Just across the border from Washington, in Capitol Heights, tiny Rosebud's BBQ serves up hickory-smoked meats, including ribs, chicken, turkey, beef and pork, all for takeout only. Rose Marable and her husband, Wayne, opened the spot in 2002 after inheriting it from Wayne's father, who had run a carryout business for three decades at the same location.
Though neither had cooked professionally, the Marables found an inexpensive smoker and began experimenting: smoking ribs, trying sauces "and using friends, neighbors and relatives as guinea pigs," Rose said. Wayne, a D.C. police officer in the homicide unit, delivered samples in brown paper bags to judges, attorneys, secretaries and paralegals in exchange for feedback.
All that tinkering paid off. Meaty pork ribs are served by the slab or half-slab or in various platters, which come with a choice of two Southern-style sides, including mac and cheese, collard greens and slightly sweet "burger beans" that include ground beef. Sides can also be ordered a la carte. Some of the meats are on the dry side, but that is easily remedied with the tomato-based sauce, your choice of mild or tongue-tingling, that accompanies them. All the meats also come in sandwich form, including a heaping chopped barbecued pork and smoked-chicken salad.
--Erin Hartigan (Updated March 13, 2012)