Bring your appetite to these barbecue joints where food tradition runs deep.
If you hail from one of the country’s most well-known barbecue regions, you’ve probably complained about what everyone else considers barbecue. A pulled pork sandwich isn’t going to pass muster in Texas, just like a burnt end will look, well, burnt, to someone in North Carolina. Regional barbecue tastes run deep but, luckily for those of us in the D.C. area, there are pitmasters introducing their own taste of home across D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.
Texas Brisket at 2fifty
“Texas BBQ for us means using exclusively wood to smoke all of our proteins without the intervention of gas or electricity,” says Fernando Gonzalez, the pitmaster at 2fifty in Riverdale Park, Maryland and Union Market. The mouthwatering American wagyu brisket draws in lines daily, but Texas barbecue lovers who’ve been searching for a moist smoked brisket in the DMV are ready and willing to wait. Order your brisket with classic Southern barbecue sides including coleslaw and beans or spring for Latin American dishes like caramelized pineapple and fried sweet plantains. 4700 Riverdale Rd. Riverdale Park, MD; 2fiftybbq.com // @2fiftytexasbbq
Carolina Pulled Pork at Money Muscle Barbecue
Silver Spring’s Money Muscle BBQ’s owner and pitmaster Edward Reavis was born and raised in Emporia, Virginia, just ten minutes from the North Carolina border, which means NC-style barbecue comes naturally to him. Tangy, vinegar-based Carolina sauce on pulled pork is their specialty, along with all the classic barbecue sides you’re craving. Coleslaw, skillet cornbread, collard greens and string beans all make an appearance on their menu. 8630 Fenton St. Plaza 5, Silver Spring, MD; moneymusclebbq.com // @moneymusclebbq
St. Louis Ribs at Fat Pete’s BBQ
While Fat Pete’s BBQ’s menu is extensive, there’s one meat they specialize in that you won’t find at many BBQ spots across the area: St. Louis-style ribs. These spare ribs are flatter and meatier than the baby back ribs you might know and, at Fat Pete’s in Cleveland Park, you can get them with a dry rub or a honey bbq sauce. While you’re there, try one of the two- or three-meat combo platters for a taste of a little bit of everything. 3407 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; fatpetesbbq.com // @fatpetesbbqofficial
Kansas City Burnt Ends at District BBQ
Two brothers hailing from Kansas City are bringing the dry-rubbed, wood-smoked flavor of the midwest to the DMV at District BBQ in Vienna. Using a classic Kansas City sauce that’s a little bit thicker, sweeter and smokier, they’re serving brisket, chicken, and, of course, the iconic burnt ends KC is known for. Haven’t had them before? They’re the fatty pieces of brisket that crisp up into a perfect bark. 2670 Avenir Pl. Vienna, VA; districtbbq.com // @districtbbqva
Jewish Tradition at Silver & Sons Barbecue
Not a region as much as a food culture, Silver & Sons Barbecue is introducing traditional Jewish deli flavors to barbecue. Used to a slow cooked Jewish brisket? This barbecue brisket with its crisp bark, perfect seasoning, and moist interior is a whole new ball game. And, from the short rib pastrami to the pulled chicken, every sandwich is served on a soft, delicious challah roll. Sides including lemon schmaltz potatoes and smoked deviled eggs round out the meeting of the foods. Food trucks across the area; silverandsonsbbq.com // @silverandsonsbbq
D.C. Halfsmokes at DCity Smokehouse
Of course, D.C. also has its own unique take on barbecue, and it’s one you probably know and love: the halfsmoke. At DCity Smokehouse in Bloomingdale and Anacostia, you’ll find the D.C. classic half smokes smothered in brisket chili for the perfect meeting of barbecue and sausage. Owner Melvin Hines describes it, “Tasting is believing — the combination of spicy and sweet is like a celebration with every bite.’ But, like many things in D.C., DCity Smokehouse is bringing together traditions and flavors from across the country. The result is, as Hines says, “A little bit of heat, A little bit of sweet’, and a whole lot of good food!” 203 Florida Ave. NW, DC; 1301 Good Hope Rd. SE, DC; dcitysmokehouse.com // @dcitysmokehouse
Don’t want to stick to one region?
There are also barbecue joints like Federalist Pig in Adams Morgan and Cinder BBQ in Petworth that are serving up perfectly cooked barbecue inspired by traditions that know no boundaries. You’ll find everything from Nashville fried chicken to Louisiana boudin bites to Korean barbecue at Federalist Pig, while Cinder is slinging brisket, pork, and chicken with several sweet, spicy, and tangy sauces to choose from. Plus, this weekend explore the many regional barbecues all in one spot at the Giant National Capital Barbecue Festival. With over 100 vendors, make your way through Pennsylvania Avenue bopping to ’90s music while sampling different barbecue styles, from Virginian to Jamaican.
Federalist Pig: 1654 Columbia Rd. NW, DC; federalistpig.com // @federalistpig
Cinder BBQ: 800 Upshur St. NW, DC; cinderbbq.com // @cinderbbqdc
National Capital Barbecue Festival: 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC; bbqindc.com // @bbqindc
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