The Rib Pit

$$$$ ($15-$24)
Authentic barbecue found in the middle of Washington, specializing in smoky ribs.
Mon-Thu 11 am-10 pm; Fri-Sat 11 am-11 pm; Sun 11 am-8 pm
(NW Washington)
Georgia Avenue-Petworth (Green Line)

Editorial Review

By Nancy Lewis
Thursday, July 22, 2004

The Rib Pit is the real thing. A wood-fired smoker built of white glazed brick dominates this tiny carryout on 14th Street NW, in Petworth. The immediate neighborhood looks a bit rough, and a bulletproof partition separates employees from customers. But these are perhaps the best ribs ($16.90 a slab) to be found in the District. The meat is a dark pink from long smoking, but the smoky flavor isn't overwhelming. Still, the meat is dry and overcooked, though not to the mushy stage. The ribs are helped considerably by the great tomato-based sauce that has just enough fire to keep things balanced.

The pulled pork (sold only as sandwiches at $4.65 each) is better, chopped into chunks and moistened with the same tangy sauce, which nicely complements the sweetness of the meat. The coleslaw is finely chopped and very white, with just a bit of carrot and sweet pickle among the pale, pale cabbage. It's dull but not offensive. Much the same can be said about the potato salad. It lacks excitement, the heavy presence of pickle notwithstanding.