Instead of limiting themselves to one type of cuisine, S & J Crab Ranch has included two of their favorites—Maryland seafood and southern barbecue. Local flavors pile up at the raw bar, where diners can order gulf shrimp by the pound or plates of clams and seasoned mussels; however, as the restaurant’s name implies, crabs are the signature item. They can be steamed and served whole, as jumbo lump crab cakes, or in a creamy soup spiked with a bit of sherry.
Of course, the seafood seeps into the southern-inspired meals as well. A selection of classic southern sandwiches includes fried catfish with creole mustard. Regional cuisine builds out the rest of the menu, giving diners options such as slow-cooked Texas brisket, Carolina-style pulled pork, and st. louis ribs rubbed with secret spices. Even the classic American dishes take cues from S & J’s penchant for the ocean—fresh crab meat bulks up the mac ‘n’ cheese, and pulled pork and barbecue sauce enhance a pile of nachos.
Owner Elmer Esh fills bellies with Amish homestyle meals at Esh's Barbeque Pit, and doles out portions of fresh ribs and roasts at Esh's Meat. Sandwiches and barbecue chicken basted in homemade sauce sate urgent appetites, and sausages hand-stuffed onsite and steak cuts from the meat shop build a base for future meals or edible sculptures of John Adams. With a focus on high quality meat, Elmer sources his ribs and beef from livestock raised by Amish farmers at Ontario's Pennfield Farms.
In 1983, "Beefalo" Bob DiMartino began a small-scale catering operation built around no-frills, classic recipes of pit-roasted barbecue, growing his business to include a carry-out joint, sports bar, and even an upscale banquet hall. Bob's process is simple: slow cooking beef, ham, turkey, slabs of ribs and morsels of pork and chicken over smoking hickory fires and not cutting corners with gas jets or heat vision. The sports bar garnishes these backyard-style feasts with plates of oysters, lump crab cakes, and strip steak, as well as sports games on 20 big-screen TVs and rivers of cold beer.
True to its roots as a catering outfit, Beefalo Bob's supplies parties of up to 10,000 with bull roasts, crab feasts, and roasted pigs, as well as rentals of tents, tables, and moon bounces. Fancy occasions find a home in the 250-person Reflections Hall, decked out with chandeliers, DJs, a fireplace, hints of sparkly gold, and a wide-open hardwood dance floor.
The sounds of sputtering grill tops, clattering utensils, and lively conversation fill the dining room at Honey Pig Gooldaegee Korean Grill, earning it praise from the Washington Post in 2010 as "one of the most entertaining barbecues around." The menu brims with both familiar and adventurous meats, including pork belly, beef ribs, and pork neck. Diners soak in Korean culture via both the food and K-pop, selecting a protein-rich spread and watching as the servers sear their orders on solar-heated tableside grills.
The talented cooks at Jumpers Grille grace tables with tasty dishes of tender pulled pork and chicken, delicious sides, and dollops of signature barbecue sauce. Each juicy portion of meat arrives on a choice of special roll, white, wheat, rye, or wrap, slathered in mild, hot, or honey sauce, and crowned with a medley of toppings including relish, horseradish, Tiger sauce, and onion. Chilly draughts of cola, freshly brewed iced tea, and birch beer quench mealtime thirsts, and piping hot cups of coffee and hot tea warm gullets or melt blocks of ice with love notes embedded in them. Like a blistering banjo solo, the mouthwatering lineup of sides promise a traditional accompaniment to barbecue feasts, with appetizing eats of french fries, mac 'n' cheese, crisp coleslaw, and hearty potato salad.
A first-place winner at the 2010 Stephen Starr-Gary Maddox BBQ Challenge, Big D's composes succulent barbecue symphonies over a wood smoker, lit by apple and cherry wood, in addition to spinning delectable disks of pizza, and more. The brisket sandwich, boasting beef that was smoked for 16 hours in honor of the number of hours William Henry Harrison served as an American president, combines homemade seasonings on a hearty kaiser role ($6.75), and the pulled-pork pizza fuses two culinary styles ($16). Those with a congenital aversion to carnivorous fare can load up their cuisine depositories with a flavorful mélange of mushrooms, green peppers, onions, and black olives that forms the large veggie pizza ($13.99). The culinary constructors at Big D's also build an 8-ounce burger edifice out of beef, cheese, bacon, and indefatigable spirit ($6.75).