The Ten: Best Barbecue


Photo credit: Elizabeth Parker

So many choices, so little time. The Ten is your guide to the best of the best that D.C. has to offer.

This week, we’re taking a look at the best barbecue in the area. Whether you like sticky sauce or dry rub, there’s something for everyone on this list – even vegetarians.  

Mr. P’s
This bus-turned-barbecue-joint parked in Brentwood turns out comforting fare, like fall-off-the-bone tender beef ribs, pulled pork sandwiches and home-style potato salad.

You can smell the sweet smoke from this long-loved Glover Park cornerstone from down the block. The baby back ribs are always a good bet, and so are sides like sweet ‘n’ savory Texas corn pudding, gooey mac ‘n’ cheese and barbecued beans.  

It may be all the way out in Mount Airy, Md., but this barbecue hotspot is worth the drive. The dry rub on the pulled pork has a cayenne kick, which you can temper with some of their house-made black raspberry barbecue sauce.

Carnivore BBQ
This mobile eatery offers smoked chicken, pulled pork and beef brisket, which you can boost with any of three house-made barbecue sauces or their habanero hot sauce. It’s the perfect pit stop on your lunch hour.

Smoke & Barrel
Vegetarians aren’t treated as second-class citizens at this AdMo BBQ joint. The menu boasts smoked vegan wings, roasted jalapeno grit cakes with chipotle pesto, veggie chili and a barbecue smoked tofu sandwich, plus carnivorous delights like brisket rubbed with green chilies and pulled pork shoulder.

Pork out at this open-air eatery on 14th Street by advance ordering a smoked pig’s head. If that sounds a little too intense, the pulled pork sandwich crowned with a nest of crunchy coleslaw is equally worth your while.

Hill Country Barbecue Market
It’s hard to not order everything when you walk the line at this Penn Quarter restaurant, because it all looks and smells damn good. We recommend the flavorful beer can chicken and the brisket moist.

You’ll have a brine time at this meals on wheels operation. The spicy chicken sandwich comes finished off with a housemade pickled jalapeno, while the pulled pork gets ribbons of pickled onions. Don’t forget to save room for the bacon amped, vinegary potato salad.

Urban Bar-B-Que Company
With five locations spread across Maryland and Virginia, this mini chain is all about the meat: Pork spare ribs, beef brisket, barbecued chicken, pulled pork and smoke sausages. Add on an order of the Redneck Fondue, which piles house-made tortilla chips with three-cheese sauce and chili.

These Purveyors of Rolling Cuisine change up their menu constantly, but you can be sure that they’ll always have blue ribbon barbecue available. Pray that they have their super rich bacon and Gorgonzola mac ‘n’ cheese the day you track them down, too. 


Is your favorite missing? Disagree with one (or more) of my choices? Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter @nevinmartell.


  • Jman

    you forgot Sugar at West Virginia NE & Mt. Olivet NE – great ribs

  • Calvin H. Gurley

    1) “…like fall-off-the-bone tender beef ribs…” Perhaps, the ribs were boiled before they were put into the fire, then.the meat has lost its essence, taste and flavor.
    2) “…because it all looks and smells damn good. …” Get use to the smell…its barbeque!
    You forgot to tell the reader about the taste, temper and feel of the food in your mouth. There are different methods of cooking ribs, just like the two main sauces midwest sauces and the Virginia/North Carolina vinegar based sauces. Run from sweet honey rubbed ribbs …there is no reason to cook ribs with sugar or honey. Use honey and sugar as sides to place over the cooked ribs if you have a “Sweet Jones”.
    I can’t teach you about ribs in this comment, but you need to ask someone.
    Perhaps, you need to start in the kitchen with the dishes…and then work your way up to cooking area.
    Blue Ribbon barbeque …what’s in a name. You never explained. Is this name …hyped – or what? Why do the reader have to do your job and taste the food themselves if you can comment on it?
    Secondly, you don’t know jack about barbeque…Mac N Cheese is not a stapler food the barbeque…not unless you are still in college. Mac N Cheese has never been matched with the years of barbeque in the deep south – and its an insult to match this urban family meal piece. You have no history of barbeque…green beans, potatoe salad and greens or cole slaw are commonly the match. However, no one has been brave enough to find a new 21st century match for barbeque…and mac n cheese ain’t it.
    Calvin H. Gurley