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Barbecue is gaining ground in the DMV (local shorthand for the District, Maryland, and Virginia), and here in Arlington is no exception. The BBQ scene has exploded here in recent years, and now, four of the Washington Post’s Top 10 best barbecue joints in the region are located in Arlington, along with a fifth getting honorable mention. Whether you prefer Carolina ‘cue or Kansas City-style, brisket or pulled pork, or those delicious burnt ends – there are amazing options for any smoky palate.
Topping the Arlington representatives on the Post's list is Clarendon's Texas Jack's Barbecue. Texas Jack's is a friendly yet sophisticated restaurant that serves up top-notch 'cue with all the favorites, from beef short ribs and brisket to pork belly, sausage, chicken, and more. Sloppy Mama's, which started as a food truck and now has Arlington locations along Lee Highway and in Ballston Quarter's food hall, offers the traditional variety of smoked meats and sides along with several different sauces – this BBQ uses wood for heat and flavor, so everything has that special smoky flavor. Honorable-mention Smoking Kow BBQ also started out as a food truck and now has locations in Arlington's East Falls Church area and in nearby Alexandria – don't miss the burnt ends or pork belly bites here (don't forget extra napkins, either!)
Local favorites Texas Jack's and Sloppy Mama's are joined on the Post's best list by two 2020 Arlington newcomers to the BBQ scene. Smokecraft Modern Barbecue in Clarendon brings a modern twist to barbecue. Here you'll find the classic barbecue staples alongside dishes like applewood-smoked crab cakes, cedar plank salmon, and even smoked spaghetti squash. Who says barbecue is for meat lovers only?
The other newcomer making a splash on the barbecue scene is Ruthie's All Day. With Chef Matt Hill at the helm (formerly of The Liberty Tavern and Lyon Hall), Ruthie's is a family restaurant with dishes for everyone but a fond spot for the 'cue. Dishes range from smoked Rohan duck to ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and more.
The barbecue flavors don’t stop with the Post’s list. There is barbecue greatness in almost every Arlington neighborhood. Check out RAMMY winner Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company, serving hometown barbecue favorites like ribs, chicken, and cornbread since 2007. Pentagon City’s Epic Smokehouse features various items, but for barbecue, don’t miss specialties like the smoked brisket poutine or the smoked prime rib. And while you’re in Pentagon City, check out the pop-up Korean BBQ Wild Tiger BBQ, located inside Bun’d, for favorites like KC burnt ends or traditional Galbi. Not to be outdone, Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ in Clarendon is famous for its multi-course BBQ options. Trust us – you won’t leave hungry.