 PM

                                                                                        I think it might have changed ownership since then. Still haven't gone.

                                                                                        1. re: reiflame
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                                                                                          Transplanted Texan RE: reiflame Oct 21, 2011 10:33 PM

                                                                                          They had a Groupon or a Living Social thing in the past couple days. Maybe it's still available, if you don't want to shell out a lot of cash for something that might be just meh.

                                                                                    2. j
                                                                                      JayeL RE: Exploremore Nov 2, 2011 06:07 PM

                                                                                      My vote for a 'close-to-Texas' feeling is Branded 72 in Rockville. It has been around for thirty years and they use Texas-built smokers that you can't find anywhere but the Lonestar state. Homemade sauces and an excellent array of meats (not to small batch bourbons) will put you in a mood.

                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: JayeL
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                                                                                        Steve RE: JayeL Nov 2, 2011 06:58 PM

                                                                                        I am not sure what you mean when you say Branded 72 has been around for thirty years. Not at that location. Where were they before that? Or are you saying it is pretty much the same bbq as O'Brien's? If so, I would say they made excellent hickory smoked chicken, but I wouldn't go for their pork or beef.

                                                                                        1. re: Steve
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                                                                                          reiflame RE: Steve Nov 8, 2011 05:42 PM

                                                                                          Branded 72 is the same as O'Briens. The original owners retired and their son-in-law took over and rebranded. The 72 is the year that it opened as O'Briens, so it's actually almost 40.

                                                                                          I disagree totally; I think their chicken is dry and tasteless but their brisket is excellent. It's a Texas style place, after all.

                                                                                          1. re: reiflame
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                                                                                            Steve RE: reiflame Nov 9, 2011 09:28 AM

                                                                                            i haven't been there in many, many years.

                                                                                        2. re: JayeL
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                                                                                          mscoffee1 RE: JayeL Nov 2, 2011 08:24 PM

                                                                                          I had ribs at Branded 72 about four months ago at the drive thru and they were terrible. Fall off the bone in a bad way. Horrible taste.

                                                                                        3. alkapal RE: Exploremore Nov 16, 2011 07:06 AM

                                                                                          did anyone go to that pre-opening party at the new memphis bbq place in crystal city?

                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: alkapal
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                                                                                            MikeR RE: alkapal Nov 16, 2011 05:14 PM

                                                                                            Nobody invited me. Where and whatzitzname? I'll be coming back to National Airport Sunday evening and will be ready for dinner.

                                                                                            1. re: MikeR
                                                                                              alkapal RE: MikeR Nov 17, 2011 05:50 AM

                                                                                              it is called "memphis barbeque."
                                                                                              opening december 1.
                                                                                              http://www.bisnow.com/washington_dc_t...

                                                                                              1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                m
                                                                                                MikeR RE: alkapal Nov 17, 2011 06:36 AM

                                                                                                Apparently the show on Tuesday was a press preview. December 1 is too late for me. I probably won't be back in the Crystal City area for another couple of years. ;)

                                                                                                Remember that there used to be a "Memphis BBQ" (name) chain that had a few places in this area. There was on in Ballston that's been gone for a while, and there was one in Centerville that may or may not still be there. I thought they were pretty good back when the closest competition was Red Hot and Blue.

                                                                                                I realize this new one is not the same chain. From the photos, it sure doesn't look like a BBQ joint, but I guess it's what you get in Crystal City.

                                                                                                1. re: MikeR
                                                                                                  alkapal RE: MikeR Nov 17, 2011 07:15 AM

                                                                                                  snazzy-Q -- a washington sub-genre.

                                                                                          2. l
                                                                                            laststandchili RE: Exploremore Nov 17, 2011 07:57 AM

                                                                                            http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2011...

                                                                                            No idea if this would fall into the "best" category, but it's in my neck of the woods, and looks worth a try.

                                                                                            1. alkapal RE: Exploremore Nov 30, 2011 10:40 PM

                                                                                              i am anxious to try pork barrel bbq in del ray, alexandria. bonus: walking distance to "let's meat on the avenue" and cheesetique.

                                                                                              ps, "let's meat" sells great sausages -- esp. the spicier ones. it is where we buy our nueske's bacon, too. ps. don't bother with the uncured duck "bacon" from d'artagnan -- not worth the $$.

                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: alkapal
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                                                                                                xdcx RE: alkapal Dec 1, 2011 01:24 PM

                                                                                                there's pretty much no way it's going to be good. they aren't using real pits, aren't using logs.

                                                                                                1. re: xdcx
                                                                                                  alkapal RE: xdcx Dec 1, 2011 03:11 PM

                                                                                                  xdcx, i am not snarky here:

                                                                                                  the photo is their smoker oven. how does that differ from a "pit" in performance -- end product?
                                                                                                  they (PB BBQ) use chips, right? i'm honestly curious, how is smoke from chips different from smoke from logs? they say they long smoke with hickory and oak.

                                                                                                  my nephew uses a smoker he made from oil drums. my cousins use to have a big smoker that they hauled behind their truck for family get togethers. my brother-in-law built a pit out of concrete block. i used to go to the "open pit bbq" in florida when i was growing up.

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                    x
                                                                                                    xdcx RE: alkapal Dec 1, 2011 06:57 PM

                                                                                                    southern prides are electronically controlled and use wood chips vs an offset smoker fed by logs and dependent on the skill of the person manning it. The product that comes out of them is vastly inferior to bbq that comes out of an actual smoker that is fed by logs because the smoke that comes from chips is less prominent. It's similar to the difference of a pizza coming out of a gas or electric oven and a coal or wood fired one. The cooking methods are the same, but the end product will be a lot different. I've yet to be impressed by a bbq place that doesn't have a woodpile, so I'd be surprised if PB turned out much better than any of the other local I'd be shocked.

                                                                                                    1. re: xdcx
                                                                                                      alkapal RE: xdcx Dec 2, 2011 03:15 AM

                                                                                                      thanks for your reply. so the main effect is that the "smoke" is not as prominent?

                                                                                                      i read on the southern pride site that they themselves differentiate between their own gas-powered vs. electric smokers, saying that the electric one won't give even a smoke ring on the meat.

                                                                                                      i don't know why it is so hard to find the read deal around d.c..

                                                                                                      where do you like to go for the real thing? i'm in arlington, virginia.

                                                                                                      ps. also if you know, what is the best home smoker? i have friends who love their big green egg, and i've seen a masterbuilt brand electric one on qvc. or do i just need to build a pit in the back yard?

                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                        m
                                                                                                        MikeR RE: alkapal Dec 2, 2011 03:49 AM

                                                                                                        It's hard to find the real deal anywhere in a metro area because pollution standards won't let them burn an open fire. People have mentioned a couple of places south on or off Indian Head Highway where they can burn logs, but as I recall, the discussion was more about "real hardware" rather than particularly spectacular BBQ.

                                                                                                        A commercial restaurant is subject to health inspections as well as environmental laws. They must turn out a continuous quality product 10 or 12 hours a day every day without having a staff of trained pitmasters, and they won't stay in business very long, other than as a cult shop, if they have to say "Sorry, no more ribs today, would you like some brisket?"

                                                                                                        it makes sense to work with commercial grade tools and use a commercial process if you're going to be operating a business for the masses. If Uncle Dub wants to tow his smoker to your back yard at 4 AM and prepare dinner for you and your 30 guests, that's fine. But if they want the same thing next week, they're out of luck.

                                                                                                        I wonder if some celebrity BBQ cook somewhere has opened a restaurant on the principle of the chef's tables that we have here, where for $90 you get what he's cooking that day. Maybe that's the way to get the real thing in the big city.

                                                                                                        1. re: MikeR
                                                                                                          alkapal RE: MikeR Dec 2, 2011 04:25 AM

                                                                                                          but if the parameters of inspections/pollution controls are in place, that won't be any better for Q options.

                                                                                                          maybe we need a Q EXPRESS to take us quickly out to the closest place in the countryside that allows real live logs .

                                                                                                          or i'm going to have to build that pit.

                                                                                                          ~~~~~~~
                                                                                                          ps, i wonder if polyface farms has any pig fests? i saw where the new cathal armstrong venture (virtue feed & grain) will have pig roasts in the alley next to the restaurant.

                                                                                                          1. re: MikeR
                                                                                                            x
                                                                                                            xdcx RE: MikeR Dec 2, 2011 04:50 AM

                                                                                                            there are plenty of places that operate with real pits, just not around here. Pretty much all of lockhart texas. Franklins in Austin, most of the prominent places in KC. It can be done, I haven't been but I think Buz and Neds in Richmond uses a real pit. People here do what they can get away with, and DC isn't a bbq town and the techniques that people use are reflected by that.

                                                                                                          2. re: alkapal
                                                                                                            x
                                                                                                            xdcx RE: alkapal Dec 2, 2011 04:45 AM

                                                                                                            I haven't found anywhere here that I like better than the stuff I make.

                                                                                                            I've got a pit from gator pits out of Houston that I love and highly recommend to anyone that wants a pit that will last a lifetime and make some great bbq.

                                                                                                            1. re: xdcx
                                                                                                              alkapal RE: xdcx Dec 2, 2011 05:04 AM

                                                                                                              HOLY SMOKE!

                                                                                                              http://www.gatorpit.net/

                                                                                                              i'm liking that "party gator" model. nice. looks like my nephew's smoker.
                                                                                                              https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gator-...

                                                                                                            2. re: alkapal
                                                                                                              yummyummeatemup RE: alkapal Feb 29, 2012 06:24 PM

                                                                                                              I have a couple smokers from Horizon, which I love. The larger one has a food chamber that's a 20" diameter steel tube, 36" long, with a separate firebox on the side.

                                                                                                               
                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                yummyummeatemup RE: alkapal Feb 29, 2012 06:30 PM

                                                                                                                Alkapal, I forgot to add that I wouldn't mess with an electric smoker unless you're just doing cold smoking of fish. That's the one thing I use my "Little Chief" for. I brine the fish fillets for a couple hours (I'm a bluefish freak), douse with pepper and lay them out to dry for a few hours, then smoke them overnight with alder and hickory chips. Then I either eat as is with a horseradish cream sauce, or make a finnan haddie sort of dish.

                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                1. re: yummyummeatemup
                                                                                                                  alkapal RE: yummyummeatemup Mar 1, 2012 05:30 AM

                                                                                                                  thanks…that's good to know, mr. yummy. i could've wasted some serious $ on an electric smoker.

                                                                                                      2. alkapal RE: Exploremore Dec 8, 2011 05:42 AM

                                                                                                        is this place worth the hassle of adams-morgan? http://smokeandbarreldc.com/sites/smo...

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                          m
                                                                                                          mdpilam RE: alkapal Dec 8, 2011 09:33 AM

                                                                                                          I went a short while after it opened, and had the brisket, ribs and chicken. The brisket was good, but very small portions - and it was almost shredded instead of sliced. The ribs were real good (for DC Q), so we ordered another half slab, and these were meh (a bit tough and chewy). I didn't eat the chicken, but my mom said it was good. I thought it was pretty good at first, but after the second slab and the bill (I thought it was overpriced), I am back to giving up on BBQ in DC (Hill Country used to do a good brisket, but now it's just a slice of fat with salt).

                                                                                                          1. re: mdpilam
                                                                                                            m
                                                                                                            menmom1 RE: mdpilam Dec 8, 2011 07:06 PM

                                                                                                            See what I posted about Bad to the Bone Smokehouse BBQ restaurant that recently opened in Gainesville, VA. Best around and similar to Sonny's BBQ in FL and SE States and Hickory House in Atlanta, GA (where we are from).

                                                                                                            Homemade southern style greens, cornbread, soups/stews, pies, etc.

                                                                                                            Menmom1

                                                                                                        2. Dennis S RE: Exploremore Mar 1, 2012 05:05 AM

                                                                                                          Through the various BBQ threads I don't recall DD BBQ along rt 7 in Loudon being mentioned. A coworker went there a couple of weeks ago (return trip for him) and he swears by it (and I respect his tastes). I did find a few things online, mainly at yelp, and apparently they do the real deal with smoke. Any Hound reports on this place?

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Dennis S
                                                                                                            alkapal RE: Dennis S Mar 1, 2012 05:31 AM

                                                                                                            it is just called "DD BBQ"?

                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                              Dennis S RE: alkapal Mar 1, 2012 06:31 AM

                                                                                                              I'm not 100% sure. Below is the yelp page. My coworker says they are now open pretty much every day (I remember reading that when they started out it was only weekends). I want to go, and will try to, but didn't know if anyone else on this board had tried it.

                                                                                                              http://www.yelp.com/biz/dd-barbeque-s...

                                                                                                              1. re: Dennis S
                                                                                                                alkapal RE: Dennis S Mar 1, 2012 01:40 PM

                                                                                                                i would travel for some good Q. thank you, dennis.

                                                                                                          2. l
                                                                                                            laststandchili RE: Exploremore Mar 1, 2012 08:18 AM

                                                                                                            I finally got around to trying Mission BBQ in Glen Burnie a couple weekends ago and was pretty impressed. They're trying to do a range of interpretations of regional bbq styles and function pretty much along purists lines.

                                                                                                            I started with the pulled pork sandwich NC style. The expediter took the time to explain the the meat was simply dry rubbed and smoked, sauces could be applied based on individual preference. As far as I am concerned this is the only correct answer. The pork itself was very tender, and the only flaws I could detect was a lack of outer bark mixed into the meat that really would have sang. There are a variety of sauces on each table including a big honkin bottle of house made Carolina style vinegar sauce. The slaw served atop the sandwich was crisp and tart, where I would have prefered creamy and sweetish, but not bad.

                                                                                                            My wife had a salad with turkey. The salad could have come from just about any fast food establishment, but I don't deduct points for that at a BBQ joint. The turkey that it came with was first rate breast meat. Tender, flavorful, and with a perfect hint of smoke.

                                                                                                            We also had their cornbread which was ok, but nothing special, and their mac n cheese which I thought was very good. Creamy, straight up American cheese flavor with pasta that wasn't overcooked and mushy.

                                                                                                            I'm looking forward to going back to sample their brisket, and jalapeno cheddar sausage.

                                                                                                            Their ordering system mimics Chipotle, which I'm fine with. They don't offer a ton of options, just all the basics and a pretty simple method of putting together the right combination for each diner. The establishment seems to be dedicated to charitable work with veterans groups, and the overall decor looks like a TGIFs that was decorated by the local VFW post. Lots of military photos, unit insignias, etc. On a final note the mens room is decorated with wall to wall pin ups of mostly 70s and 80s era starlets. It's always nice to see Farah.

                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: laststandchili
                                                                                                              agarnett100 RE: laststandchili Mar 1, 2012 12:53 PM

                                                                                                              FYI- Standard reopens today at 5pm - I can smell the brisket already

                                                                                                              1. re: agarnett100
                                                                                                                RobertM RE: agarnett100 Mar 5, 2012 12:13 PM

                                                                                                                Where pray tell is "Standard" located?

                                                                                                                1. re: RobertM
                                                                                                                  woodleyparkhound RE: RobertM Mar 5, 2012 12:33 PM

                                                                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/782895

                                                                                                                  1. re: RobertM
                                                                                                                    agarnett100 RE: RobertM Mar 5, 2012 12:52 PM

                                                                                                                    1801 14th street nw
                                                                                                                    on the corner of 14th and s streets
                                                                                                                    washington, dc 20009

                                                                                                                    Good beer and great food get there early if you plan to eat some of the items sell out quickly.
                                                                                                                    http://www.standarddc.com/menu.html

                                                                                                              2. alkapal RE: Exploremore Mar 14, 2012 12:51 PM

                                                                                                                on a whim -- and craving some decent bbq not having any in houston, texas, where i had just come from -- we went to red hot and blue….it was a shadow of its old (OLD) self. mr. alka liked it, but i was very sad -- dry stringy pulled pork, and oversauced potato salad and slaw.

                                                                                                                14 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                  m
                                                                                                                  MikeR RE: alkapal Mar 15, 2012 04:00 AM

                                                                                                                  I go to the Red Hot and Blue Express in Falls Church a couple of times a month for the Tuesday $5 special pulled pork sandwich. I ask them to serve it as a platter, no roll, no sauce on top. They give me a little container of slaw (OK, but small enough not to complain about) and a scoop or potato salad, which I like, or beans, which I also like.

                                                                                                                  I mix a bit of their hottest sauce with their medium sauce and that's a good moistener for the pork, which is I've not found to be dry, but it needs a little sauce to make it taste like barbecue.

                                                                                                                  I don't care for the ribs, though. They always have a nice smoky flavor, but are usually just a little overdone and too dry for my taste. For places like that, I prefer Famous Dave's St. Louis ribs, but I haven't tried the one in Falls Church (Steve didn't care for it), but usually go with friends from Vienna to the one in Oakton.

                                                                                                                  1. re: MikeR
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                                                                                                                    skipper RE: MikeR Mar 15, 2012 07:06 AM

                                                                                                                    In general, when discussing chains, you have to distinguish the particular branch at which you ate (which you have done, but which others have not). I think that as far as Red Hot and Blue is concerned that the Laurel restaurant is recognized as the best. Moreover, I would suggest that the Urban BBQ on Rt 108 is far superior to the original in Rockville and especially the one on New Hampshire Avenue. I haven't been impressed with any of the Famous Dave's at which I've eaten, but the one in Germantown seems better than the others.

                                                                                                                    1. re: skipper
                                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                                      Steve RE: skipper Mar 19, 2012 12:52 PM

                                                                                                                      Huge thumbs down for Famous Dave's. I went to the new Falls Church branch, but I am unlikely to try others. I had the ribs that you can sauce at the table. Fast food ribs.

                                                                                                                      Red Hot and Blue (Arlington and FC) I've never been partial to, but now is no good. I'll save the money for the Brookwood Farms bbq at Harris Teeter.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Steve
                                                                                                                        monkeyrotica RE: Steve Mar 19, 2012 04:02 PM

                                                                                                                        I tried Famous Dave's recently. As far as fast food ribs go, I prefer them to Rocklands (wildly inconsistent) or Red Hot & Blue (inedible). The ribs had a smoke ring, the pork was moist, didn't try the brisket. Apart from the too-long-in-the-steam-tray corn, the sides were pleasant to inoffensive. Not great 'que by a long shot, but it's nearby and better than the mom & pop shops that boil their ribs. It gets the job done when I don't feel like firing up the Weber and smoking my own ribs for 5 hours.

                                                                                                                        1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                          monavano RE: monkeyrotica Mar 20, 2012 07:15 AM

                                                                                                                          Exactly how I feel. We have a FD nearby and we might grab a "to go" dinner there 2-3 times a year and it's not bad really. Hey, I'm not proud! ;-)

                                                                                                                          1. re: monavano
                                                                                                                            agarnett100 RE: monavano Mar 20, 2012 07:30 AM

                                                                                                                            FD will never be world class BBQ but it not bad for a chain restaurant I used to go at least once a week with my vendors in Annapolis. I have been to the Red Hot and Blue in Laurel several times and have always had a good meal not sure about the other locations

                                                                                                                            1. re: agarnett100
                                                                                                                              monavano RE: agarnett100 Mar 20, 2012 07:59 AM

                                                                                                                              I haven't been to a RH&B in well over a decade. There's a location not even 10 minutes down the road from me... I think I'll give it a whirl for take out.
                                                                                                                              When DH and I get in the mood for Q, we generally head down to Dixie Bones, which we both love. Now, I'm a Yankee and don't know nuthin' 'bout birthin' no bbq, but I know that it's tasty, tender and I love the atmosphere and hospitality.

                                                                                                                              1. re: monavano
                                                                                                                                alkapal RE: monavano Mar 20, 2012 10:45 AM

                                                                                                                                ramona, i told mr. alka that i might have to visit dixie bones soon. i had some a year or so ago, and it was pretty good. i really liked it in 2007 on my way to florida, and used that white sauce on the pulled pork. that was really good. their sides are good, too, except that they cut their collards too coarsely, and their cornbread is really dry.

                                                                                                                                ps, i still miss your BLOG, girl!

                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                  monavano RE: alkapal Mar 20, 2012 12:34 PM

                                                                                                                                  Thanks alkapal! I really do toy around with restarting the blog thing, and I appreciate your encouragement.
                                                                                                                                  I think the collards could be chopped a bit smaller, too. But, they are always done perfectly, both in terms of texture and spice. And don't even get me started on the mac n' cheese! Love it.
                                                                                                                                  I love that there are 4 sauces on the table, plenty of napkins, Thursday lemon chess pie (heart) and they offer to refill your drink... to go! And, I get the 2 meat platter with half ribs and pulled pork and save the pulled pork and the free roll for lunch the next day.
                                                                                                                                  Do go!

                                                                                                                        2. re: Steve
                                                                                                                          alkapal RE: Steve Mar 20, 2012 06:47 AM

                                                                                                                          and don't even go NEAR the georgia chopped pork -- it has gross fat pieces in it. the manager brought me some "lean" (Ie, picked over to get out the fat globs) and i asked if that's how one needs to ask for it. LOL.

                                                                                                                          one server who brought mr. alka's bass ale was a zombie, uttering not one word at our table after he slogged to the table in a half-empty restaurant…. put down the beer and turned and sauntered away. amazing.

                                                                                                                          famous dave is from the fair southern state of minnesota, by the way.

                                                                                                                          ~~~~~~
                                                                                                                          after that trip, mr. alka said that he was glad i was over my bbq kick. (and i know brookwood farms is better! LOL). brookwood farms -- reliably lean and tasty. $5.99 for a good pound...buy some martin's potato rolls and you're good to go! ;-).

                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                            m
                                                                                                                            mdpilam RE: alkapal Mar 20, 2012 04:10 PM

                                                                                                                            Heh, growing up in the burbs of MN, FD was all I had for BBQ.

                                                                                                                            1. re: mdpilam
                                                                                                                              f
                                                                                                                              flavrmeistr RE: mdpilam Mar 22, 2012 02:03 AM

                                                                                                                              I thought it was Wisconsin. Anyhow...gross.

                                                                                                                              1. re: flavrmeistr
                                                                                                                                alkapal RE: flavrmeistr Mar 22, 2012 06:11 AM

                                                                                                                                flavr, maybe you're right. i just know it was deep south. ;-).

                                                                                                                                i was also told that he was native american (by the manager) , so i asked which tribe. um, well he didn't know that. he said, uh maybe it was cherokee, and i said it would definitely NOT be cherokee. LOL. i guess cherokee was the only tribal name the manager knew… maybe he needs to follow up with a little research: http://www.native-languages.org/wisco...

                                                                                                                      2. re: MikeR
                                                                                                                        v
                                                                                                                        VaPaula RE: MikeR Mar 15, 2012 10:55 AM

                                                                                                                        I love hating chains as much as the next person, but I love Dave's naked ribs. My husband and I are at that Oakton Dave's at least once a month, and we both always order those. Really good flavor, and cooked well (although I am far from a BBQ expert). And yes, I even like the steamed broccoli and grilled pineapple as sides (just a nice change from coleslaw, fries, etc. etc.).

                                                                                                                    2. woodleyparkhound RE: Exploremore Mar 15, 2012 12:32 PM

                                                                                                                      I see Obama stopped at Texas Ribs and BBQ in Clinton today.

                                                                                                                      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/m...

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: woodleyparkhound
                                                                                                                        Insidious Rex RE: woodleyparkhound Mar 19, 2012 10:55 AM

                                                                                                                        And the Dubliner a few days later for some pints of Guinness.

                                                                                                                        http://dc.eater.com/archives/2012/03/...

                                                                                                                      2. kukubura RE: Exploremore Mar 20, 2012 03:33 PM

                                                                                                                        Mmmm if it stays warm like this I might need to start heading to Jake's... Also, definitely need to get back up to Chubby's...

                                                                                                                        1. t
                                                                                                                          tubman RE: Exploremore Mar 21, 2012 08:30 AM

                                                                                                                          If you're a food truck fan, definitely recommend Carnivore BBQ (I can only speak for the brisket, haven't tried the pork). Follow their two trucks on Twitter for their ever-changing locations around the downtown area on weekdays. http://carnbbq.com http://twitter.com/#!/carnbbq Coupon usually available on LivingSocial instant deals.

                                                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: tubman
                                                                                                                            woodleyparkhound RE: tubman Mar 21, 2012 10:16 AM

                                                                                                                            Thanks for the tip, tubman! I just saw your post and then checked Twitter and turns out they are one block away from me as we speak! I just finished lunch from there. Good (I wouldn't say great) brisket and beans which could have tasted smokier - a HUGE portion for $9 - plenty enough for two people to share. It's served room temperature and the bun is rather hard and dry. But still - a very pleasant change from the usual lunch fare that one is subjected to. Their hot sauce packs some heat, which I like, and I liked the slaw that comes with it.

                                                                                                                            I'd like to try the pulled pork next time.

                                                                                                                            1. re: woodleyparkhound
                                                                                                                              m
                                                                                                                              mdpilam RE: woodleyparkhound Mar 21, 2012 02:27 PM

                                                                                                                              I'm assuming this is a lunch only truck? How does it compare to The Standard's brisket?

                                                                                                                              1. re: mdpilam
                                                                                                                                woodleyparkhound RE: mdpilam Mar 21, 2012 02:38 PM

                                                                                                                                I assume it is, but I don't know that.

                                                                                                                                The Standard's brisket is better and also is served in a far more reasonable portion size, making it possible to enjoy their onion rings as well. Five hours after eating at Carnivore, I'm sitting here stuffed and sick, due to my reluctance to throw all but the bun away. No dinner for me tonight for sure! It'll be a while till I'm in the mood for Carnivore again; sharing there is the way to go.

                                                                                                                                1. re: woodleyparkhound
                                                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                                                  Scott0 RE: woodleyparkhound Mar 23, 2012 02:21 PM

                                                                                                                                  It's sad, but I've never had anything even close to good barbeque in the entire delmarva area. I've lived in Texas, North and South Carolina and spent time in Memphis and Kansas. Even though the regional styles differ nothing compares to those states for barbeque. I keep wondering if it's a Mid-Atlantic region "thing" that they just dont get it. I can cook good barbeque, REAL barbeque. both Texas style and Carolina style and have toyed with the notion of opening a place in Md. But the people here seem to want something for nothing. Trucking in good peach and apple woods from the south and pecan and oak from the midwest is expensive. If you use REAL hardwood charcoal not the kingsford crap made from coal, costs money. And if you truly use GOOD spices and cook slow it's expensive . Unless you can move VOLUME.
                                                                                                                                  IF I built a place across the street from lets say a typical baltimore pit beef joint. And because of the added expense of wood, charcoal and rent in the north east . Would anyone come for an 9 dollar plate of REAL barbeque? I say plate because real barbeque is usually served that way. Sandwiches are fine but for when your in a hurry.
                                                                                                                                  Or would I go broke because Marylanders would rather have a tastless mouthfull of "pit beef" than real Barbeque for 2 bucks less. The fact that I even POSE this question bothers me. No quality....just quantity of meat. no flavor or care or love. just quantity of cheap crappy flavorless meat on a stale roll.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Scott0
                                                                                                                                    yummyummeatemup RE: Scott0 Mar 24, 2012 07:02 AM

                                                                                                                                    Wow, Scott0, you almost make it sound like Texas, North Carolina, Memphis, and Kansas don't all have a bazillion crappy restaurants that cater to cheap, fast food. It's no different here. Unfortunately, that's the preponderance of American eaters. They want giant portions of sub-mediocre crap for cheap. That's how America rolls. It's just the sad truth of our culture. There are also LOTS of folks around here who know, love, and prepare their own bbq. I think it's just that BBQ isn't as big in this part of the world as it is in others. That being said, make your way to Andy Nelson's in Cockeysville. Big stack of split hickory out back. Long, slow smoke... Big Bad Wolf isn't bad, either.
                                                                                                                                    I travel to Alabama (Huntsville area) a fair amount, and always eat bbq when I'm there. Much of it is crap, precious little sublime. I don't think that the ratio of crap/yummy is much different around here, it's just that there are far fewer places to choose from, and the ones that get the best reviews tend to be in out of the way places. The only bbq place I know of in Baltimore proper is Rub. I've heard mixed reviews. Huntsville, a much smaller town, has a good dozen or more bbq places; maybe many dozens, for all I know...

                                                                                                                                    Let me know when you open your place; it sounds like you'd be doing it right. If you make real, top-notch bbq, we poor blighted delmarva folks will come, I promise. ;-P

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Scott0
                                                                                                                                      m
                                                                                                                                      MikeR RE: Scott0 Mar 24, 2012 08:20 AM

                                                                                                                                      You may have a point there, though not quite as blunt as "want something for nothing." Generally we don't think of BBQ as being expensive food (anywhere) so when the cost of making the authentic thing with authentic ingredients which have to be shipped in, the cost becomes great enough so that it just doesn't seem like BBQ any more.

                                                                                                                                      Perhaps what we need here, if we don't already have it, is BBQ that's been adapted to local sources, just as they do in Texas and Kansas City or Georgia. I'm not sure what that would be, but it would be different from what you get in one of the places that's famous for BBQ.

                                                                                                                                      I think that people would go for a $9 BBQ platter, but serving food to the public involves more than digging a pit and cutting some wood. I think you'd go broke at that price, not from buying the ingredients, but from all the stuff you gotta do to satisfy the local health department.

                                                                                                                                      But you could invite us over for a taste of the real thing. ;)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Scott0
                                                                                                                                        t
                                                                                                                                        The Big Crunch RE: Scott0 Oct 1, 2012 11:08 AM

                                                                                                                                        Good grief... First off, I grew up in Greenville, NC within about ten minutes of three of the best BBQ joints in the eastern half of the State (B's, Bum's, and Skylight Inn) and have eaten at well over a dozen good, amazing, and not-so-good BBQ joints in NC and SC. That said, pit beef is pretty dang tasty. Is it BBQ in the real sense of the word? Of course not. But come on, when done right, it's a pretty damn tasty sandwich.

                                                                                                                                        $9 a plate? That's actually about the going rate in the DC region, so, yeah...folks would actually pay for that. FWIW, a rib plate usually starts around $12 and goes up from there.

                                                                                                                                        Also, in terms of woods, NC BBQ is almost always cooked using hickory. Not sure where you got the idea that peach wood is extensively used anywhere in the South to cook BBQ. I'm sure some place may have decided to go that way, but peach is not commonly used, nor, quite frankly, is apple wood, though a lot of home cook's (including me) frequently use it. Furthermore, a lot of reputable places in NC have been cooking with briquettes for quite a while now. I know Allen and Sons (amazing BBQ) and Skylight Inn still use wood exclusively, but Bum's, Parkers, and B's all use a mix of wood and briquettes, so before you go lecturing about "real BBQ" and the sins of using Kingsford, you may want to actually talk to some of the folks who run some of the NC BBQ joints that are routinely cited as being among the most respected in the State and inform them that they're not doing it right since they don't use "real" charcoal. Actually, while you're at it, make sure you lecture all the competition smokers who also use briquettes.

                                                                                                                                        Also, in terms of "good" spices and their expense...I'm at a bit of a loss. Again, speaking totally from the perspective of someone who's knowledge is mostly about NC, I can tell you that the ingredients for a basic NC rub aren't all that expensive, nor does the rub truly make a world of difference.

                                                                                                                                        I'm not sure how closely you looked into the idea of a BBQ joint, but the real hassle, from folks I've talked to, has to do with zoning ordinances and the complications of basically operating a large outdoor smoker, which is how they do it at, among others, Allen and Sons, B's, Wilbur's, and Skylight Inn. In a rural area, this is not as big a deal, since your BBQ joint may be surrounded by empty land. It's another story in an urban environment.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Big Crunch
                                                                                                                                          Insidious Rex RE: The Big Crunch Oct 3, 2012 11:08 AM

                                                                                                                                          Preach it. Nothing wrong with a charcoal/wood application although it depends what kind of coal you use. Hard wood charcoal is always much better but costs a bit more and burns differently. Just this summer I was fortunate enough to do a NC BBQ tour starting at Blackbeards in Tarboro and working south to the Greenville/Ayden legends of B's and Bums and Skylight Inn before moving west to Grady's outside Goldsboro and further west to Allen & Sons then to BBQ Center in Lexington and finishing at Hill's in Winston-Salem. It was a long but delicious day! Now, when I came back to the DC area I in no way expected to find anything of the caliber of any of those places and that didnt really bother me. I also did a brisket tour a couple years ago down the infamous BBQ corridor between Austin and San Antonio and knew going into it that I would be enjoying the best brisket in the world. So enjoy it while yer there has always been my mentality. And dont bitch about the fact that you cant find the best stuff in the world wherever you go...

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                                                                                                                                            Scott0 RE: The Big Crunch Jan 13, 2014 04:47 PM

                                                                                                                                            Having lived in NewBern for almost six years. I know the area. Lil' Washington, Greenville and Ayden all traveled , plus every town within a 4 hour radius of Newbern.
                                                                                                                                            I did make a living as the head cook at the "Golden Skillet" for a few months in Havelock. I was fired because I was adding garlic and onions to the 5 gallon "vat" of green beans for lunch that day!
                                                                                                                                            Anyway, I cannot speak for anyone else's taste. But I for one can really taste the COAL in kingsford.or any other coal based briket . I honestly wish that I could use it. It's cheaper and burns more evenly than what I use. But I wont cook what "I" wont eat! if I can taste it others can.
                                                                                                                                            Now..........let's address the "wood" issue. In North Carolina AND South Carolina particularly. Apple is what I was taught to use for pork. And while learning this not from backyard cooks, "though I value their input immensely" but from Pit masters. Some, "whom like in Greenville" only cooked whole hog. Only cooked once a week, in a pit dug out in front of a single wide. Whom only used charcoal that they made. And "smoke wood" that was split apple. And were always sold out by noon ! That's where I learned "Down East Carolina" Barbeque. I didn't learn from one. I learned from many. Peach and hickory are preferred in Georgia and Tennessee depending on area. Cherry is for brisket but some use oak/hickory "Blah"!! but that's MY taste.
                                                                                                                                            \ All of this is subjective. I don't know all there is to know. Otherwise I'd be " Sir Barbeque" and all would bow at thy brisket and pig! thy poultry with figs !
                                                                                                                                            Hee hee hee . And then we would still argue.
                                                                                                                                            About Barbeque!

                                                                                                                                2. Insidious Rex RE: Exploremore Jun 19, 2012 11:18 AM

                                                                                                                                  Didnt realize there were this many local barbecue places to be honest: http://www.northernvirginiamag.com/bbq/

                                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Insidious Rex
                                                                                                                                    Dennis S RE: Insidious Rex Jun 19, 2012 02:31 PM

                                                                                                                                    And most of those places are horrid. And Glory Days is a bbq place? The creation of that list is deeply flawed somehow.

                                                                                                                                    I don't know about Carolina Bros, but for burnt ends, Williards is excellent.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Dennis S
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                                                                                                                                      xdcx RE: Dennis S Jun 20, 2012 01:06 PM

                                                                                                                                      Willards aren't really burnt ends though, it's pulled beef. They should just call it what it is, but it doesn't sound as good. Wish they really would do burnt ends for when I want to eat someone else's bbq.

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                                                                                                                                        Scott0 RE: xdcx Jun 20, 2012 01:18 PM

                                                                                                                                        In the region, "do it yourself" BBQ, is far superior to anything you can purchase. Unless something new has opened???

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                                                                                                                                          Steve RE: Scott0 Jun 20, 2012 02:56 PM

                                                                                                                                          A very short list of the finest bbq in the area is: the chopped pork sandwich at Rocklands (usually very good), the brisket sandwich at Wagshal's (very serious), the fatty brisket at Hill Country, and the absolutely 100% terrific quarter dark spicy chicken at Just Jerk (completely serious). Just Jerk, in Lanham, is one of the very top Chowhound spots in the area, worth a special trip.

                                                                                                                                          For ribs, the tops are at Rays the Steaks at East River. Despite the fact they are baby backs.

                                                                                                                                          Special shout out to the pit beef at Pioneer Pit Beef in Baltimore and also the smoked then fried chicken at Rays East River.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Steve
                                                                                                                                            RobertM RE: Steve Jun 23, 2012 10:09 AM

                                                                                                                                            Tell em again!

                                                                                                                                          2. re: Scott0
                                                                                                                                            Dennis S RE: Scott0 Jun 21, 2012 05:23 AM

                                                                                                                                            Chopped pork at Double D, Sterling.

                                                                                                                                    2. alkapal RE: Exploremore Jun 21, 2012 07:30 AM

                                                                                                                                      this northern virginia magazine's "bbq brawl" brackets contest gave some names i'd never heard….. http://www.northernvirginiamag.com/bbq/

                                                                                                                                      50 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                        Dennis S RE: alkapal Jun 22, 2012 09:59 AM

                                                                                                                                        And which aren't BBQ places (imo). Rex posted the list immediately up-thread:

                                                                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8061...

                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                          yummyummeatemup RE: alkapal Sep 30, 2012 04:14 PM

                                                                                                                                          EEK! If Red Hot 'n' Blue is a finalist, either the judges don't know BBQ, or this area needs more help than I realized.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: yummyummeatemup
                                                                                                                                            alkapal RE: yummyummeatemup Oct 1, 2012 12:39 AM

                                                                                                                                            this area need so much help it is sad. i cannot figure out WHY we can't get good BBQ here. is it because of high real estate prices or smoker permitting? something else? i honestly can't figure it out.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                              monkeyrotica RE: alkapal Oct 1, 2012 04:32 AM

                                                                                                                                              DD BBQ in Sterling is solid; a handful of southern MD places are decent, but tend to be hit-or-miss. Definitely not much worth eating inside the Beltway. My problem is that most places skew Kansas City sweet and tend to oversauce to compensate for either poor smoking or overcooked meat.

                                                                                                                                              Here's an excellent short documentary on Scott's Bar-B-Q in Hemingway, SC that shows just what you have to go through to get proper whole pig pit bbq. The crowning achievement is the deepfried crackling.

                                                                                                                                              http://vimeo.com/12588376

                                                                                                                                              1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                                kukubura RE: monkeyrotica Oct 1, 2012 06:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                That video is awesome.

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                                                                                                                                                  wlesedd RE: monkeyrotica Jan 5, 2014 08:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Great documentary! I definitely want to go to this place on my east N.C./S.C. BBQ tour. Thanks.

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                                                                                                                                                    Scott0 RE: monkeyrotica Jan 13, 2014 05:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                    All I can say after watching your linked video to "Scott's Barbeque" S.C. is ............Yup, even though I'm not a Pecan guy for pork, He's doing it right! Yup!

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                                                                                                                                                    drewpbalzac RE: alkapal Oct 1, 2012 06:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                    I will proffer my opinion as to why DC can't get i's BBQ act together.

                                                                                                                                                    My theory is a multi-leveled problem that we face here in DC.

                                                                                                                                                    First – the transient nature of the town seems to compel BBQ joint to try to provide the entire range of meats and sides. Instead of just one regional specialty (along with chicken for the cowards) BBQ restaurants tend to prepare and serve the national range of meats, sides and sauces: Ribs, baby backs, brisket, pulled or chopped, chicken, baked beans, greens, coleslaw, sweet sauce, vinegar based, and molasses based, ect.

                                                                                                                                                    In my opinion this keeps these joints from doing any one thing really well.

                                                                                                                                                    Second – because we are not a BBQ town. There are not enough true pit masters to sustain the scene. We have plenty of BBQ aficionados who know what good Q is supposed to look like and taste like, but nobody with generations of experience in their souls to tend a pit or a smoker with the kind of love that you get in the great BBQ towns elsewhere.

                                                                                                                                                    We have decent cooks who seem to start their restaurants on a whim but then don’t seem to have the capacity to sustain the effort. I think a boutique pork-u-topia place that was willing to bring in or train a sustainable crew of Q masters could do well here but it would have to be in the city with ready access to the yuppie scum for it to move enough volume to afford the real estate.

                                                                                                                                                    The suburban joints will just continue to come and go pushing their mediocrity.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: drewpbalzac
                                                                                                                                                      monkeyrotica RE: drewpbalzac Oct 1, 2012 06:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                      How much of that bad BBQ is a self-fulfilling prophecy, driven by a customer base that either doesn't know good bbq or doesn't care? So many reviewers wax rhapsodic over the "fall off the bone tender" quality of what they think is great bbq. For me, that's just overcooked slop, usually drenched in some sickly sweet sauce. The popularity of mediocre, mass produced chain bbq leads me to believe that there's no shortage of people willing to pay for something that's a pale imitation of authentic bbq. I don't want to blame the victim here, but you can only sell what people are willing to buy.

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                                                                                                                                                        drewpbalzac RE: monkeyrotica Oct 1, 2012 07:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                        I think good BBQ in DC is a fools errand. I want a top notch porchetta shop . . .

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: alkapal
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                                                                                                                                                      Steve RE: alkapal Oct 1, 2012 08:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                      As i recently posted elsewhere, Rocklands in Arlington is operating at a very high level right now, and has been for the past four months at least. Not the very top, but honestly you would have to go to great lengths to find a better chopped pork sandwich.

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                                                                                                                                                        drewpbalzac RE: Steve Oct 1, 2012 08:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                        I went two weeks ago and the ribs were awful. I tried to pick up a ribs and the bone pulled out leaving the wet sloppy meat behind. . . . gross.

                                                                                                                                                        I love their corn pudding though; sometime I just stop in for a couple of containers of that to eat through the week with stuff I make at home.

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                                                                                                                                                          Steve RE: drewpbalzac Oct 1, 2012 08:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Two things:

                                                                                                                                                          That is not the chopped pork I recommended.

                                                                                                                                                          In all the years I've been going to Rocklands, through good years and bad, their ribs have been very chewy, and I have never had the meat pull away from the bone, so your experience is a rare occurence in my book. Some years it's been tough as nails, so they have gone through some rough spots, but never tender. I had some ribs a couple of weeks ago, and they were very good (not excellent), but better than 90 percent of what's out there, and that goes well beyond the beltway.

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                                                                                                                                                            The Big Crunch RE: Steve Oct 1, 2012 10:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                            I have to concur about Rocklands...with the caveats Steve mentioned. The chopped pork is actually quite good, and yes, I know that good smoked chopped pork is something of an elementary skill in terms of a truly great BBQ joint, but as has been repeatedly mentioned, in DC you need to lower expectations. Still, even with those lowered expectations, the Arlington location of Rocklands really does do an excellent job with that chopped pork.

                                                                                                                                                            I think in terms of ribs, you need to clarify what kind of rib your talking about when discussing texture. Baby backs, IMO, SHOULD be fall-off-the-bone tender. St. Louis style cuts should be tender, but should also have more "bite" to them. The ribs I ate at Rocklands a month or so back were baby backs, and I thought they were actually a bit on the chewy side for baby backs. I asked for the sauce to be left off, so I had no issues whatsoever with "wet sloppy Meat". Actually, my biggest complaint was that they had little depth of flavor. Sure, they were tasty, but not enough smoky meat flavor to really "wow" me.

                                                                                                                                                            They also do very good collards, which are another thing that are messed up so frequently in the DC region as to just leave me exasperated.

                                                                                                                                                            I had some ribs from Hardy's on saturday. Hardy's is a food-truck that sets up outside the women's co-op in Bethesda on saturday and sunday. They have a large grill/smoker rig, so you can smell it before you get there. Ribs were nicely chewy St. Louis cuts, and the pulled pork there is quite good.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Big Crunch
                                                                                                                                                              woodleyparkhound RE: The Big Crunch Oct 1, 2012 10:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                              I'm with you on Hardy's - love the place!

                                                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/692947

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                                                                                                                                                                Steve RE: The Big Crunch Oct 1, 2012 12:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for the support. I also must mention a spectacular bbq joint that completely falls off the radar. Just Jerk in Lanham, Md. is the Real Thing. Of couse, for those like me who don't consider chicken to be bbq, it doesn't quite meet all the requirements. Still, I can't argue with the results which are terrific even when compared to Boston Bay. Get the quarter dark spicy. Worth a trip around the beltway.

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                                                                                                                                                                  The Big Crunch RE: Steve Oct 2, 2012 11:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  Meh... It was tasty but I won't make the trek again. I actually was more impressed with the rice and beans. I can beat the bejebus out of Just jerk's chicken with a whole chicken, my weber grill and some wood chunks, and a modified version of the jerk recipe from The BBQ Bible.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Steve RE: The Big Crunch Oct 2, 2012 11:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    Great, when are we all invited?

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Steve
                                                                                                                                                            alkapal RE: Steve Oct 1, 2012 03:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                            i went about 9 months ago and was totally underwhelmed by rocklands. plus, the service was dismissive. pffft. had the service been nicer, i might consider giving it another try.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal
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                                                                                                                                                              Steve RE: alkapal Oct 1, 2012 08:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Don't think for a minute I am not amused when somebody complains about the service at a self-service restaurant ;-)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Steve
                                                                                                                                                                alkapal RE: Steve Oct 1, 2012 11:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                                i sat at the bar, steve.

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                                                                                                                                                                  The Big Crunch RE: alkapal Oct 2, 2012 11:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  Huh... When did you go? I've only been on Sunday afternoons and the guy who works that shift (always the same guy) is quite attentive and friendly.

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                                                                                                                                                              drewpbalzac RE: Steve Oct 3, 2012 05:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                              After the bad ribs two weeks ago and reading that Rocklands' chopped pork sandwich is why the restaurant is operating at a high level - I grabbed a couple of friends and headed over this evening.

                                                                                                                                                              Putting aside that I don't believe that a restaurant can be considered to be operating at a high level if only on of their menu items is what can be recomended, our meals were not good . . . even the chopped pork sandwich were mediocre to outright bad.

                                                                                                                                                              We sampled three pork dishes, my go to three: baby back ribs, spare ribs, and the chopped pork sandwich.

                                                                                                                                                              Maybe they had on off night, but the sandwich was not at all good. The meat had a decent smoke malance but was mushy. . . .really mushy . . . overcooked pasta mushy. Even the little bits of bark provided no texture contrast. It was also under seasoned, screaming for some salt and peppper. Frankly - I also don't get the "chopped" approach for pork sandwich. it produces something between "mince" and "pulled". Kind of a weak compromise in my opinion.

                                                                                                                                                              Maybe it is just the fog of age but compared to the pulled pork sandwiches down at Pierces' in Williamsburg, VA - the sandwich I ate tonight doesn't remotely rate.

                                                                                                                                                              The ribs . . . . sigh . . . .the ribs.

                                                                                                                                                              The baby backs were an pale grey color, they appeared to have spent zero time in the smoker. No smoke flavor - no pork flavor. The only positive over the ribs I had two weeks ago was that at least the meat didn't fall off the bone when I picked up a rib.

                                                                                                                                                              The spare ribs were the exact opposite. Too much time in the smoker, too charred, too smoke flavor overpowered everything.

                                                                                                                                                              We also tried the eggrolls. Of the dishes with meat these were the best - although I think the meat is too mushy and they need an acid to cut the richness of the pork wrapped in a deep fried shell instead of that over the counter sweet chili sace that they came with.

                                                                                                                                                              As has always been my experience at Rocklands the sides dominate the meal; corn pudding, red beans and rice, and collards were all great.

                                                                                                                                                              Perhaps the chopped pork and the baby backs had simply sitting around too long . . . I am going to go back for lunch next week. Perhaps a different time of the day will result in a better product.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: drewpbalzac
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                                                                                                                                                                Steve RE: drewpbalzac Oct 3, 2012 08:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                "I also don't get the "chopped" approach for pork sandwich."

                                                                                                                                                                Chopped pork is pulled first, then chopped. makes it easier to eat.

                                                                                                                                                                I guess if you like Pierce's then you like a different kind of bbq than I do.

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                                                                                                                                                                  drewpbalzac RE: Steve Oct 4, 2012 05:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  I haven't had Pierces in 30 years . . so I don't know if I would like it now or not.

                                                                                                                                                                  However I know what I don't like and it was the mushy meat that they served me at Rocklands yesterday.

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                                                                                                                                                                    The Big Crunch RE: drewpbalzac Oct 4, 2012 10:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    Eh...each to their own. I still don't understand why fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs are bad. I think that shows we have vastly different tastes right there. If I want chewy ribs, I get St. Louis cuts, if I get baby backs, I expect fall-off-the-bone tenderness. That said, as I mentioned earlier, I agree that the baby-backs I've had at Rocklands were lacking in flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                    Chopped pork works better in sandwiches. Folks from my hometown would say minced works even better. Long pieces of pulled pork, on a bun, tend not to work as well because a bite can result in a big piece just pulling out. It's an issue of structural integrity to a sandwich. I've eaten at least a half dozen of their sandwiches over the summer and never thought of them as bad. Never thought of them as mushy...certainly not over-cooked pasta mushy. Was it tender? Sure. I like that. I don't want to be chewing on the pork in BBQ sandwich like it was some piece of overcooked calamari. Again, different tastes I guess. My guess is that you're one of those folks who like cracklin's in their pork. Nothin' wrong with that, a lot of folks feel it's a sign of truly good BBQ. I'm on the other side of that divide. The legendary Skylight Inn (Ayden, NC) includes cracklin's and it's one of the reasons I am always less than thrilled with their 'que when I go there. I see cracklin's as ruining a tender pork sandwich with bits of chewy meat and some bits that are hard enough to seem like semi-soft plastic. But, like I said, the texture of BBQ on a bun can be a very subjective thing.

                                                                                                                                                                    As an aside, isn't just a sign of how wonderful BBQ is that folks can become so obsessive. My GF would roll her eyes at my digression on pulled pork texture, but I see nothing wrong with deep thinking on such an important subject :)

                                                                                                                                                                    I haven't tried the egg rolls, but it seems like an attempt to copy the infamous "soul rolls" at Urban. I don't like the soul rolls - just too rich and salty - so I doubt I'd like the version at Rocklands. Honestly, I'm pretty picky about fried food. Usually it just tastes...well...fried.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Big Crunch
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                                                                                                                                                                      Steve RE: The Big Crunch Oct 4, 2012 08:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      The Rocklands egg rolls are very different than the Soul Rolls which are dominated by melted cheese. Melted cheese and bbq!?!?!? Not for me. The egg rolls at Rocklands have that beautiful rich porky taste with that subtle wood-smoke bite. They are beautifully fried. Good stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                      I have never gone much for bbq baby back ribs, but the ones at Rays at East River changed my mind. Not just the best ribs in the Washington area, but you'd have to go pretty far to find better. Small sample size on my part, though, and that was before they took a hiatus to retool.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Steve
                                                                                                                                                                        monkeyrotica RE: Steve Oct 5, 2012 03:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        I don't know about melted cheese, but a lot of Texas BBQ joints serve theirs with a slice of cheddar cheese. This goes back to when places like Kreuz's and Mueller's were markets that served 'cue as a side business to get rid of leftover meat. Texas had lots of price supports to the beef industry, so cheese was heavily subsidized and relatively cheap. Eventually, the grocery business faded and they focused solely on bbq, but the side dishes (cheese, pickles, etc) remained.

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                                                                                                                                                                          Steve RE: monkeyrotica Oct 5, 2012 04:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for the history lesson. I did not know that. I am guessing that they don't melt the cheese on the bbq, though. The soul rolls are one of those high-caloric fantasy foods that I don't particularly care for.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Steve
                                                                                                                                                                            monkeyrotica RE: Steve Oct 5, 2012 05:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            I used to feel the same way. That is, until I tried cheesesteak eggrolls.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Steve RE: monkeyrotica Oct 5, 2012 07:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              That does sound like a good idea. I was thinking what a shame it is to go to all the trouble of carefully preparing pork bbq and then drowning it with melted cheese.

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                                                                                                                                                                                lalajane RE: monkeyrotica Nov 14, 2012 07:11 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                I had some of these at Davio's in Philadelphia a few years back. Liked them pretty well, although I think I liked the "buffalo wings" eggrolls better..

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                                                                                                                                                                              The Big Crunch RE: monkeyrotica Oct 5, 2012 05:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              Interesting. That would explain the jalapeno cheese sausages. I had one of those at Hill Country, despite my better inclinations, and thought it was disgusting. Cheese in a sausage? No thank you. That said, I am guessing it's one of those things where, if you were raised with it as a part of your BBQ life, you'd love it.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Big Crunch
                                                                                                                                                                                monkeyrotica RE: The Big Crunch Oct 5, 2012 06:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                Exactly. Like some people who think if it isn't falling off the bone and dripping with sickly sweet sauce, it isn't "real BBQ." That's what's fun about regional barbecue; everybody thinks THEIRS is the "real deal" and those people over THERE don't know what the heck they're doing. Sorta like how what I watch is "erotica" but what EVERYBODY ELSE watches godawful pornography.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  The Big Crunch RE: monkeyrotica Oct 5, 2012 06:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  I recall bringing back some of my eastern NC vingar-sauced BBQ from a trip back home and serving it so some friends from Texas. To say they were disgusted is an understatement!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Big Crunch
                                                                                                                                                                                    monkeyrotica RE: The Big Crunch Oct 5, 2012 06:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Try explaining white barbecue sauce to anyone outside of Alabama.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      The Big Crunch RE: monkeyrotica Oct 5, 2012 07:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      True. I used to live in Atlanta and visited Birmingham and Auburn a few times, and of course, sampled local 'cue. I actually never had a problem with white sauce, and think it's especially good on aggressively seasoned BBQ chicken. That said, I also love mayo, so I'm an easy mark for white sauce. On more than one occasion, I have been accused of making BLTs so heavy with mayo that the whole thing was judged as just being a vehicle for getting mayo into my mouth, with the B, L, and T being incidental :)

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                                                                                                                                                                                        flavrmeistr RE: The Big Crunch Oct 5, 2012 12:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        No disrespect, but--eeeww!

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                                                                                                                                                                                          GraydonCarter RE: flavrmeistr Oct 5, 2012 01:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          Most of the old-time pork barbeque places in Raleigh (e.g., Smithfield's) serve exactly what could be described as "mushy" meat. I'm not saying that's a good thing, but I could make an argument that it is authentic.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: GraydonCarter
                                                                                                                                                                                            alkapal RE: GraydonCarter Oct 6, 2012 05:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            well, i will offer a heads up to you all who like bbq from north carolina (siler city, to be exact) -- brookwood farms.

                                                                                                                                                                                            get it at harris teeter -- in a pound tub -- next to the other bbq tubs. they have the original (eastern carolina style vinegar sauce) and a newer one ( i think they call it tangy -- with tomato in it). i like them both.

                                                                                                                                                                                            get yourself some cole slaw and some nice soft hamburger buns and chow down at home....until you can get to the real deal in situ.

                                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.brookwoodfarms.com

                                                                                                                                                                                            and, it is on sale this week (through tuesday) -- $4.50 (regularly $5.99). i am going to keep some in the freezer.

                                                                                                                                                                                            here is a previous thread specifically on this product, from 2008: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/564496 note that the TUBS are with the other bbq tubs, but there IS A SMALLER PORTION available in a clear plastic topped tray, in the ready to eat section, where they have cole slaw and the like).

                                                                                                                                                                                            ---
                                                                                                                                                                                            edit: just saw i mentioned this way upthread, but...hey, a reminder never hurts. ;-).

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: GraydonCarter
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                                                                                                                                                                                              flavrmeistr RE: GraydonCarter Oct 7, 2012 01:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              I repeat--eeewww! "Mushy" is not the proper texture for barbecue. Any barbecue. I ain't buyin' it.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: flavrmeistr
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                                                                                                                                                                                                The Big Crunch RE: flavrmeistr Nov 3, 2012 09:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                Minced, moist meat is going to be "mushy". If you don't like it, you don't like it, but for a LOT of us who grew up on slow cooked, smoky pork that is pulled, minced, and put on a roll, that is indeed a very proper way to enjoy barbecue. Horses for course, etc...

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Big Crunch
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                                                                                                                                                                                                  flavrmeistr RE: The Big Crunch Nov 5, 2012 07:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tender, perhaps. "Mushy"....? Mushy means steamed or parboiled meat. I'm not saying it isn't "good". I'm saying it isn't pit barbecue. Sorry.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: monkeyrotica
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                                                                                                                                                                                          cb1 RE: monkeyrotica Oct 6, 2012 10:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          There is a good recipe on Chow for white BBQ sauce. In my house it gets mixed reviews, but I like it....Like Crunch said, on well seasoned BBQ chicken

                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.chow.com/recipes/28492-whi...

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cb1
                                                                                                                                                                                            alkapal RE: cb1 Oct 6, 2012 03:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            dixie bones has the white sauce among its options…i guess for the smoked chicken, but i also thought it was darned tasty on their pulled pork.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: The Big Crunch
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                                                                                                                                                                                drewpbalzac RE: The Big Crunch Oct 5, 2012 01:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                when I pick up a rib there is supposed to be meat attached. How tender or how toothy is a matter of personal preference. But the meat is supposed to stay on the bone long enough to get the rib to your mouth. What I got at rocklands a couple of weeks ago was a pile of slimy meet that the bones pulled out of when you tried to pick up a rib.

                                                                                                                                                                                as far as tender vs mushy . . . I don't know what to tell you nicely browned bark is not cracklins but there should be a textural contrast between the meat and the bark. and the meat should break into threads when pressure is applied , and should not turn into the consitency of soft pollenta or mushy noodles.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: drewpbalzac
                                                                                                                                                                            agarnett100 RE: drewpbalzac Oct 4, 2012 03:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            Inside scooop- Rocklands fell off years ago when most of the kitchen staff left due to poor treatment by the ownership

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                                                                                                                                                                          caj915 RE: alkapal Jun 3, 2013 05:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          Have you opened up this area's best BBQ joint yet? You made it sound so easy...

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                                                                                                                                                                            flavrmeistr RE: caj915 Jun 3, 2013 06:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, but it's by invitation only.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: flavrmeistr
                                                                                                                                                                              KWagle RE: flavrmeistr Jun 4, 2013 07:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              Oh, you have one of those too?

                                                                                                                                                                              https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...

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                                                                                                                                                                      MikeR RE: Exploremore Oct 3, 2012 03:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      Anyone tried Epic Smokehouse (Pentagon City) yet? Review in today's Washington Post looks like there might be some potential there.

                                                                                                                                                                      http://epicsmokehouse.com (a slow loader here)

                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
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                                                                                                                                                                        mdpilam RE: MikeR Oct 3, 2012 07:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Heh, just tried it out tonight since I was at Costco and I saw it across the street. I actually got their kahlua pig rolls since it was one of their few happy hr apps that were available, and they were disappointing (though I didn't expect much, because I recalled Tom saying skip them). I ordered the beef brisket (which came with mac n cheese w/ pancetta) for dinner. The brisket was ok, but did not taste like it came out of a smoker at all. Did it? I didn't notice or smell any smoke (upon exiting). It was pretty "moist" and not necessarily in the "mmmm... this meat is juicy and full of flavor", but more "this seems like it came out of a dutch oven or slow cooker". No smoke ring evident at all. Wasn't bad at all, but would put it below Hill Country's brisket (which I put below The Standard's). The mac n cheese was good though. Cheesy, creamy and with a bit of crust and porky bits.

                                                                                                                                                                        I liked the feel of the place, and this place - pretty new to the scene - was already full on a Wed. night, so I doubt they'll be hurting for business. I felt for a "smokehouse" - not to mention, an Epic one, they were pretty light on the BBQ fare and trying to do more than what a smokehouse should. A big complaint that I have is that their beer options SUCK. Only 3 crappy ones on tap (+ a cider, WTF?!) - Guinness, Blue Moon and Yuengling, and a few crappy bottles. Beer and BBQ go together like meat and smoke (maybe I just answered my own question...). Very good and friendly service though.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mdpilam
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                                                                                                                                                                          MikeR RE: mdpilam Oct 4, 2012 04:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          I'd give them a little time, but thanks for the early report. Given the location (and air pollution regulations) I wouldn't expect much of a wood smoke smell unless they piped some hickory smoke perfume through the air conditioning.

                                                                                                                                                                          I'll probably give it a try when I feel up to a $10 lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MikeR
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                                                                                                                                                                            mdpilam RE: MikeR Oct 4, 2012 10:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            FYI, their happy hour includes an $8 burger, regular price I believe was $10 or $11. Ever other non-app meat option was $15++.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: mdpilam
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                                                                                                                                                                            Tallcooldrink RE: mdpilam Oct 4, 2012 12:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            I live almost across the street from Epic Smokehouse. I can confirm that this is a smokehouse with no smell of smoke in the neighbourhood. I too tried the kahlua pig rolls and found them way to rich... rich fatty meat coupled with smoked cheese in a heavy crust... nothing acidic to balance the flavours and 3 of these babies leaves a film of grease on the palate.

                                                                                                                                                                            I was there the first week it opened. It seemed that every item I asked for, I was greeted with either, "we don't have that tonight" OR "that's no longer on the menu". WHAT? You're only open a week and don't have half the stuff I want. I settled for a bowl of chili, while okay, it was not "epic". My partner had the prime rib and also agreed that it was not "epic" nor did it justify the price.

                                                                                                                                                                            The only thing this place has going for it like mdpilam states, is atmosphere and decor. They are going to have to try a lot harder if they want me to go back.

                                                                                                                                                                            BTW, the Urbanspoon app on my iPhone says that out of 49 people (as of last evening), only 60% liked it. Very very low percentage according to Urbanspoon percentages.

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                                                                                                                                                                          mkfoodiee RE: Exploremore Oct 4, 2012 05:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          If u looking for real BBQ...stop at WILLARDS BBQ in Chantially, VA. They have awesome pulled pork sandwiches and their Pecan pie is to die for...Another good place although not too fancy is Carolina Brothers in Ashburn. They have amazing sandwiches & mac n cheese is too good...

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                                                                                                                                                                            The Big Crunch RE: mkfoodiee Oct 4, 2012 10:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            I need to try Willards. Have heard multiple good reports.

                                                                                                                                                                            About Carolina Brothers... YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                            If only they were closer to DC :(

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Big Crunch
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                                                                                                                                                                              Steve RE: The Big Crunch Oct 5, 2012 04:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              I don't think you will be amused by Willard's. Only one experience for me, but I suggest hitting it only when it's convenient.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Big Crunch
                                                                                                                                                                                Dennis S RE: The Big Crunch Oct 5, 2012 07:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                The burnt ends at Wilards is good. Like Steve said, nothing to go too far out of the way, but the ends are good.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. ktmoomau RE: Exploremore Oct 4, 2012 01:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              To add to the list of conversation- there is a new place in Richmond called Alamo BBQ that I recently went to, thought that was pretty good.

                                                                                                                                                                              I haven't been in a while, but The BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville had good Eastern Carolina style.

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                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ktmoomau
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                                                                                                                                                                                nikki72 RE: ktmoomau Nov 5, 2012 08:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                The Q company is open in Leesburg now!!! it Rocks!! it is on Catoctin circle in a stand alone building. Pricey but it's the best I have ever had.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nikki72
                                                                                                                                                                                  alkapal RE: nikki72 Nov 8, 2012 04:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  here's the q company's site -- http://theqcompany.com
                                                                                                                                                                                  i'm heading to the outlet mall this week, and will be sure and swing by for a mess o' q!

                                                                                                                                                                                  thank you nikki.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Dennis S RE: Exploremore Nov 13, 2012 12:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                Just tying threads together. Not sure if anyone knows more about "Cattle Company" in Culpeper. OP wasn't fully sure of the name. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8756...

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