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Nachos at Smokehouse Live
Nachos at Smokehouse Live
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Nachos, Chili, and Burgers: How These Eight Barbecue Joints Use Leftovers

Don't let that smoked meat go to waste

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Nachos at Smokehouse Live
| Official

Planning production at a barbecue joint is practically an art form. Pitmasters aim to serve fresh meat everyday, so they have to balance smoking enough product to meet demand without ending up with tons of leftovers.

Jim Foss, pitmaster and co-owner of Smokehouse Live in Leesburg, Va. says it's a double-edged sword. "The proteins we use are high-quality meats, but smoked meats start to lose moisture after a day or two," he explains. "It would still taste good the next day, but not ‘our’ good."

Thankfully, there's a delicious way to correct for the problem of having a little extra meat at the end of the day. That’s why pulled pork, brisket ends, or spare ribs end up in baked beans, on top of nachos, or inside a sandwich.

This practice is fairly common at barbecue places because it’s a tasty way to help the restaurant’s bottom line while reducing food waste. Here are a few other spots that use surplus meats to trick out everything from side dishes to sandwiches.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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DCity Smokehouse at Wicked Bloom

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This fan favorite doesn’t end up with a whole lot of leftovers. The extra brisket trim they do have gets put into smoky brisket chili, which also gets piled on nachos and the half-smoke sandwich. When they open up their new location, they plan to add leftover trim from smoked meats into their burgers.

Fat Pete's Barbecue

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Because they don’t exclusively subscribe to any particular style of barbecue, Fat Pete’s menu has plenty of variety, from North Carolina chopped pork to chicken dipped in Alabama white sauce. They use their leftover beef and pork in beans, as well as brisket in their spicy Texas chili.

Garden District

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At this barbecue-joint-meets-biergarten, the Cuban sandwich gets a Southern twist. They add pulled pork to the sandwich, which is already filled with cured and smoked ham, Gruyere and Fontina cheese, pickles, and mustard. It’s all pressed and griddled on a brioche roll and offered as a special fairly often throughout the year.

Jackson 20

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Though not strictly a barbecue place, this American tavern makes some mean meat. Their “lunch line” offering lets guests build their own barbecue platter with a choice of beef brisket, pulled pork, hot chopped chicken, or pork spare ribs, as well as a side and a beverage. The leftovers from the brisket are used in one of their most popular brunch items. The beef brisket hash is a plate of potatoes, sweet onion, green peppers, over easy eggs, and of course, beef brisket.

Kangaroo Boxing Club

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Apparently named after a drunken argument over who would win in a boxing match against a kangaroo, this Columbia Heights spot gets a little creative with their burger meat. They mix the burnt ends from brisket and pastrami into the ground chuck to add extra smokiness and texture. The burgers are then cooked and topped with pastrami, pulled pork, bacon, peppered, ham, a fried egg, and pretty much anything else a burger could ever want. KBC also uses pulled pork leftovers in their BBQ beans.

Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company

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Since opening in the 1990s, the Rocklands Barbeque empire has become a D.C. institution. They’re still going strong with four locations across the region and use chopped pork in their baked beans and brisket in their chili.

Smokehouse Live

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Pitmaster Jim Foss uses leftovers in several of their menu offerings. Pork, brisket, and short ribs are added to the kitchen sink baked beans. Turkey breast supplements the smoked turkey leg meat for the turkey-braised collards. Leftover brisket fills the chopped brisket sandwich, though they usually need to cook more fresh brisket to meet demand. Leftover sausage goes in the sausage gravy at the Sunday brunch buffet. They also use chicken meat in a pulled chicken sandwich that only runs on special if they have leftover chicken.

Texas Jack's Barbecue

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This Texas-style restaurant named after a legendary Virginia cowboy uses leftovers throughout the menu. Deemed “reheats,” the meats find their way into nachos, sandwiches, beans, and more. Sausage is chopped and added to biscuits and gravy for brunch, brisket and pulled pork is piled atop nachos, chicken and brisket are used for sandwiches, and pork ribs and pulled pork flavor pinto beans.

DCity Smokehouse at Wicked Bloom

This fan favorite doesn’t end up with a whole lot of leftovers. The extra brisket trim they do have gets put into smoky brisket chili, which also gets piled on nachos and the half-smoke sandwich. When they open up their new location, they plan to add leftover trim from smoked meats into their burgers.

Fat Pete's Barbecue

Because they don’t exclusively subscribe to any particular style of barbecue, Fat Pete’s menu has plenty of variety, from North Carolina chopped pork to chicken dipped in Alabama white sauce. They use their leftover beef and pork in beans, as well as brisket in their spicy Texas chili.

Garden District

At this barbecue-joint-meets-biergarten, the Cuban sandwich gets a Southern twist. They add pulled pork to the sandwich, which is already filled with cured and smoked ham, Gruyere and Fontina cheese, pickles, and mustard. It’s all pressed and griddled on a brioche roll and offered as a special fairly often throughout the year.

Jackson 20

Though not strictly a barbecue place, this American tavern makes some mean meat. Their “lunch line” offering lets guests build their own barbecue platter with a choice of beef brisket, pulled pork, hot chopped chicken, or pork spare ribs, as well as a side and a beverage. The leftovers from the brisket are used in one of their most popular brunch items. The beef brisket hash is a plate of potatoes, sweet onion, green peppers, over easy eggs, and of course, beef brisket.

Kangaroo Boxing Club

Apparently named after a drunken argument over who would win in a boxing match against a kangaroo, this Columbia Heights spot gets a little creative with their burger meat. They mix the burnt ends from brisket and pastrami into the ground chuck to add extra smokiness and texture. The burgers are then cooked and topped with pastrami, pulled pork, bacon, peppered, ham, a fried egg, and pretty much anything else a burger could ever want. KBC also uses pulled pork leftovers in their BBQ beans.

Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company

Since opening in the 1990s, the Rocklands Barbeque empire has become a D.C. institution. They’re still going strong with four locations across the region and use chopped pork in their baked beans and brisket in their chili.

Smokehouse Live

Pitmaster Jim Foss uses leftovers in several of their menu offerings. Pork, brisket, and short ribs are added to the kitchen sink baked beans. Turkey breast supplements the smoked turkey leg meat for the turkey-braised collards. Leftover brisket fills the chopped brisket sandwich, though they usually need to cook more fresh brisket to meet demand. Leftover sausage goes in the sausage gravy at the Sunday brunch buffet. They also use chicken meat in a pulled chicken sandwich that only runs on special if they have leftover chicken.

Texas Jack's Barbecue

This Texas-style restaurant named after a legendary Virginia cowboy uses leftovers throughout the menu. Deemed “reheats,” the meats find their way into nachos, sandwiches, beans, and more. Sausage is chopped and added to biscuits and gravy for brunch, brisket and pulled pork is piled atop nachos, chicken and brisket are used for sandwiches, and pork ribs and pulled pork flavor pinto beans.

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