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Pork Barrel BBQ

Who's been?

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  1. I went last night. Since I'm not exactly a barbecue connoisseur, probably the only useful thing I can say is that it wasn't as insanely crowded as I was expecting from what I read online. (I was there around 8pm on a Thursday night.) I had the brisket sandwich, the chipotle mac and cheese, and the cole slaw. I thought everything was delicious. The brisket was very tender and flavorful. The cole slaw was a little oniony for me, but that's just a personal bias against raw onions on my part.

    10 Replies
    1. re: dracisk

      what was the level of smoke in the meat? someone predicted that it wouldn't be great because it is not open pit, and wood chips are used instead of logs.

      i still will try it, though…. maybe today… as we're going to mt. vernon this evening for the candlelight tour.

      1. re: alkapal

        Sorry for the delay! I thought it was pretty smoky, but, again, I'm not really a barbecue connoisseur. Did you check it out?

        1. re: dracisk

          not yet...but i want to go soon. our favorite butcher is right down the street ("let's meat on the avenue" and it might be time for an exotic sausage purchase, too. His spicy sausages are excellent. his website says: ""Sausage selections this week will be, Andouille, a New Orleans favorite, Bratwurst, a German sausage from Bavaria and Gypsy Beef a sausage made from a Romanian recipe all of our sausage are made on the premises and only contain fresh meat, herbs and spices, never breadcrumbs or fillers of any kind.""").

          1. re: alkapal

            That sounds wonderful. I don't get out to Del Ray much, but I've heard about that place. Also: Cheesetique.

            1. re: dracisk

              Yesterday was *the* day to be in Del Ray. Obama picked up a carryout order of pizza from some place over there.

              1. re: Bart Hound

                I heard about that. He's also eaten a block from my place at Komi. ;-)

                1. re: Bart Hound

                  Sounds like the day not to be there. If I recall, he also brought an entourage to Dairy Godmother for some frozen custard one day.

                  1. re: MikeR

                    I'm sure the traffic was bad around his motorcade, but I've got to give him and Michelle major props for eating (and shopping) around town and in the 'burbs. I don't recall one mention of Bush eating out in his 8 years here.

                    1. re: Bart Hound

                      Bush 41 frequented local eateries - Peking Gourmet and Rio Grande come to mind- but Bush 43, not so much.

                      1. re: Mister Big

                        Bush 41 liked DC, 43 didn't. Obama does. And not to make this seem partisan, Gingrich was always a DC fan. It's more a personality thing than a political thing.

        1. pork barrel is in the del ray section of alexandria -- on mt. vernon avenue.

          4 Replies
          1. re: alkapal

            Have we all just given up on the Restaurant Name feature of chowhound?

            Pork Barrel BBQ
            2312 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA 22301

            1. re: GraydonCarter

              yes. i didn't try it this time, but have had problems with it many times. i don't bother….

              1. re: alkapal

                Are the portions, small, medium, or large?

                1. re: drsmoke

                  I didn't think the portions of the meat on the sandwich or either of the sides were particularly large. I was really hungry and generally have a big appetite, though. ;-)

          2. Tried the pork sandwich. Meat was pretty dry. The PB sauce was pretty good, so drenching the meat seemed to help combat the lack of moisture, but only marginally.

            Collard greens were too sweet, although the flavor was punchy and inviting.

            Ordered the Monster Mac and Cheese for the kids, not realizing that Monster is code for Chipotle. No wonder they didn't eat it. I tried it as well and was pretty awful. Doughy mac and gooey Velveeta-like cheese. The zing of the pepper was the only good thing about it, but nonetheless a fail. Guess there's not much that kids can eat there unless they like BBQ.

            Potato salad was average. Potatoes were too firm for me, but the overall flavor was passable.

            Don't think we'll be going back unless things improve drastically. I was hoping for good, local Q, but guess I'll have to keep waiting.

            1 Reply
            1. re: biscuit

              biscuit, you are right on. Pulled pork was dry. The only way i could choke it down was to put on too much sauce. Collards were done sweet and sour, yet too sweet. This might be a good style for those that don't like greens, but then why order them anyway?

              Ah, there's another bad meal I can't get back.

            2. i went in there last night around 7 or so….and it was pretty busy.

              i parked on the street, but i THINK the lot right behind is available for patrons of that address -- at least the address of the office building that "encompasses" (?) the restaurant. heaven forbid their website give you that info -- or the hours (at least it didn't last time i looked; and i even asked about hours on their FB page).

              a hand written pen-on-paper sign taped to the front door said it opened at noon every day.

              there was a small line. and there was a bar with a couple of open seats. i was confused. should i go to the bar and can you order there? no, i recalled you have to order, then go find a seat. all the tables had people, but i was alone and i wasn't in the mood to sit at a bar. i also looked at the food on the trays. it looked like cafeteria food, but served in flat paper checkered "square bowls" (?) that were limp and not very filled.

              the only meat i saw was some really overdone looking -- and dinky -- ribs (they looked like baby backs, but i didn't think this place did baby backs), served on a piece of aluminum foil.

              also, it smelled funny in the restaurant, like wood, but not like wood. it didn't smell like the bbq places i know in the south.

              i just wasn't feeling the place. it seemed haphazard. i didn't feel welcome. my vibe was out of synch with its vibe. LOL. in short, i didn't feel like the hassle, and just turned around and left.

              i know, very unchowish of me, but that's what happened. (to be honest, it wasn't my destination originally, but i thought i'd stop by from an errand trip. i was interested to see several other restaurants there on mount vernon avenue. one place -- tio's -- a tex-mex/salvadoran place was really busy… other places seemed relatively busy, too.). what are your thoughts about the neighborhood places?

              then i went to see "mission impossible: ghost protocol" at potomac yard's cinema, and all was right with the world. it is a darn fine action-packed movie thriller, which i highly recommend.

              1 Reply
              1. re: alkapal

                Agree that the ordering situation is extremely confusing. If they roped up one side opposite the sodas and planted an "order here" sign at the end of the row, that would help.

              2. Well I checked em out today with a few co workers. Most of whom are Q lovers. The ribs were very very good. Saint Louis style half a slab was way too much for me. The sauces both South Carolina style and their homemade were both very good too. The Slaw was killer good for those that got it. We arrived at noon time and there was a steady crowd coming and going getting take out. Some few were eating inside. I will say the brisket is not worth ordering IMHO. Too dry. I don't think they know how that type of meat is cooked right. But those that got the pulled pork raved. I like the lay out and the roll of paper for a plate. Dairy Godmother is down the street so we also loaded up on Frozen Custard. Great area for strolling and eating. We will be going back for more ribs. Very satisfied on this end. [ Silently saying my high blood pressure prayer]

                1. I was there one night recently. I was not impressed but no specific complaints either. The sauces are all just OK and the brisket sandwich was very small. My friend had a rack of ribs that were a very good size. Potato salad and coleslaw just OK. I won't rush back.

                  1. I went To Pork Barrel BBQ last week on my way back from Manassas and liked it, but it's a long way for me so I'm not sure when I'll be back.

                    The pulled pork was good, moist with a moderate degree of smoke, and was pulled into large pieces, versus shredded. The ribs were served with a dry rub and the sauce was added on the side.

                    I think for most people the sauces will be what decides the issue. I liked them all but the sweet molasses version is slightly too sweet for me (I'd call it a modified KC-style sauce).

                    The original sauce and mustard were more to my liking, as the sharp vinegar flavor of the former and the almost fennel-like taste of the latter offset the meat better.

                    The line was only a few people long and moved quickly. I parked across the street but I'm not sure how bad this would be at other times (this was about 5 pm on a Saturday).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: 2stepper

                      Tom Sietsema, slammed it a few Wednesdays ago. If I got a review like that after all the work to open up, I'd jump out a window!