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Aug 23, 2014 05:30 PM

DCity Smokehouse BBQ

Opened by the former pitmaster of Hill Country. It's a small storefront with roughly 8 seats at a small counter. The prices aren't bad, $25 Showstopper consisted of 1/2 lb of meat of your choice, pork ribs, 6 smoked wings, and 2 sides. We got the brisket, collards, hush puppies and a sausage (at extra cost).

Unfortunately they don't have moist brisket and their brisket is about the same as Hill Country. The pork ribs are really good though, but the wings were on the dry side. The collards managed to be sweet and spicy (I don't like sweet collards). The sausage was fine.

The lacking of seating for dining in means I won't be back. Rather pay more for Hill Country (for the moist brisket and beef ribs) and not smell like a smoke pit after dining.

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  1. 100% disagree with you. Their brisket is miles ahead of Hill Country's - there's a proper bark, a solid smoke ring, and though they don't differentiate moist from regular, it's ALL what I would call moist. Like any good brisket, it's going to degrade quickly once it's sliced, so eating there will definitely get a better product than driving 20 minutes with it in a container.

    IMO, DCity can compete with the best from Texas.

    1 Reply
    1. re: DanielK

      Need more sample sizes. I'm sure you had great brisket and I'm equally sure I didn't have anything as good as the moist brisket at Hill Country.

    2. I went there and definitely recommend it. I'll let more qualified people decide whether it's great bbq, but I can confidently say it is good bbq. I tried the pork ribs, the brisket, the wings, and the cole slaw. I ate there, not sure how well the food would travel. The only eat-in option is a counter with about 6 or 7 plastic barstools right in the same small area where people stand in line -- so go for the food, not the ambience.

      The brisket was very good. Some parts lean, some parts fatty, so blend them to get the mix you want in each mouthful, but the key thing for me is that even the lean was moist and tasty. I would tend to say it's better than Hill Country (where I like to blend moist and lean at about a 70/30 ratio) but I might just be biased in favor of DCity Smokehouse since I was just there. I'm not a sauce person in general, but in this case I thought it was not necessary; I didn't use the sauce after tasting it, I thought it was better without.

      Pork ribs were very good. Dry rub; I didn't want/need any sauce with them.

      Wings were good. Since I don’t want to each that much every time I go there, I’m not sure which of the three I will exclude next time, but it’ll probably the wings. As good as they are, they’re not as special as the other two. I had the garlic sauce which is pretty much like garlic mayo – tasty to have a little but not needed in my opinion.

      Cole slaw is “red chili” cole slaw; a standard mayo cole slaw but with a bit of heat. I’d probably prefer just cole slaw without the red chili heat to accompany the well seasoned ribs, but the cole slaw was fine. Adequate but nothing special.

      The accompanying white bread is toasted (grilled) rather than just a plain slice.

      You should all go – but only a few at a time, it’s tiny inside.

      1. In a lifetime of eating bbq, honestly, you would be hard pressed to find better than this. It is extraordinary and worth traveling out of your way for.

        The pork ribs are great. I look for about seven things I'd like to have in my perfect bbq, but I know in advance I will have to compromise even with the good stuff. Here, there is no compromise. Thick bark, smokiness, tender meat with some pull, complex flavor, fat rendered, a touch of spiciness, and beautiful to look at, it's all here.

        The obvious camparison for the brisket is Hill Country, where the pitmaster learned his craft. Hill Country has only one meat worth getting, the most brisket. The rest is a waste of my time and money. But even there, as wonderful as it is, it is also powerfully salty and you pay a high price for rendered fat that drips onto the butcher paper that you will not get to eat. Here it does not rely so heavily on salt, has a more complex flavor, and gets the ratio right of fat to meat. In short, a kind of ideal.

        Anywhere else, the Eastern Carolina-style chopped pork would be the highlight of the menu, worth a trip. But here it is both first-rate and third-string. Delicious, messy, awkward. And I mean that in a good way. But not the first thing you should order.

        I also had a side of jalapeno cheese grits which were a nice choice that got better the more I ate.

        Eating doesn't get better than this.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Steve

          I loved the pork ribs. Will need to go back and check out the brisket. I did just visit San Antonio - not the best place for TX BBQ - I can say Hill Country's moist brisket is better.

          1. re: Steve

            That's pretty high praise, Steve. I prefer the fat to remain in the rib (if it was even there to begin with) since it captures the smoke flavor much better than the meat does. And I like my brisket to be about half fat for the same reason. In any case I'll be happy to check it out if I ever get to DC again. :-/

            1. re: Steve

              Steve -- this all sounds great. I recently had my first meal at Hill Country -- moist brisket, and you know what, while it is luscious meat, it is indeed very salty.

              As for the chopped pork, just curious what makes you think it's Eastern style? The menu simply calls it chopped pork, and the slaw is "red chile coleslaw," which would be closer to what you'd get in Lexington or Shelby, not towns farther east, like Goldsboro, where the slaw is always yellow. But if they use the whole hog, that would be more eastern. Lexington-style is shoulders only. So this might be a hybrid of meat/slaw.

              1. re: Bob W

                When I was there, the guy referred to his chopped pork as Carolina-style, though in general chopped, smoked pork marinated in a vinegar based sauce is specifically Eastern NC, IIUC. He didn't have any straight-up chopped pork without the sauce.

                I understood this to mean that they never serve it that way, but I could have misunderstood.

                1. re: Steve

                  Thanks -- I'm sure they don't expect most DC people to care about the minutiae of Carolina barbecue varieties. Up here the generic "Carolina" generally suffices.

                  BTW, how was the red slaw? That is definitely a Lexington thing.

                  1. re: Bob W

                    It was a very fine sandwich, but I did not taste the slaw on its own. Again, a distant third for what I tasted since the other itmes were so exceptional.

            2. Went back to DCity today - they're now open on Sundays, and closed on Mondays. I got there before they opened and was the first person to enter the restaurant. They filled up as I waited for my order of brisket, pork ribs and hush puppies.

              The brisket was much better than my first try. So much so that I'm now wondering if Hill Country's moist brisket is as good (I have to go back to Hill Country soon, and I plan on going to Austin, Luling & Lockhart too). The pork ribs were as delicious as before. I'm actually more drawn to the pork ribs than the brisket. My BBQ sampler only had 2 ribs - I should've ordered more to take home.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Worldwide Diner

                I iam going to guess your return to Hill Country will be disappointing after DCity Smokehouse. The brisket at HC is noticeably salty, dripping with fat, and expensive, albeit delicious.

                Have you tried the brisket sandwich at Wagshal's? That should be your next stop - though I haven't been there in a while. I assume the owner is still smoking his own brisket.

                1. re: Steve

                  Brisket should not be dripping with fat! The fat should be *in the brisket* not rendered out. I think I need to take a trip to Owensboro sometime soon.

                1. re: RobertM

                  I found no problem finding street parking around the corner on Bates St., NW