Low and slow. That’s how the pit masters at Hill Country smoke their brisket, sausage, ribs, and other meats to get the most flavor out of the aromatic flames of texas post oak. First seasoned with a classic, Texas-style dry rub, the savory victuals can be enjoyed in-house on butcher paper or bought market style by the pound to be eaten at home. Southern-style sides accompany the finger-licking proteins, including cheddar mac and cheese, campfire baked beans, and braised collard greens with bacon. Though the market-style carry-out is a convenient feature, guests looking for the full Texas experience should enjoy their flame-kissed meats in the dining room or the more festive surrounds of the basement Boot Bar. On most nights, live music fills the cafeteria-style eatery, transforming the open floor into a concert venue as guests chow on ribs or stomp their boots to the music. On Wednesday nights, crooners convene for Rock ‘n Twang Live Band Karaoke—named Best Karaoke in 2011 in the Washington Post’s Going Out Guide—to sing their favorite songs about the Alamo.
Only beer can break your heart. If you think that sounds suspiciously similar to a Neil Young song, you’d be right. It’s the title of a recent event at Smoke and Barrel—a tribute to Neil Young and poutine, complete with Allagash and Boulevard beer pairings. Fun food and beer pairings such as this are par for the course at Smoke and Barrel, or at least during the annual DC Beer Week.
On any given day, though, guests to this beer, barbecue, and bourbon emporium will have plenty to sing about. There's a huge array of craft brews to choose from––local brewery Flying Dog leads an impressive draft list, and other local brews make appearances by the bottle or can. Meanwhile, pulled pork, brisket, and barbecue nachos keep stomachs full and moist wipes gainfully employed, as do tasty sides and starts like fried pickles and sweet potato fries. And even tofu gets the Smoke and Barrel treatment, taking a trip through the smoker before being cut up and stuffed into egg rolls with coleslaw and barbecue sauce.
In its former lives, the space now occupied by J'Ollies Restaurant was a biker bar, a seafood restaurant, and a pub. When J'Ollies moved in, though, that space was transformed into a family-friendly restaurant where diners can feast on pancakes and waffles straight from the griddle, or homemade biscuits bathed in sausage gravy. They can even create their own omelet, filling a hearty three-egg and cheese package with meat and veggies. Later in the day, lunch and dinner options include American classics such as beer-battered cod, meatloaf, and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Red Hot & Blue draws from many corners of the Southern map to bring together a mix of classic barbecue and traditional southern fare served amid an array of handpicked blues memorabilia. Red Hot & Blue cooks top-quality meats atop a smoky bed of hickory logs where relatively low temperatures and long cooking times infuse eats with succulence. The meaty mélange encompasses three ways to order ribs ($22.99 for a full slab, $15.99 for a half-slab): wet, slathered with mojo mild barbecue sauce; dry, rubbed with a blend of Memphis-style spices; or sweet, dripping with a more-sugary sauce and a never-ending stream of compliments.
Drawing on Southern traditions, Red Hot and Blue’s delectable menu satisfies barbecue cravings with smoke-ringed eats and authentic Southern recipes. Pit masters stoke low-and-slow fires kindled by hickory logs to smother top-quality meats in a smoky infusion, granting tenderness and depth of flavor normally only found in funk albums. Like a puppy’s nose, the restaurant’s St. Louis–style ribs come in wet, dry, and sweet iterations, each wooing taste buds with toothsome hunks of meat laced with secret-spice blends and accompanied by barbecue beans and creamy coleslaw ($14.99 for a half slab; $21.99 for a full slab). Fresh-made burgers and sandwiches range from beefy patties heaped with pulled pork and onion-ring straws ($9.49) to golden-fried Delta catfish fillets with tartar-sauce sidecars ($11.99). Cooks slather pulled shoulder with a poultice of Mojo mild sauce before piling its pork onto a soft bun aside Grandma’s potato salad ($7.99). Protein-pairing platters sync sea and land with fried shrimp and ribs ($14.99) or ribs and catfish ($14.99), all of which wind up in the drink thanks to chilly tidal waves of freshly brewed sweet tea.
It's hard to miss Junior's Chicken—not only does its cheerful neon sign catch the eyes, but the aroma of sizzling chicken that wafts out through its front door entices the appetite. Chefs scurry about the intimate eatery, roasting the plump Peruvian-style chicken, and showcasing culinary expertise when crafting other traditional Peruvian specialties such as citrusy seafood ceviche and tender lomo saltado beef. They pair dishes with crispy fried plantains, soft yucca fries, and juicy corn. Diners await their meals in the casual seating area, sipping on Peruvian drinks such as chicha morada and Inka Kola soda. Customers can also opt for delivery services to enjoy authentic Peruvian cuisine at home in the company of their family, friends, or collection of garden gnomes that are almost as good as friends.