Photo Credit: Elizabeth Parker
There are a lot of fiery debates in the barbecue world. Pork versus beef. Wet versus dry. Sweet tomato-based sauces versus tangy vinegar-based ones. No matter where your tastes lie, there’s one issue that everyone can agree on: summer is officially barbecue season. To save you the hassle of stocking up on supplies and firing up the smoker (not to mention the hour you’ll spend scrubbing the grill clean), we’ve composed this handy list of the best BBQ joints in the area. Feel free to argue ‘cue preferences while you chow down, but please keep your piehole shut while you’re eating.
Whether you get the pork, beef, or chicken barbecued sandwich here, all the meats are hickory smoked before being tossed with housemade Carolina-style sauce. Round out your platter with your choice of two sides: mac ‘n’ cheese, baked beans, coleslaw, or potato salad. You can also pick up a bottle of sauce to take home, so you can sass up your ribs the next time you decide to don your King of the Grill apron.
Pitmasters at this Lone Star state outpost in Penn Quarter are happy to remind diners that everything’s bigger in Texas. They’ll wrap up as much meat as you can handle – we’re partial to the brisket moist and the beer can game hen – before you head over to pick up some outsized sides like beer-braised pinto beans and gooey mac ‘n’ cheese. If you’ve still got room at the end of your BBQ binge, head back to the chow line pick up some sweet potato bread pudding.
You don’t expect to enjoy some of the best barbecue of your life in a Safeway parking lot (514 Rhode Island Ave. NE), but, then again, you also don’t expect a school bus to be a kitchen. This weekends-only operation is worth the drive, though you may want to pack a couple of lawn chairs so you don’t get sauce all over your car. No matter where you eat, we recommend the juicy pork ribs and the hearty Grandma-style potato salad.
With locations in DC, Rockville, Arlington, and Alexandria, this local ‘cue chainlet makes it easy for you to get your grub on. Baby back ribs and barbecued beef brisket sandwiches are excellent entrees, which go down well with sides like the refreshing minted cucumber salad and sweet ‘n’ creamy Texas corn pudding. If you like to crank up the heat, there’s a huge selection of hot sauces on hand.
No reservations, no pretense, and no BS. That’s the way this seasonal beer garden and barbecue joint does it. Get here early if you want to grab a spot at one of the open air picnic tables or be prepared to spend a long time despondently Tweeting (Still in line @standdarddc after two hours. I’m so hungry that I think I just felt my stomach eat itself. L). When you do score a seat, you can’t go wrong with the pulled pork sandwich and a side of the buttermilk onion rings. Then you can send a stream of triumphant Tweets to make everyone still waiting feel jealous.
It’s hard to go wrong at this Capital region micro-chain with the 3 Meat Combo Plate, which can include barbecued chicken, sausage, pulled chicken barbecue, sliced beef brisket barbecue, or pulled pork. Load up your plate with sides like mashed potatoes and gravy, collard greens, and corn on the cob. And definitely save room for the decadent desserts, which include tangy Key Lime pie, graham cracker crusted peanut butter pie topped with freshly whipped cream, and a root beer float brimming with islands of vanilla bean ice cream.