Due South

When it comes to BBQ in DC, I expect not a whole lot. My pursuit of good brisket is pretty analogous to an emotionally abusive relationship. DC is always promising me that it’ll change and I take it back. “I will save this city’s BBQ!” I cry internally. And then Smoke and Barrel goes and serves some chewy-ass nonsense beef, or Cinder gives me baby portions, or Fat Pete’s, it turns out, was only tolerable as long as I was intoxicated. Even DCity let me down on the last go-around. I have only myself to blame at this point.

I was especially doubtful because nothing housed in a giant warehouse-style building in Navy Yard could possibly be good. In my mind, this is equivalent to going to the Hard Rock Cafe. I was not relieved at all when we walked in and pretty much everyone inside was a tourist. Moms with fanny-packs and pre-teens wearing tie-dyed Washington, DC sweatshirts abounded. We were even seated across from a very southern family. What? Why? Isn’t this a bit like traveling to France and then eating at French McDonald’s?

But enough trash-talk. We ordered some beers from their fairly impressive list–multiple sours from medium-sized breweries (I had the Boulevard Hibiscus Gose), topped off with the option of a frozen rosé (or, as they call it, Frosé). You can see that monstrosity pictured below:

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My husband, FIL, and I decided to split their BBQ sampler platter three-ways, which Google Reviews had recommended. My MIL ordered the fried chicken plate.

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Indeed, the BBQ platter was large enough for three people. And this picture is JUST the meat. The ribs, while not falling off the bone, had a good flavor and were edible enough. The sausage was super smoky and was super great with the spicy mustard. The brisket was not incredibly flavorful, nor did it have a smoke ring, but it was fork-tender with a good fat consistency. The pulled pork was piled high and super good. I also really liked it with the mustard-based sauce.

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The sides with the sampler were good too. Nothing mind-blowing, but really really solid standard side dishes, with plenty to share. The mac was cheesy, the greens were tender and hammy. I quite enjoyed everything.

I had to try the fried chicken. For science. It was very crispy and flavorful, with grits that were cheesy but not super rich and some roasted veggies that were very whatever.

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Price: $30 per person.

Bottom line: I walked away not unhappy, which is a step up from the usual. Maybe BBQ really has changed.

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