There’s a small crisis at tiny DCity Smokehouse. It’s not even 5 p.m. on a Saturday, and the kitchen has already run out of pork ribs and chicken. The cause of the temporary problem is also behind DCity’s success: A small smoker means only small batches of meats can be cooked at any one time. “The goal every day is to run out,” says pitmaster and co-owner Robert Sonderman, who juggles three loads a day along with questions from strangers, such as “What kind of barbecue do you serve?” His response (and my reaction): “Good barbecue, that’s all.”
Red-limned brisket smacks of garlic and chipotle — and low, slow heat. Smoky chopped pork and chili-fired cole slaw add up to a sandwich worth waiting for. The sleeper on the menu is the drool-inducing turkey, soaked in a bath of salt and hot sauce before it hits the smoker. Trained as a chef, Sonderman helped open the Texas-size Hill Country in Penn Quarter. The experience shows in the smallest of details; the lovely crunch in his mustardy potato salad comes from house-made pickles. Just a year old, DCity Smokehouse is the only barbecue joint I know that offers Brussels sprouts as a (marvelous) side dish and a Mexican-style torta as an alternative entree.
Six stools and a narrow ledge mean that the bulk of the business is carryout. So I’m cheered to hear that the pitmaster intends to expand in another neighborhood. “That’s definitely the goal and the dream.” My greasy fingers are crossed.