Cheap Eats 2007: Johnny Boy’s Ribs

At the moment, there’s no Valhalla of barbecue in the area, no place that meets all the criteria for the perfect ’cue joint: great ribs, luscious pulled pork, lovingly made sides, scrumptious desserts. So don’t burden this La Plata shack with those expectations. But Johnny Boy’s is plenty good.

Unlike other area jurisdictions, Charles County allows open-pit cooking, which is the only way to get great barbecue. Johnny Boy’s has the details down. The ribs, slathered with Mama Sophie’s marvelous red sauce, are big, smoky, meaty, and pink. The pulled pork is darn near perfect, whether you eat it alone with red sauce or stacked on a bun and topped with creamy slaw.

Don’t look for any of the niceties of white-collar ’cues like cleverly conceived starters or a bluesy soundtrack. There aren’t even booths; you sit at picnic tables and enjoy the glorious smoked meat in the sun.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.