The Washington Post
Best barbecue photo
(Gerald Martineau/The Washington Post)

Best barbecue

The Washington Post Staff  |  Updated 02/24/2011

At these joints, the meat is what matters.


Urban Bar-B-Que Company

Rockville, MD

With Formica-topped tables and bumper-stickered walls, the original location in Rockville is a homey spot to dig into the moist, lightly crusted pork ribs, peppery pork sausage and juicy pulled pork studded with bits of char. The potato salad has the perfect consistency, the coleslaw bursts with freshness, and the sauces balance sweet and spice.


Smokeshack Ribs BBQ Restaurant

Fort Washington, MD

At this takeout joint, an honest-to-God pitman tends the hickory-flaming grill-cum-smoker. The ribs are a magnificent combination of grill, smoke and crispy succulence. The pulled pork zings with tart, peppery flavor. Alas: The sides are middling; the sauces undistinguished. But, man, that meat!


KBQ Real Barbecue

Bowie, MD

When you ask for brisket from the fatty end, the counter worker at this unadorned eatery responds, "It's the best part." Her knowledge is reflected in KBQ's expertly cooked meat, which also includes toothsome chopped pork and pleasingly chewy ribs. The mac and cheese is yummy and crusty, the mustardy potato salad has a just-right texture, and the sweet tea is freshly brewed.


Carolina Brothers

Ashburn, VA

The country-store ambiance of this wood-planked eatery sets the perfect tone for down-home hickory-smoked barbecue. The pulled pork is luscious; its sauce, zingy. The richly glazed pork ribs slip off the bone. The sweet baked beans and refreshing coleslaw are house-made, and you can purchase bottles of the spot-on sauces.


Dixie Bones BBQ

Woodbridge, VA

The spotless family restaurant seems too, well, spotless. But the hickory-smoked, lightly sauced, specially trimmed spare ribs and the 10-hour unseasoned chopped pork beat back your fears. Not convinced? Try the cornmeal-encrusted fried catfish, wonderful skillet-baked corn bread and a red sauce handed down to the Alabama-native owner from his mother.


Mr. P's

Washington, DC

Place your order at the window of the converted school bus in the Safeway parking lot, put everything atop the trunk of your car and go crazy. The meaty, smartly seasoned pork ribs are cooked to a beautiful chewiness. The big beef ribs are smoked to a withering fare-thee-well. The tart minced pork keeps you shoving forkfuls in your mouth. A longtime pitman, Mr. P (real name: Fate Pittman -- perfect or what?) is around Fridays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Get there early before he runs out of something.


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