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A platter of meats and Salvadoran-influenced sides from 2Fifty Texas BBQ.
A platter of meats and Salvadoran-influenced sides from 2Fifty Texas BBQ.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Where to Find Outstanding Barbecue Around D.C.

For sliced brisket, pulled pork, sausage, ribs, and more

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A platter of meats and Salvadoran-influenced sides from 2Fifty Texas BBQ.
| Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

D.C. is notorious for its population of transient workers, so it’s only natural that the local barbecue has evolved to satisfy a range of regional sensibilities. Many popular places serve brisket, the king of Texas meats, alongside pulled pork and ribs, which are more popular throughout the Southeast. Inside the District, Federalist Pig and DCity Smokehouse have attracted some of the most fervent followings. Texas Jack’s has risen to prominence in Northern Virginia. 2Fifty Texas BBQ and Money Muscle BBQ are two impressive options in Maryland.

This list provides options for people looking to stay inside city limits, and for those willing to follow their noses a little farther out.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Money Muscle BBQ

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Based in Silver Spring — but able to venture further thanks to a food truck — Money Muscle pitmaster and Emporia, Virginia, native Ed Reavis augments his pulled pork, brisket, and bone-in beef ribs with standout sauces namedropping regional styles from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Kansas. Load up on exceptional sides like tender collards, campenelle noodle mac and cheese, and cheddar sriracha biscuits.

2Fifty Texas BBQ (Multiple locations)

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Oak smoke and fatty, wagyu-grade beef make the brisket stand out at this destination for Texas-style barbecue in Riverdale Park. Owners Fernando González and Debby Portillo are part of a large restaurant family in El Salvador. Their barbecue shop, and outgrowth of a farmers market stand, offers giant beef ribs, sausage links, turkey, and pork ribs, too. In 2021, the couple opened a 2Fifty’s stand with a condensed menu in D.C.’s Union Market.

Backyard Smoke Spot BBQ

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Located inside Midnight Deli on Georgia Avenue NW, Backyard Smoke Spot churns out all of chef Jason Ford’s recipes using a cherrywood smoker on the side of the corner store’s property. Find specialities like jerk ribs, wingettes, and stuffed salmon.

Cinder BBQ

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Cinder has given Petworth’s main drag a place to get generously spice-rubbed barbecue from longtime mobile pitmaster Bill Coleman. The space that formerly housed Latin American wine bar Ruta del Vino now serves rare whiskeys from the central square bar.

Fat Pete's BBQ

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From its perch in the center of Cleveland Park, Fat Pete’s serves a wide variety of meats with a sauce selection that acts as a regional catchall. There’s Alabama white sauce, North Carolina vinegar sauce, Texas mop sauce, sweet Memphis sauce, spicy Kansas City sauce, and South Carolina mustard sauce. Ribs are a smart order here, and speciality sandwiches include a burnt ends grilled cheese.

Federalist Pig

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Rob Sonderman is one of the biggest names in D.C.’s small barbecue scene. The pitmaster was schooled at Hill Country and drew acclaim for brisket and fried onion sandwiches and crispy Brussels sprouts when he founded DCity Smokehouse. He’s gained steam at Federalist Pig, where the wings are a big hit, too. Sonderman and partner Steve Salis added a space in Hyattsville to plant a bigger location where they can smoke without the gas-assisted rigs they have to use in D.C., and there’s also an outpost in Bethesda food hall Ensemble.

Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company (Multiple locations)

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Started in Glover Park in 1990, this D.C. outfit has locations in Alexandria and Arlington and a presence in Capital One Arena and Nationals Park. In addition to mainstay meats, Rocklands has grilled lamb and a pit beef sandwich built with spicy peppers.

Garden District

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Along with fried pickles and one of the better burgers in town, this beer garden on 14th Street serves a mean smoked brisket sandwich.

DCity Smokehouse

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DCity’s “brisket squad” smokes a little bit of everything for a menu boasting tender beef, wings, turkey breast, pulled pork, pork belly, ribs, rib tips, and a house half-smoke. For $10, customers can get a signature DCity half-smoke covered in brisket chili, cheddar-jack cheese, onions, and mustard.

Hill Country Barbecue Market

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This outpost of a Central Texas-style barbecue joint from New York is a destination for brisket, Shiner Bock, and live music. Prices fit for tourist-heavy Penn Quarter and lapses in consistency can make Hill Country feel like a Disneyland version of Texas ‘cue, but traditional touches like sausages shipped in from Kreuz Market in Lockhart help make up for it.

Sloppy Mama’s BBQ

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Former high school teacher and football coach Joe Neuman built up enough of a following with a (now retired) barbecue truck. Neuman opened a permanent home for Sloppy Mama’s wood-fired barbecue, located in an old Pizza Hut building in July 2019. Find smoked sausage, chicken, brisket, turkey, pork, and ribs (and vegan jackfruit) by the pound.

Smokecraft Modern Barbecue

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When he’s not collecting awards at local barbecue competitions, chef and owner Andrew Darneille is usually up well before sunrise prepping his meat to welcome hungry customers at this Clarendon hotspot. Smokecraft promises that every item on their menu is smoked, from the smoked avocado on deviled eggs to the Chesapeake smoked crab cakes and St. Louis-style ribs. Even sweet treats like chocolate brownie s’mores start with a cedar plank smoked brownie.

District BBQ

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Owners Ahmad and Aladdin Ashkar started this place as an Oklahoma Joe’s franchise, then split off on their own a couple years ago to focus on barbecue (including halal meats) from their hometown of Kansas City. So burnt ends caramelized in barbecue sauce are a speciality.

Texas Jacks Barbecue

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Thick, peppery bark marks some of the area’s best brisket at this polished smokehouse in Arlington. In addition to hefty beef ribs and St. Louis style spare ribs, there’s Mexican street corn, veggie burritos, and banana pudding with dulce de leche.

Ruthie's All-Day

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The family-friendly spot tucked away in suburban Arlington guarantees all-day plates of smoked brisket, sticky spare ribs and grilled salmon and squash from chef and owner Matt Hill. Thanks to the “meat and two/three” format, diners can also load up on sides of creamy dill potato salad, grits, crispy Brussels sprouts, and, of course, mac and cheese. In addition to a spacious indoor venue and patio, Ruthie’s All Day also offers takeout and delivery.

Money Muscle BBQ

Based in Silver Spring — but able to venture further thanks to a food truck — Money Muscle pitmaster and Emporia, Virginia, native Ed Reavis augments his pulled pork, brisket, and bone-in beef ribs with standout sauces namedropping regional styles from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Kansas. Load up on exceptional sides like tender collards, campenelle noodle mac and cheese, and cheddar sriracha biscuits.

2Fifty Texas BBQ (Multiple locations)

Oak smoke and fatty, wagyu-grade beef make the brisket stand out at this destination for Texas-style barbecue in Riverdale Park. Owners Fernando González and Debby Portillo are part of a large restaurant family in El Salvador. Their barbecue shop, and outgrowth of a farmers market stand, offers giant beef ribs, sausage links, turkey, and pork ribs, too. In 2021, the couple opened a 2Fifty’s stand with a condensed menu in D.C.’s Union Market.

Backyard Smoke Spot BBQ

Located inside Midnight Deli on Georgia Avenue NW, Backyard Smoke Spot churns out all of chef Jason Ford’s recipes using a cherrywood smoker on the side of the corner store’s property. Find specialities like jerk ribs, wingettes, and stuffed salmon.

Cinder BBQ

Cinder has given Petworth’s main drag a place to get generously spice-rubbed barbecue from longtime mobile pitmaster Bill Coleman. The space that formerly housed Latin American wine bar Ruta del Vino now serves rare whiskeys from the central square bar.

Fat Pete's BBQ

From its perch in the center of Cleveland Park, Fat Pete’s serves a wide variety of meats with a sauce selection that acts as a regional catchall. There’s Alabama white sauce, North Carolina vinegar sauce, Texas mop sauce, sweet Memphis sauce, spicy Kansas City sauce, and South Carolina mustard sauce. Ribs are a smart order here, and speciality sandwiches include a burnt ends grilled cheese.

Federalist Pig

Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Rob Sonderman is one of the biggest names in D.C.’s small barbecue scene. The pitmaster was schooled at Hill Country and drew acclaim for brisket and fried onion sandwiches and crispy Brussels sprouts when he founded DCity Smokehouse. He’s gained steam at Federalist Pig, where the wings are a big hit, too. Sonderman and partner Steve Salis added a space in Hyattsville to plant a bigger location where they can smoke without the gas-assisted rigs they have to use in D.C., and there’s also an outpost in Bethesda food hall Ensemble.

Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company (Multiple locations)

Started in Glover Park in 1990, this D.C. outfit has locations in Alexandria and Arlington and a presence in Capital One Arena and Nationals Park. In addition to mainstay meats, Rocklands has grilled lamb and a pit beef sandwich built with spicy peppers.

Garden District

Along with fried pickles and one of the better burgers in town, this beer garden on 14th Street serves a mean smoked brisket sandwich.

DCity Smokehouse

DCity’s “brisket squad” smokes a little bit of everything for a menu boasting tender beef, wings, turkey breast, pulled pork, pork belly, ribs, rib tips, and a house half-smoke. For $10, customers can get a signature DCity half-smoke covered in brisket chili, cheddar-jack cheese, onions, and mustard.

Hill Country Barbecue Market

This outpost of a Central Texas-style barbecue joint from New York is a destination for brisket, Shiner Bock, and live music. Prices fit for tourist-heavy Penn Quarter and lapses in consistency can make Hill Country feel like a Disneyland version of Texas ‘cue, but traditional touches like sausages shipped in from Kreuz Market in Lockhart help make up for it.

Sloppy Mama’s BBQ

Former high school teacher and football coach Joe Neuman built up enough of a following with a (now retired) barbecue truck. Neuman opened a permanent home for Sloppy Mama’s wood-fired barbecue, located in an old Pizza Hut building in July 2019. Find smoked sausage, chicken, brisket, turkey, pork, and ribs (and vegan jackfruit) by the pound.

Smokecraft Modern Barbecue

When he’s not collecting awards at local barbecue competitions, chef and owner Andrew Darneille is usually up well before sunrise prepping his meat to welcome hungry customers at this Clarendon hotspot. Smokecraft promises that every item on their menu is smoked, from the smoked avocado on deviled eggs to the Chesapeake smoked crab cakes and St. Louis-style ribs. Even sweet treats like chocolate brownie s’mores start with a cedar plank smoked brownie.

District BBQ

Owners Ahmad and Aladdin Ashkar started this place as an Oklahoma Joe’s franchise, then split off on their own a couple years ago to focus on barbecue (including halal meats) from their hometown of Kansas City. So burnt ends caramelized in barbecue sauce are a speciality.

Texas Jacks Barbecue

Thick, peppery bark marks some of the area’s best brisket at this polished smokehouse in Arlington. In addition to hefty beef ribs and St. Louis style spare ribs, there’s Mexican street corn, veggie burritos, and banana pudding with dulce de leche.

Ruthie's All-Day

The family-friendly spot tucked away in suburban Arlington guarantees all-day plates of smoked brisket, sticky spare ribs and grilled salmon and squash from chef and owner Matt Hill. Thanks to the “meat and two/three” format, diners can also load up on sides of creamy dill potato salad, grits, crispy Brussels sprouts, and, of course, mac and cheese. In addition to a spacious indoor venue and patio, Ruthie’s All Day also offers takeout and delivery.

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