This article is presented by our friends at Brightest Young Things, a legitimately cool and useful editorial presence in DC offering insider tips to help both locals and tourists get the best out of the DMV from the people who know the city best!
Is it August already? Where is the summer going? You need to get some BBQ into your system asap, and the BBQ Guide to DC is here for you to read about where to eat and get messy at the same time.
Doesn’t matter if you are from DC or you are just stopping in to visit, this list has got you covered (in BBQ sauce). BYT put together the best of the best, gathered from the Brightest Young Things team’s years of running around the city eating grilled meat, for science! So without further ado, here are the top eight BBQ places in DC .
CLASSIC AMERICAN BBQ
Because CLASSICS never go out of style
Nothing says warm weather like lounging around in the sun with some fresh barbecue. We recommend munching on Barbecue Beef Sandwiches with pickles and onions, HC Spicy Hot Links, Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches with sliced jalapenos, skillet cornbread and cocktails like the Museum Porch Swing (gin, fresh lemon and housemade strawberry syrup) and the Texas Tornado (sweet tea vodka, lemonade, fresh mint, and Southern Comfort, please and thank you). – Steve Jeter, BYT Writer
Chef/Pitmaster Rob Sonderman has a BBQ joint Federalist Pig, located in Adams Morgan. Serving globally inspired American barbecue, some favorites include the brisket, pork belly, and chicken wings. They serve the food until it runs out, so make sure to get there early or you could miss it.
Previous to Federalist Pig, Sonderman was the original DCity Smokehouse pitmaster and Hill Country before that. He made an impression at both establishments. His BBQ was regarded as some of the best in the DMV. It still is. – Brandon Wetherbee, BYT Editor
Tucked away on a quiet-ish street in Glover Park, Rocklands is the kind of place that’s worth the travel. Sure, You might have to take a Metro train and two busses to reach that stretch of Wisconsin Avenue, but their brisket, their BBQ chicken and especially their collard greens will make everything but the deep smoky taste of BBQ melt away. Go for the three meat platter (so you can try a little bit of everything) and throw in an order of mac and cheese to complete the BBQ food pyramid. Don’t have time for a full on food coma? The beef brisket sandwich is just as satisfying, but won’t make you want to take a nap immediately after eating. While you wait for your order to be done, kick back and enjoy some free peanuts or peruse their hot sauce wall, better yet, treat yourself to a beer. – Kaylee Dugan, BYT Editor
If you’re a vegan, do not go to Myron Mixon’s Pitmaster Barbeque. If you’re a carnivore, you will enjoy Myron Mixon’s Pitmaster Barbeque. Pitmaster John Bennett is taking advantage of the custom wood-fueled smoker. His work shines in the BBQ, which is good because barbeque is in the name of the restaurant. The highlights are the ribs (if you prefer competition style ribs, competition ribs are not supposed to fall off the bone) and the chicken. The smoked half chicken tastes like it was smoked in a wood-fueled smoker. It was. But don’t just order the chicken, go with friends and order the family meal. For $59 you’ll get half a smoked chicken, pulled pork, beef brisket, sausage links, baby back ribs and white bread. The menu says it serves 3 to 4. It serves 5 to 6. – Brandon Wetherbee, BYT Editor
NOT YOUR EVERYDAY BBQ
We wanted to make sure to cover all ranges of the BBQ world so here is a list of BBQ that a little out of the regular box. In other news – we are now taking a shot (of water) every time we type the word “bbq”.
Smoke and Barrel has some of the best and most varied vegan options in the city, something you wouldn’t expect from a BBQ joint which makes it all the more special. Their vegan offerings include smoked wings, French toast, a sweet potato and oat burger, chili cheese tofu scramble, home fries, chipotle pesto grits, and Texas toast. With options like these, truly anyone can enjoy being together there. – Anna Stevens, BYT Writer
While Nando’s is a larger brand, it is a still a South African BBQ with fabulous sauce. If you are looking for more of a fast casual place but want to experience some culture, than we have found the place for you. We suggest you get the half chicken with a side, it’s probably the most popular item, but it’s popular for a reason. Don’t forget to also ask for your level of hot sauce on your chicken. Bonus you can take the sauce home with you – Nick Goebel, BYT Intern
The menu is in English and Korean so you won’t feel total adrift if you don’t speak the language and the menu has pictures. You get all the trimmings with your Korean BBQ meats immediately and without asking (cooked at your table) and they’re all real yummy: the kimchi, the potato, the egg, the cucumber. The menu is also HUGE so if you’re vegetarian or pescatarian you will find options. For the carnivores, the bulgogi was some of the best I’ve had. – Diana Metzger, BYT Writer
Located in Mt. Vernon Triangle, Mandu is seriously delicious and the go-to spot for upscale Korean BBQ. They have great happy hour deals and late night eats, making it the perfect spot for a classy date night. The biggest upside to this Korean BBQ will also be it’s downside to some people: no meats cooked at the table. They do serve all the traditional grilled meats and veggies with lettuce wraps but they’re brought to you. Now this does take away from that fun, communal experience typically associated with Korean BBQ, but it also saves you and your date from reeking of smoke. – Diana Metzger, BYT Writer
Now that you have been marinated in all of our opinions, get out there and check out some of these fabulous restaurants! Just make sure to bring some napkins.