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Are you making a specialty food? Get great advice


bxgirl Apr 29, 2013 11:08 AM

We are two couples from New York City, who will be spending this weekend in Washington, DC.
We are thinking of Barbecue for one night's dinner.
Can you recommend a good place for Barbecue that includes beef as well as pork dishes??
Thanks in advance

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  1. m
    MikeR Apr 29, 2013 02:09 PM

    In DC itself? What part? Or will you have a car and are willing to go to the suburbs?

    This isn't really a BBQ town though there are a few passable places. In DC itself, there's Hill Country Barbecue (you might find some hits there in one of the outrageously long BBQ threads). But then you have a Hill Country in NYC, which is probably at least as good or better.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MikeR
      monkeyrotica Apr 30, 2013 05:19 AM

      Second this. DC isn't a BBQ town. About the best you'll do in that neck of the woods is Hill Country. At least it isn't slathered in some sickly sweet sauce.

    2. m
      maypo Apr 30, 2013 04:24 AM

      Suggest taking a ride up I-270 to the Black Hog BBQ in Urbana. Really, this is extremely good stuff....

      1. b
        bxgirl Apr 30, 2013 04:46 AM

        Thanks to both of you.
        We will not have a car, but are quite used to walking (NYC, ya know!!).
        We are staying near the Convention Center, if that helps.

        1. r
          reiflame Apr 30, 2013 05:15 AM

          I would take Metro to Bethesda and check out Smoke BBQ. I was lukewarm on them when they first opened but the quality has improved dramatically.

          1. s
            shake N baik Apr 30, 2013 06:42 AM

            You can walk over to Standard or the American Ice Company. They might not serve what some consider "serious" bbq but they have good food and offer a lively vibe.

            1. s
              Steve Apr 30, 2013 06:51 AM

              Your most serious limitation is asking for both beef and pork. There is some very good bbq in the area, but no place will do both in a manner that is remotely acceptable. Your next limitation is no car. There are two very good options that you can get to 'somewhat' easily via public transport, but this also means metro plus bus or walking. One option, Hill Country, is right near a metro stop.

              Rocklands- very good for chopped pork, sliced pork loin, grilled lamb, grilled catfish, and pork egg rolls. There is the tiny original location in DC (not sure of the menu) and a spacious location in Arlington, VA. This is the top local place, and its been around for many years.

              Hill Country - Very good for fatty brisket only.

              Wagshal's - this is a Jewish deli with a miniscule counter inside and a few tables outside. It is almost all carry-out, but I eat there. Smoked brisket sandwich only. It is not smoked onsite but it is very serious. The owner is a nut about bbq. Many other terrific sandwiches and prepared foods that have nothing to do with bbq, including the #25 roast beef sandwich, a personal favorite.

              Some other decent options in the deep burbs, but not worth it without a car, and they won't do more than one thing ok.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Steve
                pgm123 Apr 30, 2013 07:19 PM

                I'm a fan of Rocklands (Virginia). It offers some pretty good value and it has both pork and beef. I'm not sure what's in the potato salad, but I swear it's magical.

              2. b
                bxgirl Apr 30, 2013 07:13 AM

                Thank you all!! This is great.
                I guess we wil give-up the idea of barbecue since there is nothing that really seems to stand out, and we can get good BBQ right here at home in New York City.
                I really appreciate all the helpful, informative, responses.

                1. Bob W Apr 30, 2013 11:11 AM

                  bxgirl: As I just saw that you deduced, the short answer is don't waste a meal in DC on barbecue! Probably nothing around here is noticeably better than Blue Smoke or Virgil's.

                  One interesting note: If you find yourself in the Shirlington section of Arlington, you can get a very respectable Eastern North Carolina barbecue sandwich at the Weenie Beenie, which is also known for chili dogs.

                  21 Replies
                  1. re: Bob W
                    caj915 May 30, 2013 04:29 PM

                    Does the Weenie Beenie have a wood smoker on site? I don't think so....

                    1. re: caj915
                      Steve May 30, 2013 05:55 PM

                      I did a side-by-side taste test a while back. The Carolina chopped pork from Harris Teeter (purchased refrigerated, but actually smoked in North Carolina) easily beat out the Weenie Beenie which had no discernible smoke flavor.

                      I've had damn good barbeque that wasn't smoked onsite, but that wasn't it.....

                      1. re: Steve
                        Bob W May 31, 2013 09:33 AM

                        The Harris Teeter stuff is pretty good, but certainly not anything visitors should waste their time going to Harris Teeter for.

                        Personally, I haven't been to the Weenie Beenie in years, and would not go out of my way for it, but if I was in Shirlington and hungry, I'd pick that over most of the mediocre restaurants on the main drag.

                        I go to Harris Teeter at least once a week and rarely buy theirs either.

                        Bottom line: For Eastern NC barbecue, go to Eastern NC.

                        1. re: Bob W
                          caj915 Jun 1, 2013 06:29 AM

                          You haven't been to Weenie Beenie in years, yet, everytime the subject comes up here, you recommend it? I could name several BBQ joints in NOVA, with real wood burning smokers, that serve a decent pulled pork sandwich...Rocklands, Willard's, Dixie Bones, The Standard, Old Glory, Carolina Brothers, Pork Barrel...but Weenie Beenie? Please...

                          1. re: caj915
                            monkeyrotica Jun 1, 2013 09:15 AM

                            If I go to Weenie Beenie, I'll get  the halfsmoke or the burger or the steak & cheese maybe. The barbecue sandwich is just some chopped meat on a bun. It's akin to Johnnie Mac's Rib Shack on Route 1: it's a cute little place where the signature dish is pretty mediocre, but some of the other stuff on the menu is pretty good. 

                            1. re: monkeyrotica
                              Bob W Jun 1, 2013 11:49 AM

                              Monkey, Eastern NC BBQ is very finely chopped pork, served either on a plate pr a cheap white bun. The consistency often turns off people who are used to different styles of barbecue. Obviously it's not for everyone, but apply some Texas Pete or other hot sauce.

                            2. re: caj915
                              Bob W Jun 1, 2013 11:46 AM

                              And if you knew anything about Eastern NC barbecue, you'd know that it's never called pulled pork. So those places apparently don't even serve what I (but clearly not you) am talking about. Willard's tries, but their pork is much weaker than their beef. The whole point is that WB actually does serve an approximation of Eastern NC barbecue.

                              1. re: Bob W
                                caj915 Jun 1, 2013 01:30 PM

                                Wilbur's in Goldsboro, B's in Greenville, Skylight, Parker's...trust me, I know the difference between pulled pork and Eastern Carolina barbecue...and, you're right, that big white plastic bucket they scoop the finely chopped, smoke-free pork out of at the WB may very well have originated in some pork factory in eastern North Carolina. Doesn't make it Chow-worthy, IMHO.

                                1. re: caj915
                                  Bob W Jun 1, 2013 02:19 PM

                                  Fair enough. If I lived near Shirlington, I'd go to the WB once in a while, just for the taste. I don't see why Willards can't do a better job on their pork. Their beef is quite decent.

                                  At least you're not one of those guys who scoffs at Parker's because they cook with gas now. Or did you not know that? 8<D

                                  1. re: Bob W
                                    KWagle Jun 1, 2013 03:05 PM

                                    How many years has it been since you've been to the WB?

                                    I think it's reasonable to suggest you go to the WB at least once a year if you're going to continue to recommend it.

                                    1. re: KWagle
                                      caj915 Jun 1, 2013 03:26 PM

                                      And not to pile on too much, but if you're going to repeatedly put down the pulled pork at other places, like Willard's, how recent were those experiences?

                                      1. re: caj915
                                        Bob W Jun 1, 2013 04:03 PM

                                        Do you like everything at every restaurant you like? The pork at Willard is mediocre at best. I have no reason to order it. If people want to waste a meal at Willard's on the pork based on your say-so, I encourage them to do so.

                                        1. re: Bob W
                                          caj915 Jun 1, 2013 06:36 PM

                                          You're certainly entitled to your opinion about the pulled pork at Willard's, although you never did say when you last tried it. I happen to think it's quite tasty, and the long lines at lunch would suggest that many agree with me. As far as Parker's goes, I like the fried chicken and hush puppies, and the young, polite waiters that wear the old-school white paper hats.

                                          1. re: caj915
                                            Bob W Jun 1, 2013 08:24 PM

                                            Well, many on Yelp agree with you too, and I'm sure you know what people on here think about Yelp. 8>D

                                            I am happy to wait in line at Willard's too, but for brisket and burnt ends, not pork. It's a perfectly acceptable suburban DC barbecue joint, but I am partial to their beef offerings. I like their cobblers a lot, but rarely have room to enjoy them.

                                            The fried chicken at Parker's is outstanding. Unfortunately, their sweet tea is some of the worst imaginable. Basically just sugar water with almost no discernable tea flavor.

                                            1. re: Bob W
                                              xdcx Jun 2, 2013 06:11 AM

                                              Willards doesn't do burnt ends. they do pulled beef that they mislabel. I'm partial to Texas BBQ and find their beef lacking. Best in the area but still not actually all that good.

                                              1. re: xdcx
                                                caj915 Jun 2, 2013 06:53 AM

                                                Well, if my choices are; 1) to spend $400 for a round trip ticket to Austin (plus 20 bucks for brisket and sausage at Franklin BBQ), or 2) go without BBQ, or 3) go to Willard's once in awhile and spend $7.99 for a big sandwich and two sides, maybe not world-class quality, but still really tasty and satisfying, I'll happily support my local BBQ spot.

                                                1. re: xdcx
                                                  Steve Jun 2, 2013 07:14 AM

                                                  I don't like Willard's for anything. I went once, a few years back.

                                                  If I lived near there I'm sure I'd give it another try, but no way is it worth a drive to investigate further. I don't trust the system they use considering the results I got. Dry and bland pork. Burnt ends were like sawdust.

                                        2. re: KWagle
                                          Bob W Jun 1, 2013 04:07 PM

                                          I plan to hit the WB this week, just for you.

                                        3. re: Bob W
                                          caj915 Jun 1, 2013 03:06 PM

                                          Actually, I'm one of those guys who would never scoff at anything that tasted good and satisfied my hunger, but I don't think anything cooked without a hint of wood or smoke should ever be called barbecue or barbeque or Bar-B-Q or BBQ. It's slow-roasted meat.

                                2. re: Steve
                                  KWagle May 31, 2013 08:47 PM

                                  Costco's smoked pulled pork is quite good, though nothing beats smoking it yourself.

                                3. re: caj915
                                  Bob W May 31, 2013 09:29 AM

                                  Well, if you know a place in Shirlington that serves Eastern NC barbecue and does have a smoker, by all means let us know!

                              2. g
                                GianniB Apr 30, 2013 11:35 AM

                                Keep going South to N. Carolina...

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: GianniB
                                  caj915 Jun 2, 2013 12:08 PM

                                  Having lived in more than one part of the country, none of which were any of the traditional BBQ capitals, and having followed the local Chowhound/Yelp/Urban Spoon review sites in the areas where I resided, I've seen a common thread where people often compare their local bbq joints with one or more of the "Holy Grail" bbq joints in Texas or NC or Memphis, etc., and the local joints usually pale in comparison. And, in most cases, that's probably a fair picture of reality. And why most would, understandably, hesitate to steer out-of-town visitors to a local BBQ joint. But, does that mean a local BBQ joint, cooking with wood, making sauces and sides from scratch, can't be enjoyed and appreciated on some other level? Maybe just as a reliable, go-to place that provides a tasty, filling meal, for not a lot of dollars? If it doesn't measure up to the mythical, mystical joints (that most people have never been to anyway) of the BBQ Belt, must we totally dismiss it and tell everyone that it's no good? I don't see most other styles of cuisine constantly being judged by how they compare to best version of that cuisine found in the entire world. I guess what I'm trying to say is, stop comparing BBQ places against each other, which is mostly a very subjective thing, and try to evaluate a BBQ joint on its own merits- did you enjoy the food? Was the service prompt or friendly or whatever? Was the place clean and sanitary? Was it a good value? Does the restaurant succeed at what they are trying to do, not at what YOU wish they were trying to do? Just some thoughts...

                                  1. re: caj915
                                    Steve Jun 2, 2013 04:31 PM

                                    OP is long gone, but I have some favorite items in the area:

                                    Moist brisket at Hill Country
                                    Brisket sandwich at Wagshal's
                                    Chopped pork sandwich at Rockland's.
                                    chopped pork sandwich at DD Food truck, Sterling.

                                    That's it. SInce Ray's East of the River closed, no ribs I care to eat.

                                    1. re: Steve
                                      caj915 Jun 2, 2013 04:37 PM

                                      Had the ribs at Pit Stop BBQ, at Rts. 50/15 circle in Aldie yesterday. Pretty damn tasty, with half sweet/hot sauce squirted all over them. Lots off smoke, a tad overdone, but it was the end of the day...

                                      1. re: caj915
                                        Bob W Jun 2, 2013 05:17 PM

                                        We agree on something -- the Pit Stop is very good.

                                2. agarnett100 Jun 2, 2013 12:12 PM

                                  @bxgirl - I would try the Standard on 14th St thats the best your going to find in this town

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