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Texas Jack’s Reclaims Coveted No. 1 Spot On WaPo’s Annual Barbecue Ranking

What the critics are saying this week

Assorted meats at Texas Jack’s.
Texas Jack’s/Facebook
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

The 11 best barbecue joints

The Washington Post food reporter Tim Carman crafts his annual ranking of the best meat meccas around (in his opinion). This time there are four new additions, as well as lots of big jumps and falls across the list. He hands Texas Jack’s in Arlington the No. 1 title, thanks to its superior spareribs and brisket that’s “a well-constructed shrine to Texas.” Meanwhile, last year’s gold winner Hill Country Barbecue Market in Penn Quarter slips to No. 4 thanks to “nagging inconsistencies” he’s hopeful can be fixed. Here's his full countdown: HammerDown Barbeque in Aldie, Va. (No. 11); Fat Pete’s Barbecue in Cleveland Park (No. 10); Monk’s BBQ in Purcellville, Va. (No. 9); DCity Smokehouse in Northwest (No. 8); Rolling Rib, Part II in Upper Marlboro, Md. (No. 7); Texas 202 Barbecue of Maryland in Brandywine, Md. (No. 6); Liberty Barbecue in Falls Church, Va. (No. 5); Hill Country in Penn Quarter (No. 4); Sloppy Mama’s (No. 3); Federalist Pig in Adams Morgan (No. 2); and Texas Jack’s in Arlington (No. 1).

America Eats Tavern

The Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema heads to José Andrés’ newest restaurant in Georgetown, where he finds fine starters like warm hush puppies and vermicelli mac and cheese and seafood hits like Maryland jumbo lump crab cakes and whole grilled trout with green goddess dressing. He applauds the kitchen’s attention to details, like a half-smoke served in a brioche bun and coleslaw made with pickled shallots to maximize the crunch. On the barbecue front, brisket cooked for up to 16 hours “is tender but with enough chew to please enthusiasts” and served alongside “unexpected, but rousing” salsa verde. For the finale, his favorite dessert is a lemon meringue tart with a center of lemon curd uniquely folded into ice cream. The redesigned restaurant, transformed from its former life as Old Glory, is the perfect backdrop for American cooking with retro murals, leather booths, a welcoming bar, and exposed brick walls.

FROM THE BLOGS: Been There, Eaten That heads to Casolare for brunch, while Hungry Lobbyist tries Logan Circle newcomer Pappe.