Photos by Stephanie Breijo

Brendan Woody, the pit master at Fat Pete’s Barbecue, is very thorough at his job — much to his fiancee’s dismay. “Even when I shower, she says I still smell like smoke,” Woody says. At the new BBQ joint in Cleveland Park (3407 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-362-7777,, the Baltimore native helms the Texas-style smoker, which can hold up to 1,000 pounds of meat and is so large, crews had to remove the restaurant’s front window to get it inside. The wood-burning monster cooks at a low-and-slow 250 degrees, resulting in tender, juicy cuts. Some take longer than others to prepare, and they’re all worth every second.

Brisket: 18 hours

In the time it takes Woody to smoke this Texas-style delicacy, you could make 1,080 servings of Minute Rice. “Think about how dense a cow is,” he says. “Cooking it for this long breaks down the tissue and makes it moist.” It’s rubbed with black pepper and available sliced or chopped with a smoky BBQ sauce.

Pork: 16 hours


Pork shoulders are coated with yellow mustard and a secret spice blend. (“I’m from Baltimore, so that should give you a hint,” Woody says.) It’s available pulled or North Carolina-style: chopped with vinegar sauce and coleslaw.

Chicken: 2 hours

Don’t overlook this oft-neglected meat. The organic and antibiotic-free chickens come from Pennsylvania’s Amish Country and are smoked until they’re plump with jus. Birds come whole or hand-pulled. (We prefer the former.)

Ribs: 3.5 hours


Pork ribs are rubbed with the same secret spices used on the pork and cooked for almost four hours. Get them dry-rubbed (straight off the smoker) or honey-glazed (finished on the grill and slathered with Fat Pete’s Memphis-Sweet sauce).

Turkey: 5 hours

Don’t wait until Thanksgiving to savor Woody’s turkey, which is marinated in a specialty brine and coated with a mix of spices before it’s smoked for five hours. We like it best topped with Fat Pete’s house-made KC Style Spicy sauce.


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