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A tray of barbecue from Federalist Pig in Adams Morgan
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Where to Eat Barbecue Around D.C.

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

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A tray of barbecue from Federalist Pig in Adams Morgan
| Photo by Rey Lopez/Eater DC

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, Hill Country, and Sloppy Mama’s have attracted some of the most fervent followings. Texas Jack’s has risen to prominence in Northern Virginia.

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

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Roots 657 Cafe and Local Market

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42301 Spinks Ferry Rd
Leesburg, VA 20176
(703) 779-9657
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Out in Loudon County, certified Master Chef Rich Rosendale owns a family-friendly market and cafe that serves barbecue by the pound and sandwiches stuffed with brisket, turkey, and pulled pork. Rosendale doesn’t adhere to a regional style. Instead, he applies a hyper-local ethos, sourcing meat and even wood from producers nearby. He says barbecue at Roots 657 is smoked for a minimum of 18 hours at lower temperatures than conventional barbecue.

Smoked pork from Roots 657
Smoked pork from Roots 657
Roots 657 [official]

2. Hammerdown Barbecue

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41153 John Mosby Hwy
Aldie, VA 20105
(703) 542-8692
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Recognized by critics for fatty, tender brisket, Hammerdown is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. until it sells out. Owner Ken Soohoo spun the success of a food truck into a farmhouse full of reclaimed wood that lures city dwellers out to Aldie with a custom 1,000-gallon smoker.

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While you were sleeping.

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3. Cinder BBQ

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800 Upshur St NW
Washington, DC 20011
(202) 450-6795
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Open just since April, 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.

4. Fat Pete's BBQ

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3407 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 362-7777
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From its perch in the center of Cleveland Park’s main drag, 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.

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Honey-glazed barbecue spareribs

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5. Federalist Pig

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1654 Columbia Rd NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 827-4400
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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 have secured 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.

Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

6. Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company (Multiple locations)

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2418 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 333-2558
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Started in Glover Park 1990, this D.C. outfit has locations in Alexandria and Arlington and a presence in Capital One Arena. In addition to mainstay meats, Rocklands has grilled lamb and a pit beef sandwich built with spicy peppers.

7. Garden District

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1801 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

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

8. DCity Smokehouse

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203 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 733-1919
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DCity’s “brisket squad” smokes a little bit of everything for a menu boasting brisket, wings, turkey breast, pulled pork, pork belly, ribs, rib tips, and a house half-smoke. For $9, customers can get a signature DCity half-smoke covered in brisket chili, cheddar-jack cheese, onions, and mustard.

9. Sloppy Mama’s

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1309 5th St NE
Washington, DC 20002

Former high school teacher and football coach Joe Neuman built up enough of a following with a (now retired) barbecue truck that he has a catering business and coveted stalls inside Union Market in D.C. and Quarter Market in Ballston. Neuman just opened a permanent home for Sloppy Mama’s opened in an old Pizza Hut building in on the Fourth of July, and he’s using it as a home base with three separate 500-gallon smokers fueling production for every location.

10. Hill Country Barbecue Market

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410 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 556-2050
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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.

11. Liberty Barbecue

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370 W Broad St
Falls Church, VA 22046
(703) 237-8227
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The group behind Arlington’s trusty Liberty Tavern opened a barbecue place in a former Famous Dave’s location in Falls Church in early 2018. Overseen by executive chef Matt Hill, a North Carolina native, Liberty Barbecue hops through several regions with pulled pork, brisket, char siu style pork belly, wings with Alabama-style white sauce, and mustard-glazed ribs. There’s also pickle-brined fried chicken, a Thanksgiving sandwich, and Texas sheet cake.

12. District BBQ (Multiple locations)

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O Dunn loring metro, 2670 Avenir Pl
Vienna, VA 22180
(703) 573-2370
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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 from their hometown of Kansas City. So burnt ends caramelized in barbecue sauce are a speciality.

13. Texas Jacks Barbecue

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2761 Washington Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 875-0477
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Thick, peppery bark marks arguably the area’s best brisket at this polished smokehouse in Arlington, which held the No. 1 spot on the Washington Post’s last barbecue rankings. In addition to hefty beef ribs, St. Louis style spare ribs, and Duroc pork belly, there’s a quinoa salad and a smoked portobello mushroom sandwich.

14. B & J Carry Out Inc

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15805 Livingston Rd
Accokeek, MD 20607
(301) 292-5631
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Fans of Eastern North Carolina style barbecue should consider making the drive to this classic carry-out off Indian Head Highway in Accokeek, Maryland, for “Dixie style” pulled pork sandwiches topped with vinegar sauce and slaw.

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1. Roots 657 Cafe and Local Market

42301 Spinks Ferry Rd, Leesburg, VA 20176
Smoked pork from Roots 657
Smoked pork from Roots 657
Roots 657 [official]

Out in Loudon County, certified Master Chef Rich Rosendale owns a family-friendly market and cafe that serves barbecue by the pound and sandwiches stuffed with brisket, turkey, and pulled pork. Rosendale doesn’t adhere to a regional style. Instead, he applies a hyper-local ethos, sourcing meat and even wood from producers nearby. He says barbecue at Roots 657 is smoked for a minimum of 18 hours at lower temperatures than conventional barbecue.

42301 Spinks Ferry Rd
Leesburg, VA 20176

2. Hammerdown Barbecue

41153 John Mosby Hwy, Aldie, VA 20105

Recognized by critics for fatty, tender brisket, Hammerdown is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. until it sells out. Owner Ken Soohoo spun the success of a food truck into a farmhouse full of reclaimed wood that lures city dwellers out to Aldie with a custom 1,000-gallon smoker.

41153 John Mosby Hwy
Aldie, VA 20105

3. Cinder BBQ

800 Upshur St NW, Washington, DC 20011

Open just since April, 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.

800 Upshur St NW
Washington, DC 20011

4. Fat Pete's BBQ

3407 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

From its perch in the center of Cleveland Park’s main drag, 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.

3407 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

5. Federalist Pig

1654 Columbia Rd NW, Washington, DC 20009
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 have secured 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.

1654 Columbia Rd NW
Washington, DC 20009

6. Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company (Multiple locations)

2418 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007

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

2418 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20007

7. Garden District

1801 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

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

1801 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

8. DCity Smokehouse

203 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001

DCity’s “brisket squad” smokes a little bit of everything for a menu boasting brisket, wings, turkey breast, pulled pork, pork belly, ribs, rib tips, and a house half-smoke. For $9, customers can get a signature DCity half-smoke covered in brisket chili, cheddar-jack cheese, onions, and mustard.

203 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

9. Sloppy Mama’s

1309 5th St NE, Washington, DC 20002

Former high school teacher and football coach Joe Neuman built up enough of a following with a (now retired) barbecue truck that he has a catering business and coveted stalls inside Union Market in D.C. and Quarter Market in Ballston. Neuman just opened a permanent home for Sloppy Mama’s opened in an old Pizza Hut building in on the Fourth of July, and he’s using it as a home base with three separate 500-gallon smokers fueling production for every location.

1309 5th St NE
Washington, DC 20002

10. Hill Country Barbecue Market

410 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20004

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.

410 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20004

11. Liberty Barbecue

370 W Broad St, Falls Church, VA 22046

The group behind Arlington’s trusty Liberty Tavern opened a barbecue place in a former Famous Dave’s location in Falls Church in early 2018. Overseen by executive chef Matt Hill, a North Carolina native, Liberty Barbecue hops through several regions with pulled pork, brisket, char siu style pork belly, wings with Alabama-style white sauce, and mustard-glazed ribs. There’s also pickle-brined fried chicken, a Thanksgiving sandwich, and Texas sheet cake.

370 W Broad St
Falls Church, VA 22046

12. District BBQ (Multiple locations)

O Dunn loring metro, 2670 Avenir Pl, Vienna, VA 22180

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 from their hometown of Kansas City. So burnt ends caramelized in barbecue sauce are a speciality.

O Dunn loring metro, 2670 Avenir Pl
Vienna, VA 22180

13. Texas Jacks Barbecue

2761 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

Thick, peppery bark marks arguably the area’s best brisket at this polished smokehouse in Arlington, which held the No. 1 spot on the Washington Post’s last barbecue rankings. In addition to hefty beef ribs, St. Louis style spare ribs, and Duroc pork belly, there’s a quinoa salad and a smoked portobello mushroom sandwich.

2761 Washington Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201

14. B & J Carry Out Inc

15805 Livingston Rd, Accokeek, MD 20607

Fans of Eastern North Carolina style barbecue should consider making the drive to this classic carry-out off Indian Head Highway in Accokeek, Maryland, for “Dixie style” pulled pork sandwiches topped with vinegar sauce and slaw.

15805 Livingston Rd
Accokeek, MD 20607

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